Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Song Review: "In The Year 2525" (1969) by Zager and Evans

When we look at music and come across famous, top of the line artists such as Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Elton John, Adele, among other well known artists, we usually look at them and then we're directed to their songs. When we look at one hit wonders, on the other hand, we will look at the song and then on occasion be directed to their artists. Sometimes we will never be directed to their artist. Chances are most people don't know "The Macarena" was a song by Los Del Rio, "I'm Too Sexy" was sung by Right Said Fred, or if it doesn't caught up with the test of time, "Gangnam Style" was from the album of Psy. One hit wonders have made a drastic impact on our music industry, filling in the gaps with flare and flavor. In 1969, the controversial duo of Zager and Evans came about with a blunt, post-apocalyptic single titled "In The Year 2525," during a time in history where we were in the middle of the Vietnam War and we were revolting against the notion with a peace movement and with Woodstock, a large concert of singers of all kinds.

The music from 1969 was primarily psychedelic and trying to be happy, such as the Fifth Dimension's "Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In" or The Archies' "Sugar, Sugar," but instead of taking the route of "give peace and chance and we shall seek an era of love and happiness," Zager and Evans did the complete opposite and warned us that we are entering an era of apocalypse and are about ready to dig deeper into hell on Earth with the lifestyle we are leading. They dare us to look at all of the technological advancements we brought upon ourselves throughout the last so many years and then imagine what the next thousand years will bring.

They start by mentioning that in the year 2525, "if man is still alive, if woman can survive, they may find..." before chronicling what the next thousand years would bring. In 3535, they point out that this would be the time that we lose our train of thought. We will no longer be thinking for ourselves at this time, but instead we will be taking pills every morning to determine what we "think, do, and say." In 1969, people were high on different drugs that became popular for the era. Perhaps they were expand on these forms of drugs that would ultimately take control of the way they think. Perhaps with all of the inventions coming about, drugs that provide a somewhat flawless but ultimately robotic thought process would be the thing of the future.

Throughout the next two thousand years or so, in 4545 and 5555, there is warning that our bodies will be just about useless. After seeing WALL-E and how the future will see us in space, unable to live on Earth, and sitting in zip-line machines, morbidly obese, the fact that we will be surrendering our body motions to machines. Granted, it's already 2013 and the level of obesity is increasing. So much to a point that during this next generation, we will not be living as long as those from the previous generation. Specifically, they mention that we won't need our teeth or eyes, and anything that we use our arms and legs for will be taken care of with machines. Let's look at the inventions that have come about between 1969 and 2013 and then go about thinking of what is bound to happen after 2013.

6565 is the period of time that we will not marriage and instead be selecting children from test tubes. This scenario actually came about sooner, but only nine years sooner when the first test tube baby, Louise Brown, was born in 1978. The only thing I question with this stanza is the fact that by 6565, people may get to the point that they are so lazy that not only will they not want one another, but they will not want children either. By this time, people may become so self-centered and lazy-minded that not only will they not want to get married, but they won't want to take care of children either. They may rather lie in their car, floating on a zip-line, eager for their strawberry flavored pill that will provide them with their thought process for the day and for the new episode of My Little Pony. The only hanger would be if the pill was what brought the thought of having children to mind.

The next years, 7510 and 8510, are God-related stanzas constructed to form a different rhyme scheme. Zager and Evans (primarily Evans, as he was the one to write the lyrics), felt that a different scheme was in store for these lyrics to decide God's point of view of the destruction of Earth, which worked well with the direction of the song. At this time, a thought is put into God's mind about it being judgment day, followed by whether or not he's satisfied with the reign of man or he should just start from scratch. This may stir controversy into a religious minded person and strengthen the excuse to keep it off the radio unless a special occasion opens up on a particular radio station.

By 9595, we are seeing something that is relevant and has been relevant for the last several years and perhaps centuries. According to the lyrics, man has taken everything from Earth and put nothing back in the process. If evidence of cutting down trees to provide our resources and just about everything else we see around us and our natural environment isn't enough, then I have no idea what is. Our environment is crumbling at our hands and within the next hundred years (fewer and better included), the environment is bound to crumble even more if we don't take action against this negativity. I took an environmental science class in high school, so there are possibilities, but everybody needs to be on the same page.

After 10,000 years, the reign of man has finally been through. The last line, however, leaves a very important question, "...but through eternal night, the twinkling of starlight, so very far away, maybe it's only yesterday...", the fact that is period of time may seem far away is one idea and a warning in a way, but at the same time, this may not even be a warning but the fact that it's too late to stop this form of lifestyle. Perhaps man's reign has already been through and we do not even know it. That line could either be looked like in the warning sense, the "already happened" sense, or the inevitable sense. The song ultimately ends with a reprise of the song before fading out at the, "in the year 3535" bit to the song.

Zager and Evans were known for adding a bit of controversy to their lyrics, as some of their other songs dealt with touchy subjects (such as "Mr. Turnkey" dealing with a rapist), but none of them were able to hit it like "In The Year 2525" did on the charts. The song provided a controversial, but at the same time, honest message about the direction we were heading in throughout time. Come to look at it, the direction we are heading is become quite identical to what Zager and Evans had to say. I can only imagine what is in store for the next several years, decades, and centuries in society. Come to look at it, 2525 is only 512 years away...

Posted below is the video for the song. I am simply sharing this video. All ownership rights belong to the creator of this video.


  1. Great article Josh! This song has many other points that are of interest too.

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  3. "In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus) was written exclusively, music & lyrics, and is owned by Richard (Rick) S. Evans, U.S. ©1968 #Eu-47617. Publisher, owned by Evans: Zerlad Music. Verify: BMI.com (Broadcast Music, Inc.).

    1. Thank you for the specific details on ownership rights, Mr. Evans! I hope you enjoyed the review.