21st Century (Digital Boy)

Album: Against the Grain (1990)
Charted: 41


  • 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

Neal Smith - "I'm Eighteen"They're Playing My Song

With the band in danger of being dropped from their label, Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith co-wrote the song that started their trek from horror show curiosity to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Damn YankeesSongwriter Interviews

Revisit the awesome glory of Night Ranger and Damn Yankees: cheesily-acted videos, catchy guitar licks, long hair, and lyrics that are just plain relatable.

Harold Brown of WarSongwriter Interviews

A founding member of the band War, Harold gives a first-person account of one of the most important periods in music history.

00s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

Do you know the girl singer on Eminem's "Stan"? If so, this quiz is for you.

Emilio Castillo from Tower of PowerSongwriter Interviews

Emilio talks about what it's like to write and perform with the Tower of Power horns, and why every struggling band should have a friend like Huey Lewis.

History Of RockSong Writing

An interview with Dr. John Covach, music professor at the University of Rochester whose free online courses have become wildly popular.