Thursday, 25 December 2014

Sleigh Ride : C3PO & R2D2

It's Christmas day and what better way to celebrate than inviting friends and family round, exchange gifts, share stories, drink until you're sleepy, eat until you fart and maybe shed a solitary tear as you recall just how much more fun Christmas day was when you were younger. Well don't despair you miserable sodbots because today you've got six robot songs to unwrap!

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, some feckwit decided to let R2D2 and C3PO record a Christmas album. Did they even have Christmas a long time ago in a galaxy far far away??? I think not, but the idea of a Star Wars Christmas album may well be considered one of George Lucas's many clangers, along with Ewoks (sorry girls), The f*cking Phantom Menace and the rest of the fecking prequels can sith off too!!  In many ways this robot song is a clanger, but it also has a certain charm too... and it is better than The Phantom f*cking Menace.



Chiron Beta Prime : Jonathan Coulton

Jonathan Coulton is one of my favourite robot songsmiths. He penned the beautifully haunting Still Alive which played over the closing credits of the video game Portal. He penned the equally sinister Want You Gone which featured in Portal 2, and he penned this chrimbo-cyber-classic titled Chiron Beta Prime.


Jonathan Coulton will make a welcome return to 101 Songs About Robots in the new year next xmas with a dedicated week long Jonathan Coultonathon to honour his contribution to robot music. :)

Rudolph The Red Nosed Robot : Blotnik Brothers

This robot Christmas song is best described as utterly bonkers. But what else would one expect from Sweden's blotty Blotnik Brothers?

Electronic Santa : Blazer Force

Building on the beats laid down by the Blotnik Brothers, this little festive gem is from Blazer force, better known as Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords. Bret, Bret, Bret, however you pronounce it, I thank you from the bottom of my Christmas stocking.

Christmas Robot : The Retrobot

More bonkers beats on this festive 101 Songs About Robots Christmas Special, this time courtesy of The Retrobot. This particular song was the subject of an ill-fated social media campaign to get it to number one in the UK singles chart for Xmas 2013.


I guess we can safely assume that the campaign failed. Shame as it is a catchy tune.

Merry Merry Christmas : C3PO & R2D2

Putting the robotic bleeps and beats behind us, I'll end the 101 Songs About Robots Xmas Special with another gem from the Star Wars Christmas album.


Have a great Christmas everyone! And remember, when robots rule the world, Christmas will be a thing of the past, so enjoy it whilst you can. I'll be back in the new year with even more robot songs for your listening pleasure. A big thank you goes out to all those who've suggested robot songs, and please, keep your robot song suggestions coming!!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Our Toys are Good to Go! : The CE-E Robot

This isn't a song about a robot... it's a song by a robot.

In fact it's best described as a Public Information Film and it's perfect for this time of year. I'm sure lots of you are immersed in buying your kidbots far too many Christmas prezzies, but I sincerely hope that you're also paying attention to the current safety standards. "What safety standards?" I hear you holler. Well, the CE-E robot explains it far more eloquently than I can.




If that was a proper Public Information Film from the 70s... it wouldn't be quite so entertaining. Instead of a little robot dancing and singing, it'd have some scary celebrity narrating over some deeply depressing background music accompanying images of children stabbing each other in the face with the nails that hold their dolls together, or puncturing their sibling's lungs with a knock-off Action Man bolt thrower, or scattering bits of a former toddler all over the carpet and curtains with a cheap copy of a Fisher Price lawn mower... I was so busy dancing to the CE-E Robot song that I don't think the message really got through ...why can't they make Public Information Films like they used to?

Play safe & stay safe... I'll be back on Xmas day with a 101 Songs About Robots Christmas Special!


Thursday, 27 November 2014

O Superman : Laurie Anderson

I'm the first to admit that this is possibly the most tenuous 'robot' song so far on 101 Songs About Robots. O Superman was played on BBC 6 Music a few days ago and I'd forgotten just how much I like it. I also recalled it having a vague robot reference towards the end and figured it might just qualify as a robot song. As said, it's tenuous, but the lyric "So hold me, Mom, in your long arms. In your automatic arms. Your electronic arms." is near enough for me.

I take my hat off to the British 7" single buying public of 1981 as it is they who got this minimalist work of art to number 2 in the charts. If it wasn't for them, this song would most likely remain largely unheard. So without further ado, here is Laurie Anderson with O Superman: the unlikeliest of chart smashes.





