Saturday, July 13, 2013


In 1987 Steve Taylor released a new project on a new record label.  It was I PREDICT 1990 on Myrrh Records.  The cover was designed and painted by Steve’s wife Debbie.  It was meant to resemble early 20th century French poster art.  What controversy ensued!  Some Christian folks said it looked like a tarot card.  A televangelist said Steve was saluting Satan.  Steve was also charged with incorporating secret and new age messages in his new songs.  The project was produced by The Beautiful Twins (Taylor and Dave Perkins).  Instrumentalists include: Dave Thrush (saxophones), Jeff Stone, Gym Nicholson and Dave Perkins (guitars), Glen Holmen (bass), and Greg Husted (accordion). 

The song ‘I Blew Up the Clinic Real Good’, along with the aforementioned controversies, caused this album to be pulled from some Christian stores.  Why?  They thought that in this song Steve was advocating violence and suggesting that Christians should murder abortion doctors.  These critics forgot somehow, that all throughout his career Steve had used tongue-in-cheek sarcasm to make his points.  With this song, Steve was trying to show how absurd it was to murder people you accuse of murdering babies.  This fun sounding rock song includes these lyrics: “The other day when the clinic had its local debut/Some chicks were trying to picket/The doctor threatened to sue/I don’t care if it’s a baby or a tissue blob/But if we run out of youngsters/I’ll be out of a job/And so I did my duty/Cleaning up the neighborhood/I blew up the clinic real good/Try and catch me coppers/Your stinkin’ badges better think again/Before you mess this boy around.  Annie McCaig sings backing vocals on ‘What is the Measure of Your Success.’  The song speaks about people with big egos: “In this city I confess/I am driven to possess/Answer no one, let them guess/Are you someone I impress/I am a big boss with a short fuse/I have a nylon carpet and rubber shoes/And when I shake hands, you’ll get a big shock/You’ll be begging for mercy when the champ is through/You better believe I’ll put the clamps on you.”

Papa John Creach of Jefferson Airplane plays fiddle on the playful, jumpy pop song ‘Since I Gave Up Hope I Feel a Lot Better’.  It pokes fun at pessimists: “While the world winds down to a final prayer/Nothing soothes quicker than complete despair/I predict by dinner/I won’t even care/Since I gave up hope I feel a lot better.”  ‘Babylon’ is a ballad that sounds darkly mysterious and includes Ashley Cleveland’s  vocal stylings which are great.  The song is a cry to Father God for spiritual liberation: “Babylon/Born in your walls/Bred in your will/Captive and still/I hear the heavens cry/Aftershocks/And the sorrow grows/Some make their slow descent/Some repent/Rescue me/These idols lie/I cannot bear the shame/Make this desert rain.”

Jim Morrison was frontman for the Doors.  He died at the age of 27 and had been involved with intoxicating substances.  ‘Jim Morrison’s Grave’ is an energetic rocker that finds Steve lamenting the mortality of Jim and all of us: “It’s getting cold here and there ain’t a lizard in sight/Did the end begin when you shed your skin in the home of the brave?/Somebody shake him from the land of larger than life/Where the remnants warn of a legend born in a dead man’s cave/Jim Morrison’s grave.”  According to a ‘svengali´ is “a person who manipulates or exerts excessive control over another.”  Svengali was also “a villainous hypnotist in the novel TRILBY (1894) by George du Maurier. “ Here are some of the lyrics to Taylor’s next song, ‘Svengali’: “Blue shadows/A Venetian parade/Eyes on a starlet who was yet to be made/He had the thin blue lips/And a fingerless glove/He was a hunter for a prey/To put his prints on/Oh, Svengali (2X)/Wide eyes mesmerize/Ain’t he clever/Oh, Svengali.”

Carl Jung (1875-1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist.  In ‘Jung and the Restless’ by Taylor, we see a female patient who has given up too much control and power to her therapist: “Patient-I was in a mental ward/For a little shock treatment/When a sudden power surge zapped me with 2000 volts/Then I  floated down a tunnel to a shining man in white/And when I could finally make it out, his face was...It was you doctor!’/Doctor-‘So what’s the problem?’”  ‘Innocence Lost’ finds a lady, maybe a nun, visiting a death row inmate and trying to give him hope: “Innocence, innocence, innocence lost/All souls want it back/Some uncover the cost/Innocence, innocence lost/She said ‘Look at me. Don’t you, don’t you lose your innocence.  Don’t you lose your innocence’/He said ‘God’s own angels couldn’t give me hope/When you leave me hanging, just leave me enough rope’/But in her eyes he glimpsed of an innocent way.”

‘A Principled Man’ points to Christ as the one to model ourselves after: “Bleeding and hushed/Hung between thieves/There the foundation began/Are you the one/Taking your cross?/Are you a principled man?”  Mary Bates performs operatic vocals on ‘Harder to Believe than Not To’ which was orchestrated by Del Newman.  The song reminds us not to throw away our entire faith when we have doubts.
To support I PREDICT 1990 Steve Taylor went on his most extensive tour yet.  It included stops in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.  Those who want their Christian music to only say ‘Jesus’ and ‘Praise Jesus’ probably won’t care for this album.  These lyrics require some thought and deciphering.  This album is artistic, innovative, and relevant today for the most part.  I'm rating it 95%.