Weekly Wire
Metro Pulse Pop Apocalypse

Heed the words of the radio star prophets.

DECEMBER 21, 1998:  Preachers and computer programmers have one thing in common—they obviously don't listen to much rock 'n' roll. If they did, they would have discovered long ago that the apocalypse is upon us, rather than waiting until the last few years to start tolling the year 2000 bell. Just as pop musicians of the day predicted pretty much everything from the fall of Troy (the bard Ickyus's plaintive "Horseful of Blues") to the black plague (the traditional ballad "Baby Got Some Boils"), so too our modern-day troubadours have been foretelling our fin-de-millennium tribulations.

While governments, major corporations, and even Jerry Falwell (does he have a computer?) have been busy trying to fend off the Y2K computer bug, we here at Metro Pulse have spent the past several months decoding the signs embedded in apocalyptic pop songs. Although our team is still struggling to crack some of the codes ("MmmBop" must mean something), we have selected a sampling of our findings to help prepare you for the doom that surely awaits us.


"It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"
Words and music by R.E.M.

R.E.M. devotees have long believed Michael Stipe can foresee the future. Either that or he's just a weird, pretentious little bald man.

Selected Lyrics:

That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and
snakes, an aeroplane and Lenny Bruce is not afraid.

Stipe wrote this three years before the giant quake that rocked Los Angeles, which means the apocalypse has probably already started. Not sure about the birds and snakes, but new Biblical translations show that Lenny Bruce in an airplane is indeed one of the signs of the apocalypse. (In the original Hebrew, Bruce was referred to as 'the Prophet Lenny'.)

Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn

Did you know that 1998 was supposed to be a record year for hurricanes—and wasn't? But there were three named storms that hit the Carolinas, Virginia, Florida, and Mississippi, which would place the end of the world in the Southeast somewhere. Or in Central America, which was devastated by Mitch. The "churn" line is a reference to the worldwide indigestion mentioned in the Book of Revelations.

Team by team reporters baffled, trumped, tethered, cropped

Evidently a sign that Dan Rather will be horsewhipped by a dominatrix on live TV as part of the New World Order.

Six o'clock—TV hour

Of course, any with-it apocalypse will be timed for maximum media exposure. It may even line up endorsements—watch for the News-Sentinel, WIVK, and Channel 10 to jump on the bandwagon.

A tournament, tournament, a tournament of lies. Offer me solutions,
offer me alternatives and I decline.

An obvious reference to corporations and governments refusal to heed warnings from the Y2K gurus: They shall pay. Or, maybe not?

Mountains sit in a line, Leonard Bernstein. Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs. Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom!

Mountains in a line can only be the Appalachians, Stipe's clearest indication that the whole shebang will have an East Coast focus. All of the LB names are clearly there to hide the second Lenny Bruce reference, Stipe's way of bringing his prophecy full circle. The last line pretty much speaks for itself, don't you think?


"1999"
Words and music by Prince

Speaking of pretentious little men, Prince has long since gone completely insane—probably the result of prophetic powers run amok. However, the significance of his greatest Delphic vision remains undimmed.

I was dreamin' when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray

The standard opening line for visionaries. Moses says something very similar in the Old Testament.

But when I woke up this mornin', could've sworn it was Judgment Day/The sky was all purple, there were people runnin' everywhere/Tryin' 2 run from the destruction, U know I didn't even care

The right combination of Y2K misfired missiles and chemical weapons could indeed turn the atmosphere grape-colored. Prince has clearly seen a vision of the chaos that will rein Dec. 31, 1999: and perhaps sees the dawn of a new written language.

War is all around us, my mind says prepare 2 fight

Kind of a safe prediction, really, war being a pretty permanent state. But you have to give visionaries some latitude.

So if I gotta die, I'm gonna listen 2 my body 2night
Yeah, they say 2000 zero zero party over, oops, out of time!

Our experts say this could mean the Y2K bug is actually embedded within the human brain, causing mass mental shutdown at midnight of Dec. 31. In fact, it's possible this happened three years early, which would explain a lot.

I got a lion in my pocket and, baby, he's ready 2 roar

A Tamagochi, maybe?

Everybody's got a bomb, we could all die any day/ But before I let that happen, I'll dance my life away

A clear reference to the fairy tale 'The Red Shoes,' in which just such a thing happens. Prince is trying to warn us that the bomb will come from a "red" country known for its footwear. Is it a coincidence Nike and Timberland are opening new factories in China?


"Highway 61 Revisited"
Words and music by Bob Dylan

Dylan's catalog is full of fiery visions, but some of them are too obscure to interpret (what exactly is a "Mighty Quinn"?). This is his most clear guide to annihilation.

Oh God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
Abe say "Man you must be puttin' me on"
God said, "No", Abe say, "What"
God say, "You can do what you want Abe but the
Next time you see me comin', you better run
Well Abe said, "Where do you want this killin' done?"
God said, "Out on Highway 61"

Although this has traditionally been interpreted as a reference to the Biblical Abraham, new discoveries indicate Dylan was actually talking about Abe Torelli of New Jersey, a transportation planner whose dreams of a paved interstate highway system were influential in the Eisenhower Administration.

Well, Georgia Sam, he had a bloody nose
Welfare Department, they wouldn't give him no clothes
He asked Poor Howard, "Where can I go?"
Howard said, "there's only one place I know"
Sam said, "Tell me quick man, I got to run"
Oh, Howard just pointed with his gun
And said, "That way, down Highway 61"

Dylan's prediction of welfare reform as a sign of the end of the world went unnoticed in 1965.

Well, Mack the Finger said to Louie the King,
"I got forty red white and blue shoe strings
And a thousand telephones that don't ring
Do you know where I can get rid of these things?"
And Louie the King said, "Let me think for a minute, son"
And he said, "Yes, I think it can be easily done
Just take everything down to Highway 61"

"A thousand telephones that don't ring"...Can you say Y2K bug? This lyric has caused panic for more than a few debuggers, who are working with mainframes too bulky to transport to the designated roadway.

Now the roving gambler was very bored
Trying to create a next world war
He found a promoter who nearly fell off the floor
He said, "I never engaged in this kind of thing before,
But yes, I think it can be very easily done
We'll just put some bleachers out in the sun
and have it on Highway 61"

The "roving gambler" is probably billionaire currency speculator George Soros. The promoter is (who else?) Don King. Of course, the end of the world 20th century style will be endlessly hyped. Just take a look at all the wonderful Y2K products you can already buy: 300 gallon water tanks, wood burning stoves, generators, how-to books and videos, home defense merchandise (you know, shotguns, pistols and rifles)...heck, they even got T-shirts so you can recognize your Y2K brethren in the supermarket and unite.

There are undoubtedly legions of equally significant messages hidden in the songs we hear on the radio every day. Can you afford to ignore them? We didn't think so.


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