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I Am The Future (Zipper Catches Skin, 1982)

“I Am The Future” Lyrics:

When does a dream become a nightmare?
When do we do what must be done?
When do we stand and face the future?
When there is nowhere left to run?

And you got to learn
Just how to survive
You got to learn
How to keep your dream alive

Take a look at my face
I am the future
How do you like what you see?
Take a look at my face
I belong to the future
And you belong to me

When does a dream become a nightmare?
When do we learn to live with fear?
When we cry out for some salvation?
Why is it no one seems to hear?

You’ve got to learn
It’s up to you

If you can learn that
The dream just might come true

Take a look at my face
I am the future
How do you like what you see?
Take a look at my face
I belong to the future
The world belongs to me, yeah

Take a look at my face
I am the future
Now, how do you like what you see?
Take a look at my face
I belong to the future
And the world it belongs to me
It belongs to me

It’s all mine
Just take a look at my face
I’m the future, no disgrace
Take a look at my face
This world belongs to…to me

Zipper Catches Skin, released in 1982, is Alice Cooper’s seventh solo studio album. The LP was co-produced by Erik Scott, Alice’s bass player and fellow songwriter. Scott admitted that this album was meant to be lean, stripped-down, and low on frills. Punkish and bratty.”

In the early 80s, the music scene shifted from pure Rock ‘n’ Roll to a new wave, pop-induced vibe. Artists like Alice were forced to conform or take a break from the business, but Alice never stopped…he continued making music.

Instead of retreating, Coop gave his 70s flair and style an 80s update without losing his “no-nonsense” attitude.

“You’re still in this business going, okay, the sound is now moving that way. I’m not going to give up Alice Cooper, but we can make that creepy, too. We can turn around and make this sound just as creepy as what I was doing.” – Alice Cooper

It’s interesting how this period has been critiqued by the media and Alice’s fan base. A definite love/hate relationship exists with the Blackout LPs recorded in the early 80s.

I Am The Future,” the LP’s third track, is a quirky ballad found on Zipper Catches Skin. It has a lighthearted tone but manages to hint at Alice’s signature snarl and sneer.

The lyrics themselves are a bit mysterious. Who is speaking? Is there more than one entity? It’s unclear, but what does seem clear is the element of struggle. The listener can feel the angst as the subject matter asks difficult questions.

When does a dream become a nightmare?
When do we do what must be done?
When do we stand and face the future?
When there is nowhere left to run?

When does a dream become a nightmare?
When do we learn to live with fear?
When we cry out for some salvation?
Why is it no one seems to hear?

There’s a message of impending doom laced within the lyrics. It is as if the subject knows their demise is coming, but they cannot find any reprieve – no escape. It also seems their cries and pleas for help are being ignored. But there’s another premise interwoven as well – one of hope.

And you got to learn
Just how to survive
You got to learn
How to keep your dream alive

You’ve got to learn
It’s up to you
If you can learn that
The dream just might come true

Here, we find the idea of free will. There’s a choice to make. The nightmare can be experienced, avoided, or resolved. There’s still a chance for survival. By the song’s end, we find someone boasting about the future and their ownership of the world.

It’s all mine
Just take a look at my face
I’m the future, no disgrace
Take a look at my face
This world belongs to…to me

In these lines, there’s a different tone. They carry with them a sinister connotation. It’s as if something ominous is calling the shots. Someone or something is arrogantly growling, “It doesn’t matter how loud you scream or who you call, there’s no escape – the world, including “you,” belongs to me (the ominous subject).

Again, there’s no indication of who or what the focus of this song is. However, this post will be looking at these lyrics from the perspective of addiction.

“I Am The Future” speaks volumes to those struggling with addiction. From the very first line of the song, the stage is set. “When (did the) dream become a nightmare?”

At what point did the addiction take control? When did the demons begin their attack? At what point did the addict notice they were fighting to survive?

As the song transpires, it addresses the notion that addiction dictates the subject’s future. This destructive habit mocks its subject, saying, “Look at yourself – look at what I’ve done to you – I own you!” But it’s a lie. It’s a plea of desperation – a “head game” meant to control and deceive.

Learning how to survive takes guts. It takes realizing through one’s own free will that they have the inherent ability to choose rehabilitation. It’s a process, and it is accomplished with His help through mercy, grace, and strength.

No temptation has overtaken you, except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 2 Corinthians 10:13

If and when a person is willing, there are ways out of addiction. But the key lies within the gift of free will. It can’t be forced upon anyone. It must be accepted.

With that decision, several other choices must be made. Separation from the world and its ways are paramount (1 John 2:16, 1 Corinthians 15:33). Also, one must be willing to submit to His Will (James 4:7) and embrace Freedom in Christ (1 Corinthians 6:12).

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. – Romans 5:3-5

Our purpose and calling begin to unfold as we transform into a new creation.  We find no fear and no trepidation in our present or future. Our destiny is transitioned from one of doom to one of hope.

Our future becomes defined not by our past or choices but by the redemption we’ve claimed (by accepting the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ). Our future belongs to Him – not addiction.

Wrapping this up, being isolated and confined isn’t the best way to experience addiction or recovery. If you are struggling, search for His answers and rely on His strength. Reach out to others you trust and learn to lean on Him, His promises, and His Word. When two or more gather in His name, Christ is present (Matthew 18:20).

Song & Verse Ministries and Fridays With Alice have worked with many ministries focused on addiction and substance abuse relief. Feel free to email us at fridayswithalice@gmail.com if you’d like us to refer you to one of those ministries, a counselor, offer you prayer, or all of the above.

Addiction does not define you. It is NOT your future.

Let us stand and know His Word to be true. “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). We’ve been called, will we answer?

In conclusion, Zipper Catches Skin was written and released during a difficult time in Alice’s life. It was a time of change and transition when music was regularly changing. It was a time that Alice doesn’t remember – a blackout.

Some might say Alice’s future was bleak and uncertain. Many would or had already written him off. However, his life was about to change drastically. He would soon embrace the path laid for him by His Creator.

Alice found that his future is not in music, acting, alcohol, drugs, or golf – Alice’s future is found in Jesus Christ. May we all come to know our Lord like Alice does – as our future. Amen.

Have you accepted Christ as your Savior?

If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer:

"God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ.  I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay.  I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"

If you have just prayed that prayer, we want to celebrate your new victory with you.  Please contact us at prayers@oceanfloorministries.com so we can welcome you into the kingdom.  We don't want you to have to walk alone and we have some resources we would like the opportunity to share with you.

NOTE: We’d also like to share the following resources used by “Fridays With Alice.” Without these books and sites, this would be a much more complicated endeavor. So be sure to check them out if interested.

Click the images to learn more about these resources:

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