Sunday, 16 November 2014

Ska Robot Army : The Aquabats

Once again it's Ska Sunday here on 101 Songs About Robots, making it 111 songs about robots!!!

Last week, doing a regular Ska Sunday seemed like a great idea, but this week I've realised that I only have two robot ska tracks... so this fledgeling feature is about to come to an abrupt end. Unless of course my loyal readers can point me in the direction of some more robo-ska.

I've previously featured The Aquabats with their excellent Giant Robot Birdhead, and Aquabat front man MC Bat Commander also sang the chorus on last week's This Gigantic Robot Kills... so it should come as no surprise that this second and final instalment of Ska Sunday comes courtesy of The Aquabats. Taken from their 1996 debut album titled 'The Return of the Aquabats', it's Ska Robot Army.



At least Ska Sunday ended on a high note.


Saturday, 15 November 2014

The Robot Song : Project: Out of Bounds

As a warm-up for Ska Sunday, here's a reggae influenced robot song by San Diego's Project: Out of Bounds. From their Facebook page...
"Project Out of Bounds is a progressive reggae-fusion band that has been taking California venues by surprise for the last five years. In a musical age where success is manifested through kissing ass and blasting social media sites, P.O.B. is the band that lets their art speak for itself. Their music is creative, edgy, and hip. They usually sneak under the radar right before sucker punching the crowd with an explosion of energy. They have accumulated a fan-base of true music aficionados that don’t buy into hype. Yes, this is a band for the true music fan, not just the reggae fan."

Need I say more?



See you tomorrow on Ska Sunday!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

This Gigantic Robot Kills : MC Lars

It's 'Ska Sunday' here on 101 Songs About Robots, and what better way to celebrate than with a chunk of that modern punky pop the kids call ska? This song may well be a long way from the authentic sixties ska that laid the foundations for rocksteady and reggae, but it's got the jump and the jiggle and the jaunty brass, and it's bang up to date with a bad ass rap.

This Gigantic Robot Kills is written & performed by MC Lars and features Aquabats frontman MC Bat Commander singing the chorus, along with LA based third wave ska band Suburban Legends providing the trumpety jumpety backing track. Taken from his 2009 album of the same name, it's MC Lars with This Gigantic Robot Kills.




I might be back later on with another song for Ska Sunday, or I might be back next week, but right now... I'm off for a bath.


Saturday, 1 November 2014

Robot : Trip Lee

Well here we are on All Hallows, so lets put those satanic shenanigans behind us and kick off a new month with some religious rapping courtesy of Trip Lee. Not all rap-hop revolves around guns, bitches and a string of profanities, nor does it all advise the listener to join a gang, slap a ho, buy some bling and a Lexus yo! Trip Lee differs from the wannabe gangsters of the rap-hop world as his rhymes entwine the gospel truth with beats and breaks that raise the roof and spread the word of God... muthaf*cka!





Friday, 31 October 2014

Song of the Death Machine : Bruce Haack

A Halloween Special!  You lucky lucky people! This is a one off event, never to be repeated. Well it's unlikely to be repeated as these four robot songs are all I found with a (tenuous) Halloween theme.

Throughout the 1960s, Bruce Haack produced a number of records aimed at young children that included his Dance, Sing & Listen series, The Way Out Record for Children (from which the previously posted School for Robots was taken), and the Electronic Record for Children.

Then along comes the 70s and Bruce's next LP is titled The Electric Lucifer. Was this release aimed at children or a more mature audience? I've no idea... but what I do know is that this song would have scared the bejeezus out of me when I was a kidbot! It's not only the devilishly deviant arrangement or the demonic delivery of the lyrics that gives this song its edge, but the way the melody meanders around a dark and dissonant soundscape that makes it really sinister... and then there's the word KILL at the end of each passage. All in all... a beautiful lullaby.





Robot Super Lover Boy : No Big Silence

Whilst scraping the bottom of the barrel searching for robot songs with a Halloween theme, I stumbled across this fright fest...




Not only do the lyrics tick the 'Halloween' box with nods to the Devil and a 666 reference, but the band themselves look scary enough to warrant their inclusion on my Hallobot (or Roboween) special. I'm sure they're all very nice in real life and only dressed in such frightful attire for Halloween.

