Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “Yours Truly, 2095” — Electric Light Orchestra (1981)

She is the latest in technology
Almost mythology
But she has a heart of stone
She has an IQ of 1001
She has a jumpsuit on
And she’s also a telephone…

OK let’s get those dance shoes on, we got some early 80s synth-pop to geek over.

Yours Truly, 2095 hails from the 1981 album Time from one of your host’s favorite bands, Electric Light Orchestra. Seriously though, I saw Jeff Lynne and Co. live for the first time in the summer of 2019 and it was pretty much one of my favorite all-time concerts. Go see them immediately if the opportunity presents itself.

While an ELO tune doesn’t seem at first to be Halloween-esque, you’d be surprised. Nor is it their first time on this list; a few years back we added Look At Me Now from their debut album, and boy does that one hold up.

Anyway, Yours Truly, 2095 is a wondrous piece of retro-futuristic existential dread. Time, the album from which it hails, is a concept piece about a man from 1981 who is suddenly and inexplicably torn from his time to the year 2095. Or is he? Anyway, once trapped in the future, he realizes everyone he has ever known and loved is gone, including the love of his life, and the crushing dread of that realization is agonizing.

The track Yours Truly, 2095 is a letter from the protagonist to his lost love that will remain eternally unsent. He tells her of the marvels of the future, which are essentially cold, unfeeling, plastic, and empty. He meets (or is provided with) a synthetic companion who looks like her. She is almost a perfect being — beautiful, brilliant, and technologically super-evolved. She is also cold, unfeeling, and perhaps a bit unkind.

Time always has the inexorable final word, and the protagonist begins to understand this. He realizes that, over time, his humanity too will most likely be bleached from his soul, that he may yet give in to her cold embrace. His terrifying (and forever unexplained) isolation in the future will be a life sentence of loneliness, an arbitrary and unknown cosmic cruelty bestowed upon him without reason or explanation.

Yours Truly, 2095 is an up-tempo dance number from ELO, replacing their usual strings with synthesized keyboard tones, an apt metaphor for the song if there ever was one. It’s a fantastic track, albeit a chilling one. The universe is unfeeling and Time will eventually strip everything from you… and there’s nothing you can do about it. Except dance, maybe.

I drive the very latest hovercar
I don’t know where you are
But I miss you so much till then
I met someone who looks a lot like you
She does the things you do
But she is an IBM
2095… I love you, sincerely
Yours truly, yours truly…

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