From there, the lyrics to the song were born, but not the song as it ended up in the minds of popular culture. While Pat wrote a song of a youthful nuclear scientist and his monied future, listening audiences heard a graduation theme song.
Pat revealed on VH1's "100 Greatest One-hit Wonders" list that the meaning of the song was widely misinterpreted as a positive perspective in regard to the near future. Pat somewhat clarified the meaning by stating that it was, contrary to popular belief, a "grim" outlook. While not saying so directly, he hinted at the idea that the bright future was in fact due to impending nuclear holocaust. The "job waiting" after graduation signified the demand for nuclear scientists to facilitate such events. Pat drew upon the multitude of past predictions which transcend several cultures that foreshadow the world ending in the 1980's, along with the nuclear tension at the height of the cold war to compile the song.
Particular scenes in the video tend to support the grim outlook that Pat was referring to. At the 1:02 time frame on the 3:20 video, Pat and Barbara are seen sitting in chairs out in the desert, fixated on a position off camera. There then begins a glow which brightens the screen. It appears as if this scene was intentionally designed to portray the two observing a nuclear explosion.
The group's EP Looks Like Dark to Me contains a slower version of the song with an additional verse, making clear the dark nature of the song's intent:
Blowin' up the lab,That same EP's title track also refers back to this song:
Blowin' the professor,
Torn between two evils,
I always pick the lesser.
The future's been bright for so long now, it looks like dark to me
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