Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Timbuk 3 - "The Future's So Bright, I've Gotta Wear Shades"

The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades - Greetings from Timbuk 3

(Debuted October 25, 1986, Peaked #19, 15 Weeks on the Chart)

Sometimes, scoring a memorable hit single can be a double-edged sword. Yes, there's the fact that you get your song played, but there's also the chance that your message will get obscured by fans who might not have clued in on the fact that you were being a smartass when you penned the lyrics. When "The Future's So Bright, I've Gotta Wear Shades" arrived on the radio in 1986, it was different from the stuff playing around it. It mentioned college subjects and had a harmonica in it, for crying out loud...but the yuppies, hipsters and pseudo-intellectuals who embraced the tune missed the sardonic nature of the words.

In a way, the clueless treatment was apt. The protagonist of the song was a self-satisfied overachiever who summed up the Reagan era quite nicely. While Pat McDonald (who wrote the song and provides the vocals) enjoyed cashing his royalty checks from the surprise success of the song, that same success unfairly tagged his group as a novelty act...which is why few beyond the group's fans can name a second song from Timbuk3 off the top of their head.

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