Songs for Robots?

Odd post time.

I was going through my iTunes list the other day, and I was left wondering: what are some good songs…for robots?*

That is, songs that are either about robots; about robot-like subjects; or sound like they’re being sung or played by robots. (The latter could range anywhere from having an unusual, almost mechanical style or cadence to the singing, or that the vocals are done through a vocoder.)

Androids, A.I.s, and/or full cyborgs would qualify, too.

My picks, so far?

-“Coin Operated Boy”—Dresden Dolls
-“Kill All the Humans”—Rob Crow
-“Fast As You Can”—Fiona Apple
-The version of “Ode to Joy” from A Clockwork Orange

So…anyone else have any suggestions?

*I have an active imagination, and a very weird music collection.

How about “The Death of Optimus Prime” by They Might Be Giants? It doesn’t sound particularly robotic, but it is from the perspective of the Autobots.

  • Anything by Daft Punk, especially “Harder Better Faster Stronger”
  • Kraftwerk - The Robots

"I, Robot", by the [airquotes] Alan Parsons Project [/airquotes].

Oh yeah … someone’s gonna bring these two up sooner or later – might as well be me:

"Iron Man" by Black Sabbath

"Mr. Roboto" by Styx

"No Parking on the Dance Floor" by Midnight Star

Down in the Park - Gary Numan. Hell, most of Gary Numans songs could probably qualify.

Well, just a quick check of my collection brings up:

Spontaneous Human Combustion - The Bobs
Answering Machine - Common Rotation
O Superman (for Massenet) - Laurie Anderson
I Sing the Body Electric - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (cover)
One Tin Soldier - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (cover)
Gigantor - Helmet (cover)
Metal Machine Music - Lou Reed

Robots for Ronnie by Crack The Sky

Robot Rock

Not exactly robots, but since you asked for robotic voice, and some robotic-type voices are used. Here’s a few you can download and listen to, or stream. (I have permission from the artist to share her music and lyrics.)

This one’s from the point of view of a sentient computer that’s been abandoned at a space station (I assume). There’s nothing for it to do, it’s starting to break down but can’t fix itself, and it wonders if anyone’s ever going to come back.

The next one’s a science fiction/horror story about an entity that’s causing the subject to go insane. I’ve always thought of it as a nice metaphor for deep depression too. The entity is sometimes represented by a robotic voice.

This next one is based on the Roy Batty character from Blade Runner. There’s some robotic things going on in parts of it.

One more, with robotic voices in the middle. I have no idea what this song is about. It’s very cool though.

Happy Rhodes - If Wishes Were Horses How Beggars Would Ride (mp3)

You must check out the song “Robot” by Mike O’Connell!
(use the buttons above the text “Sample My Album”, press “play” then skip forward to track # 9)

Perhaps the best Robot song ever, with lyrics like:

Nobody fucks with a Robot
Mocks a Robot
Kicks a Robot in the face
If I was a Robot
A big metal Robot
The only thing I’d hear humans say
Would be . . .
I’d speak binary code!
And I’d never grow old
or feel cold in the winter,
Wouldn’t feel so alone
Wouldn’t feel so alone
Robots don’t feel alone

How about “Marvin, I love you”, about the miserable pile of bolts we all know and love.

On the techno side, recently I’ve been listening to Golden Shower’s “Video Computer System” and “Total Control.” TC has some vocoder voices, and VCS is stitched together from Atari beeps and boops.

Paranoid Android, Radiohead.

‘Machines’ by Queen
‘The Body Electric’ by Rush

An australian band, Regurgitator did a cover of the Transformers theme song.

And there’s also Doctorin’ the Tardis by The Timelords, which samples daleks. Which are robots!

Tenuous, I know.

Robot Girl by Was Not Was

“Robotron 2000” by Freezepop.

“Robot” by The Futureheads

Machines by Manfred Mann (or Lothar & the Hand People; not the same as the Queen song)
Hey! (Rise of the Robots) by the Stranglers
Humanoid Boogie by the Bonzo Dog Band
The entire The Iron Man album by Pete Townshend