First Hit #1: July 12, 1969
The instrumental part of the song is alright, it’s got a decent driving beat. That doesn’t matter, because the song is pretty awful, the rantings of a deranged hobo at a gas station that somehow got set to music.
The song, for the most part, is about how technology is super bad, and mankind is even worse because it uses technology, and then something about god coming and being really annoyed by this. It’s trying to have an environmental message, which is fine, but it goes so weird and over the top that you can’t really take it seriously. I mean, come on, it starts out with mind control, and then everyone’s sitting alone in a room with no senses pretty quickly. There’s no real progression to the horrors they’re trying to describe, it’s just things that are scary and bad, and then it goes into religion for no real obvious reasons because suddenly Zager and Evans run headfirst into a couple problems dictated by their rather silly songwriting. First, 75 and 85 aren’t melodic numbers, but more importantly you can’t get more scary than not needing most of your body parts, and they blew by that quite quickly. Structurally, they probably should have brought up designer babies – and yes, there are designer babies mentioned – early, since that’s not that scary, and then built, but they have no concept on how to properly structure this. As a result, it’s just disjointed and weird, in addition to being nonsense.
But the overall theme is just one of sheer insanity. It might attempt something of an environmental message, and good on it, but in reality the message becomes something about all progress being bad, god’s going to cut you down, and so on. It’s just a weird anthem for luddites rather than the meaningful song they likely planned it to be. And as a result of the head slapping lyrics, it’s just plain bad.