I Predict 1990

[Image: 'I Predict 1990' Front Cover]

© 1987 Myrrh Records (Word, Inc.)
CD, CD Longbox, LP, Cassette


Track Listing

  1. I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good (4:11)
  2. What Is The Measure Of Your Success? (4:38)
  3. Since I Gave Up Hope I Feel A Lot Better (3:25)
  4. Babylon (4:48)
  5. Jim Morrison's Grave (4:29)
  6. Svengali (4:28)
  7. Jung And The Restless (4:32)
  8. Innocence Lost (5:02)
  9. A Principled Man (3:26)
  10. Harder To Believe Than Not To (4:31)

About The Album

From I Predict 1990 Press Release, 1987:

"It's a logical progression, the type of material on this album," said Taylor. "There's plenty of satire on this record--'I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good,' 'Since I Gave Up Hope I Feel A Lot Better', 'Jung and the Restless,'--but I didn't want to get to the point where people were wondering, 'What's he going to trash this time out?'

"Since some of the subject matter on this album required a more direct, serious treatment," explained Taylor, "I tried to write accordingly. After all, it would be tough to make a song called 'Jim Morrison's Grave' funny."


The album's title stems from a book Taylor saw a would-be prophet advertising on religious television a couple of years ago. He remembered it being called something along the lines of "I Predict 1986." Said Taylor, "The idea struck me as being so absurd that I thought it was a worthily absurd title for an album. It has something of a ring to it and it sounds better than 'Steve's Fourth Record.'"

Not that this album is all prophecy. "It's not a concept record," he notes, "but when we were listening back to the song 'I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good,' my wife, Debbie, pointed out the line in the song that has a preacher on the corner saying, 'The ends don't justify the means anytime.' And she said if there's a theme to the record, that's it.

"Recent events point to the general philosophy being practiced by many Americans, including a lot of American Christians, that the end does justify the means. At a time when people are sympathetic with the idea that you occasionally have to do ethically questionable things in order to protect everything from national to personal interests. I think the overall theme of this album is very important--that there's such a thing as right and wrong."

From Ever Unpredictable, Notebored, January/February 1988:

... Taylor sees I Predict 1990 as a logical progression from the last record. He claims to have added a few more songs that are positive but he says, "It is not a dramatic move toward more uplifting songs in general."

From Steve Taylor: Rock 'n Role Model, CCM Magazine, January 1988:

"The title came when I was flipping through the TV channels and, on one of the Christian stations, a guy was hawking a book called, I think, I Predict 1986, where he was saying what God had revealed to him about what was going to happen. And the idea struck me as being so absurd that I thought it was a worthily absurd title for a record.

"It's not a concept record, but when we were listening back to 'I Blew Up the Clinic Real Good,' my wife Debbie pointed out the line in the song where the preacher on the corner cries, 'The end doesn't justify the means any time' and said that if there's a theme to the record, that's it. That there's such a thing as right and wrong and that things can't be justified because they'll protect interests--be they American interests or personal interests--in the long run. That there are things higher than just expedience."

"I Blew Up the Clinic" starts the record off hilariously as the most outright example of Taylor's outraged outrageousness. It's also something of an anomaly on this, a far more sober record overall than he's made before. "It wasn't really a conscious effort to do less satire," he says. "I definitely didn't want to do any more 'Lifeboat'-type songs that were like comedy sketches set to music. But beyond that, I think it was just time to write some things that dug a little deeper and satire that had a sharper focus and more bite to it.

"The thing that worried me more was having songs that were so topical that they wouldn't be relevant in 10 years--and that's certainly been the case with a few of them in the past. If you write a song that's so specifically about something current that it doesn't really have a lot of other application..."

