21st Century (Digital Boy)

Album: Against the Grain (1990)
Charted: 41
Play Video


  • This song was first released on the album Against the Grain in 1990, but it was rerecorded for their 1994 album Stranger Than Fiction and released as a single. The theme of the song is a criticism of modern consumerist culture: "I don't know how to live, but I got a lot of toys."
  • The song also is a homage (or at least it refers to) King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man," with the title, also the set of lyrics that are sung in the background of the last lyrics: "Cat's foot iron claw, neurosurgeons scream for more. Innocents raped with napalm fire, everything I want I really need." These lines are a direct quote from the song; only the last line is reworked, the original was: "Nothing he's got he really needs." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Martin - Rostock, Germany, for above 2
  • The video shows a young child transfixed to a TV screen while the band plays inside it. Director Gore Verbinski created an interesting effect by submerging the band in a plastic swimming pool filled with water that was treated with various dyes and other substances.
  • The lyrics, "I tried to tell you about no control, but now I really don't know, And then you told me how bad you had to suffer, is that really all you have to offer?" reference the Bad Religion albums Suffer and No Control, both released prior to Against the Grain. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Lucas - Los Angeles, California

Comments: 1

  • Lucas from Los Angeles, CaliforniaBad Religion has never had a Hot 100 hit, but "21st Century (Digital Boy)" is one of their most popular songs, making it #11 on the Alternative chart. It's also their highest-charting signle in the UK, where it peaked at #41.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Boy Bands

Boy BandsFact or Fiction

From NKOTB to 1D, how well do you know your boy bands?

Martin Page

Martin PageSongwriter Interviews

With Bernie Taupin, Martin co-wrote the #1 hits "We Built This City" and "These Dreams." After writing the Pretty Woman song for Go West, he had his own hit with "In the House of Stone and Light."

Zac Hanson

Zac HansonSongwriter Interviews

Zac tells the story of Hanson's massive hit "MMMbop," and talks about how brotherly bonds effect their music.

Shawn Mullins

Shawn MullinsSongwriter Interviews

"Lullaby" singer Shawn Mullins on "Beautiful Wreck," beating the Devil, and his writing credit on the Zac Brown Band song "Toes."

Daryl Hall

Daryl HallSongwriter Interviews

Daryl Hall's TV show is a hit, and he's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - only one of these developments excites him.

Trans Soul Rebels: Songs About Transgenderism

Trans Soul Rebels: Songs About TransgenderismSong Writing

A history of songs dealing with transgender issues, featuring Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Morrissey and Green Day.