There are times in our life where we feel like we’ve predicted the future. And over the years we have seen artists of all calibers presenting work which at first seem otherworldly, yet somehow prophesies a future which eventually comes true.
From Oscar Wilde and Andy Warhol to The Simpsons, many artists’ predicted prospects have somehow come true, but when it comes to music, the number of imagined futures that have turned into reality is almost scary.
Many musicians have had futuristic visions about themselves and the world around them which have eventually come true. Here are 10 artists who somehow predicted the future.
Rage Against the Machine predicted the Trump presidency
Fundamental to their identity as a band, Rage Against the Machine voiced strong criticisms of the domestic and foreign policies of the US government. The group asserted many issues in their music from Indigenous land rights to the distribution of wealth, which was the prime focus of the film clip for the 1999 track Sleep Now In The Fire.
The clip shows the band playing on Wall Street as spectators hold Donald Trump presidency signs. As scary as it sounds that the band predicted his leadership 16 years early, bassist Tim Commerford has since said it was actually documentary maker Michael Moore’s idea.
Jimi Hendrix predicted the damage of climate change
It wasn’t until about 1986 that climate science and climate change predictions entered mainstream media. But in 1967, Jimi Hendrix had something to say about humanity’s environmental impact.
Up From The Skies describes planet earth from the perspective of an alien. The creature returns after a long time to see how the world has changed. It’s a particular line towards the end of the track which really sticks: “The smell of a world that has burned / Well, maybe, maybe it’s just a change of climate.”
Jim Morrison predicted the rise of EDM
In his final years of life, The Doors frontman Jim Morrison was engaged in a vicious battle with himself. However, in an alcohol-fuelled interview with Jerry Hopkins in 1969 (not long before his death), he appeared as sharp as ever. It was in this series of interviews that the artist prophesied the future of music, and in particular, the rise of EDM, before it even existed. Here is what the icon had to say:
“A lot of people like Mozart were prodigies; they were writing brilliant works at very young ages. That’s probably what’s going to happen: some brilliant kid will come along and be popular. I can see a lone artist with a lot of tapes and electrical… like an extension of the Moog synthesiser — a keyboard with the complexity and richness of a whole orchestra, y’know? There’s somebody out there, working in a basement, just inventing a whole new musical form.”
EDM icon, Skrillex must have been inspired by Morrison’s vision, leading him to collaborate with the then-three living members of The Doors in 2012. The track, Breakin’ a Sweat, even included a vocal sample of Morrison.
Radiohead predicted our reliance on technology in everyday life
If you asked any die-hard Radiohead fan, they would tell you that the band have predicted the future in more ways than one. This includes the rise of pop music, the problematic climate debate, and the emergence of silicon valley. However, their 1997 album Ok Computer is riddled with almost creepy portraits of a future world which have quickly come true.
In particular, Fitter Happier forecasts where technologies such as the Apple Watch have bought us. In a futuristic robot voice which dehumanises the track, we hear the lyrics: “Fitter, happier, more productive / Comfortable / Not drinking too much / Regular exercise at the gym.” Through the track, Radiohead points out that it’s our consumption of technology which consistently monitors us that reduces us to a simple data point, with every aspect of our life being an efficient, tech-induced proceeding.
Nicki Minaj predicted her cousin’s shooting
After Nicki Minaj’s cousin, Nicholas Telemaque was shot dead in 2011, the rapper unofficially released the track We Miss You. The track featured the lyrics: “Why’d you have to leave in July? Why would they take you from me? Why the doctors could not stop the bleeding? I could’ve told you all about my intuition, I could’ve even brought the extra ammunition.”
What was soon discovered was that the track was actually recorded before the shooting took place. While Minaj may not have originally written the track about her cousin, it would ring true that way forever after its release.
Wilco predicted 9/11
This is perhaps one of the most frightening musical prophecies. American alternative-rock band Wilco recorded their album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot which was set for release on 11 September 2001. It ended up being released a week later, but lyrics scattered throughout the album seemed to predict the tragic event and how the nation would suffer in its wake.
Track names on the album include the likes of Ashes of American Flags and War on War. Lyrics even describe tall buildings that shake as well as people who have to learn how to die while moving through flaming doors. Even though the album was recorded before the historical catastrophe, the band’s frontman Jeff Tweedy has commented on the eerie echoes of 9/11 that he can hear on the album.
Jeff Buckley predicted his own drowning
While some Jeff Buckley fans think this one is a stretch, others believe that the American singer-songwriter and guitarist freakishly prognosticated his own death by drowning. Dream Brother is one of the artist’s most ghostly tracks, a dark melody about drowning with the lyrics: “Asleep in the sand, with the ocean washing over.”
In 1997 when the artist was just 30 years of age, Buckley and a friend took a dip in the Wolf River channel of the Mississipi River. The water carried Buckley away, and it wasn’t until six days later when his body was found washed up on the shore.
Killah Priest predicted the NSA security scandal
Killah Priest is a rapper and Wu-Tang Clan affiliate whose lyrics on 1998 debut album Heavy Mental once seemed outlandish, but now ring true. Key track Information sees the rapper spurt the lyrics: “Our telephone conversations will be automatically wiretapped/And transcribed by the National Security Agency.”
It wasn’t until the Patriot Act was passed in 2001 that the NSA would start listening in on our telephone conversations, and it wouldn’t be until 2013 that Edward Snowden would leak his information and uncover the significant scandal.
The Game predicted that Obama would catch Bin Laden
The Game is a rapper who has never been shy of controversial headlines and political statements. But it was a lyric in his 2007 release Hard Times that deserves mention in this list. In the track, the artist raps: “I’m feeling like a black democrat / Barack Obama, the only n**** that can catch Osama.”
The crazy thing about this prediction is that when the song was put out, Obama was only a rank outsider yet to be named as the Democratic candidate for the US presidential election. It wasn’t until a year later that Obama became president and it wasn’t until three years after that Bin Laden was killed under Obama’s administration.
David Bowie “predicted” the rise of Kanye West
This might be the craziest one on the list, but thousands of fans believe in the mysterious and metaphysical connection between the great late David Bowie and Kanye West. The iconic album cover of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars features a pretty noticeable sign that reads “K. West.”
One of the album’s tracks, Five Years states that we have five years until the end of the world. Five years and two days after The Rise and Fall of Ziggy was released, the one and only Kanye West was born. Okay, even we find this one hard to believe.