From Steve Taylor: This Joker's Wild!, Gospel Music Today, January/February/March 1988:

It wasn't really intentional at first, but we were listening to a playback of "I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good" and there's a line in the song that says 'Preacher on the corner, calling it a crime, says the end don't justify the means anytime.' And my wife, Debbie, said to me, 'You know, if there is one theme running through the whole album, it's that the end doesn't justify the means.' Expediency is not what Jesus had in mind for His followers. Right now, there's a lot of Christians that are going along with the idea that it's okay to do things that are morally questionable as long as the end result is good or as long as we're protecting American interests or personal interests. We've certainly seen that theory espoused in things these days, like the Iran Contra hearings. Yet, if our Jesus can say without a doubt that there is a right and a wrong, then that philosophy is the way to go.


Using my band on this record really made a big difference in the sound. The band has been playing together for a long time and not many bands actually have the sum of players and playing abilities that this one has. Each of the guys really knows their way around their instruments. That gave the record cohesiveness and a personality that I don't think it would have had if we had chosen to use studio musicians. Working with Dave Perkins also added a lot to the record. We both had the same vision for what we wanted the record to sound like and what we wanted it to say. We wanted it to have a lot of emotional impact. That's probably part of the reason we worked for over a year on the album. We wanted to get it right and not put it out before it was done... Musically I suppose it's a logical progression from the last studio record--built around the drums and bass. Its certainly very much in a progressive rock vein, but of course, the themes to the songs themselves dictate a lot. Doing a song like "Jim Morrison's Grave" seems to lead to a certain musical intepretation. On the whole the album, I think, has a lot more emotion to the songs and there's a lot more kick to the arrangements.

From Christian Rock's "Bad Boy" Steve Taylor's Music Bites, The Dallas Morning News, April 9th, 1988:

His latest album, for instance, bears the cryptic title I Predict 1990, which is, as it turns out, nothing more than a joke on a religious snake-oil salesman whom Taylor saw on TV a couple of years ago promoting a book of do-it-yourself prophecy.

"I was flipping through the channels, and a guy on a religious channel was selling his new book, called I Predict 1986," Taylor said on a recent visit to Dallas. "It was, like, the stuff that God had told him was going to happen in the coming year. The whole idea seemed pretty absured to me."

From Steve Taylor: The U Interview, U Magazine, April/May 1988:

On his new album: He swears the record is named after a televangelist's book title in which the preacher claimed the book would reveal to his viewers what would happen during the coming year. "It struck me as being so absurd that it would make a good title for a record."

Actually, "in the scheme of things, the new album doesn't look at the future, though a lot of the concerns addressed in the album are looking toward where things are heading. I'm concerned about a lack of idealism today, and with the philosophy that's overrunning America--the idea that whatever is expedient is right.

"The new album has a lot of themes--loss of innocence ('Innocence Lost'), backsliding ('Svengali') and the idea that the end doesn't jusfify the means ('I Blew Up the Clinic Real Good')."

From Steve Taylor on Staring into the Sun: Squint or You'll Miss It, True Tunes News, Winter 1993:

... [A]bout the time of the "I Predict" record there were some things going on. There was, as you might recall, a very strong trend towards either "Praise and Worship," or the equivalent of "I'm back to being a Christian," music.

Easy Listening?

Exactly! To do a record like that, for me, would be wrong. I didn't feel like I had to remind people that I was still a Christian. There's something in me that wants to zig when everyone else is zagging. In many ways I suppose that "I Predict 1990" was the exact wrong record to do at the time.

Is that why you left Sparrow?

No, but I think they were sensing the same sort of trends in the business at that time. They knew that it was going to be a hard sell. What I was doing was such a large part of their business at that time, that they needed that record to be done by a certain time, and there was no way to finish it. I actually started recording it for them, and then after six months it changed hands. They were actually really cool about it. They had every right to say, "We're taking everything you've got and we're going to mix it down ourselves..." I asked if I could find someone to put it out later, would they consider that. They said yes, although it wasn't their first choice. At that point Lynn Nichols was the head of Myrrh records and he was definitely a kindred spirit in terms of what kind of music he was into, and would like to see released. So, it made it's way over to Myrrh, and was released by them when it was finished.