21st Century Boy

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"21st Century Boy"
SSS 21st Century Boy.jpeg
Single by Sigue Sigue Sputnik
from the album Flaunt It
B-side"Buy EMI"
ReleasedMay 1986 (1986-05)
Genre
Length
  • 4:11 (single version)
  • 3:32 (radio edit)
  • 5:10 (album version)
LabelParlophone
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Giorgio Moroder
Sigue Sigue Sputnik singles chronology
"Love Missile F1-11"
(1986)
"21st Century Boy"
(1986)
"Massive Retaliation"
(1986)
Audio
"21st Century Boy" on YouTube

"21st Century Boy" is a song by British band Sigue Sigue Sputnik released in May 1986 and is the second single from their debut album Flaunt It. It was the band's second biggest hit, peaking at number 20 on the UK Singles Chart.[1]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

As indicated by the title, the lyrics of the song contain references to the then-future 21st century. The title itself is possibly a take on the T. Rex song "20th Century Boy". The song begins with a sample of Johann Sebastian Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D minor".[2] Capitalism and technology are themes of the song with the companies Cartier, Tissot, Timex, Coca Cola and Fender all mentioned. Countries such as China, Singapore and El Savador are also mentioned with the implication that they are all wealthy countries in the 21st century. Another theme, common in the 1980s, is dystopian future with the idea of living on Saturn or Venus and of 'sex machines' and 'sci-fi sex' and the lyric 'I am the ultimate product' reinforcing this.[3] The lyric 'ladies and gentlemen, Elvis 1990' (apart from possibly alluding to the sex symbol status of Elvis Presley) refers to Tony James' bass guitar, which he describes, "I painted the words Elvis 1990 on the guitar and the legendary 'space bass' was born".[4]

In the September 1986 issue of Spin, "21 Century Boy" is described as sounding "suspiciously like 'Love Missile F1-11', with a campy apocalyptic feel and a missed opportunity for Jetsons references."[5]

Music video[edit]

The music video features Sigue Sigue Sputnik members getting out of a limousine and going into a luxurious and 'futuristic' hotel. They are also featured in a helicopter going towards a concert. There are also several similarities to the film Blade Runner in the video. Obviously, in the video there are some now very anachronistic items, including brick mobile phones and a Discman. The video was directed by Hugh Symmonds and was described in Music & Media as "basically a continuation of S.S. Sputnik's last single, with a backdrop from Japan and the US".[6]

Formats and track listings[edit]

7": Parlophone / SSS 2 (UK)

  1. "21st Century Boy" – 4:11
  2. "Buy EMI" – 3:53

7": Parlophone / SSS 2 (UK) (Original Recalled Release)

  1. "21st Century Boy" – 3:32
  2. "Buy EMI" – 3:53

7": Parlophone / 1C 006 20 1258 7 (Germany)

  1. "21st Century Boy" – 3:32
  2. "Buy EMI" – 3:52

12": Parlophone / 12 SSS 2 (UK)

  1. "21st Century Boy" (T.V. Mix) – 6:09
  2. "Buy EMI" (£4,000,000 Mix) – 7:24

12": Parlophone / 1C K 060-20 1361 6 (Germany)

  1. "21st Century Boy" (German Mix) – 5:58
  2. "21st Century Boy" (Dance Mix) – 5:24

12" Promo: Parlophone / 12 SSSDJ 2 (UK)

  1. "21st Century Boy" (T.V. Mix) – 6:00
  2. "21st Century Boy" (Dance Mix) – 5:15
  3. "21st Century Boy" (7" Mix) – 3:28

Charts[edit]

Chart (1986) Peak

position

Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[7] 4
Germany (Official German Charts)[8] 28
Ireland (IRMA)[9] 16
Italy (FIMI)[10] 43
Poland (LP3)[11] 37
Portugal (AFP)[12] 20
Spain (AFYVE)[13] 6
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[14] 24
UK Singles (OCC)[1] 20

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  2. ^ "21st Century Boy by Sigue Sigue Sputnik on WhoSampled". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2020-09-18.
  3. ^ datan0de (2011-07-13). "Brain Dump - I'm a Space Cowboy!". Welcome to the Machine... Retrieved 2020-09-18.
  4. ^ "The Sputnik Story 4:5". www.sputnikworld.com. Retrieved 2020-09-18.
  5. ^ "Sideswipes". Spin. Vol. 2 no. 6. Spin Media LLC. September 1986. p. 37. ISSN 0886-3032.
  6. ^ "Music & Media" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 3 no. 22. 7 June 1986. p. 5. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  7. ^ Timo (13 August 2015). "Sisältää hitin: Levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1960: Artistit SEN - SIG". Sisältää hitin. Retrieved 2020-07-21.
  8. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Sigue Sigue Sputnik – 21st Century Boy" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  9. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – 21 st Century Boy". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  10. ^ "Indice per Interprete: S" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  11. ^ "Archiwum LP3, notowanie 233, z dn. 6.09.1986". www.lp3.pl. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  12. ^ "TOP 20 TMP Portugal - 7 septembre 1986 #1316". www.laurentpons.com. Retrieved 2020-07-22.
  13. ^ "Listas de superventas: 1986". 22 July 2020.
  14. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Sigue Sigue Sputnik – 21st Century Boy". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 2 March 2020.