Hallo, Nightrider here!

In this installment of Underground, let’s first look at a fun song from the Futurama episode “The Late Philip J. Frye:” A humorous take on humanity’s progress, this song made viewers laugh. But did you know that this was a parody of a real song?

Recorded and released in 1968, “In the Year 2525” is the big hit performed by Zager and Evans; they were a pop-rock duo. Unlike the humorous parody from Futurama’s “In the Year 252525,” the original “In the Year 2525” takes humanity’s progress to a unique level of doom in a logical way.

The song is about man’s technological advancements and how they are applied to our practical lives. However, this is a bad thing because these same innovations lead to a sedentary lifestyle. This is only the first third of the song and progresses time from 2525 to 6565 assuming humanity survives in reaching to 2525. In the second part, we hear about the Second Coming in 7510 where God says to himself “I think it’s time for the Judgment Day” casually. In 8510, God would either be happy with what he has done with humanity or “start all over again.” Then in 9595, the narrator believes that at this point man is barely surviving because humanity has never given back to mother earth in its history. When we finally reach the year 10000, man is dead because of its “innovations.” But somewhere in another part of the cosmos, an Earth-like civilization will begin its self-destruction similar to Earth’s in their year of 2525.

In the late ’60s, new technologies were made to better mankind: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (LASER!), Light Emitting Diodes (LED), Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM), Valium, artificial hearts, the Compact Disc, nuclear-powered carriers, and UNIX just to name a few innovations that we take for granted today. But to Rick Evans (the songwriter) these same advancements doom us all: pills telling us what to do, body parts replace the man, no need for other body parts, mechanized work replaces human labor and convenient test tube babies to eliminate human mating habits.

“In the Year 2525” had everyone’s attention in the late ’60s because of its content. Eerily enough, some of what this song says has indeed come true (e.g., pills telling us what to do, artificial body parts). It makes one wonder: can humanity really reach the year 2525 without dooming ourselves to oblivion?