"21st Century Schizoid Man" is a song by progressive rock band King Crimson from their debut album In the Court of the Crimson King.
Unlike the lyrics to the overwhelming majority of songs, which can be broken down into complete or near complete sentences, "21st Century Schizoid Man" consists chiefly of disconnected phrases which present a series of images. All three verses follow a set pattern in presenting these images. The first line of each verse presents two relatively vague images (e.g."iron claw", "death seed"). The second line is a single image, often more specific than the first two, and the third line approaches an actual sentence. The fourth and final line of every verse is "21st century schizoid man".
The song makes reference to the Vietnam War as exemplified in the lyric "innocents raped with napalm fire" and "politicians' funeral pyre." Before a live performance of the song on 14 December 1969 (as shown in the live album Epitaph), Fripp remarked that the song was dedicated to "an American political personality whom we all know and love dearly. His name is Spiro Agnew."
Musically, the song is notable for its heavily distorted vocals sung by Greg Lake, a driving...