Electric Funeral : Black Sabbath

OK, maybe the Halloween theme of this song is tenuous at best and non-existent at worst... but it is by Black Sabbath, a band loved and feared in equal measure for their satanic lyrics and devilish riffs. Black Sabbath tick the Halloween box and the lyric "Robot minds of robot slaves lead them to atomic rage" ticks the robot box... so without further ado... it's Black Sabbath with Electric Funeral.




Robot Hell - Futurama

I almost forgot about this one.   Phew... turama!!

update: it appears that the miserable sods over at Fox have had my video blocked... and then weeks later it's been unblocked again... make yer minds up!




Tomorrow I'll provide the antidote to this cyber-satanic celebration with some god bothering rap-hop!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

One More Robot / Sympathy 3000-21 : The Flaming Lips


It was whilst listening to The Flaming Lips that I had the initial idea for 101 Songs About Robots. At the time the prospect of actually finding 101 robot songs seemed like a real challenge, but since this is song number 103, I guess the challenge has been met... but it's a long way from being over.

I had the pleasure of watching The Flaming Lips perform in front of the lovely Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank a few years ago. They're certainly not my favourite band, nor do they exhibit exceptional musical tallent, but they certainly know how to put on a good show. The location, the light-show, the lasers, the confetti canons and everything else The Flaming Lips gave to the audience all adds up to the best concert I've ever attended. I've already posted Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots pt. 1, so today I'm posting another robot song from that same album... One More Robot / Sympathy 3000-21 ...a symphonic chill pill that marks the moment when one more robot becomes more than just a machine.

The video has been cobbled together with scenes from the Anime flick 'Ghost in the Shell'.


Don't miss my robotic Halloween Special... coming up on er.... Halloween!


Friday, 24 October 2014

The Man Machine : Kraftwerk

When I said I wouldn't be stopping when I'd posted 101 songs about robots, I meant it. Song number 102 is another robo-classic from the Germanic pioneers of robo-pop. Taken from the 1978 LP 'Die Mensch-Maschine', it's Kraftwerk with The Man Machine.




Friday, 17 October 2014

Spirit of the Age : Hawkwind

The first song I posted on 101 Songs About Robots was Hawkwind's Robot, so by way of book-ending, song number 101 is also by Hawkwind and is taken from their classic album 'Quark Strangeness and Charm'. Spirit of the Age is a song about intergalactic space travel and cloning, but has a robotic theme at its heart with the lyric "Your android replica is playing up again". Written by Dave Brock and Robert Calvert, Spirit of the Age has got to be one of Hawkwind's greatest moments. As with Robot, Calvert delivers his lyrics as a spoken-song whilst the space rockers behind him provide the solid chugging rhythm that keeps this song sounding as futuristic and dystopic today as I'm sure it did back in 1977.




Finally my blog lives up to its name: 101 Songs About Robots! 

This is not the end by a long chalk, but it is the end of me feeling the need to post a robot song a day... which I must admit is a bit of a relief. There's plenty more robot songs to come, including a Halloween and Xmas special, so stay tuned, follow this blog and revel in all things robotic as we stomp, strum and sing our way towards 1001 Songs About Robots!

I've added my favourite robot songs from the blog to the 101 Songs About Robots... RADIO! playlist, although there's only eighty-odd songs at time of writing... it'll get there eventually. I've also added a Robot Party Playlist to the RADIO page, featuring around half an hour of robotic children's songs, and I have more themed playlists in mind such as Robot Rock, Fembot-Funk, Cyber-Punk and Prog-Bots.

Please send me your own robot song suggestions via the comments. If you can't be bothered to trawl through all my daily posts, have a look at the A-Z Index to see what's already been posted.

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Thursday, 16 October 2014

My Robot : Looper

Looper hail from Glasgow and are fronted by ex Belle & Sebastian bassist Stuart David. I've been longing to post this beautiful little robo-ditty for ages... but wanted to put it somewhere significant. So here it is as track number 100; My Robot by Looper

*Unfortunately, the charming fan-vid was blocked in the UK, so you'll just have to make do with this:


My Robot is taken from their second LP titled 'The Geometrid' (2000) and also featured on the film 'The Girl Next Door' as well as on the Xbox video game 'Project Gotham Racing'.

Tune in tomorrow for song number 101... the song that will finally make this blog live up to its name!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Worship The Robots : DJ Swamp

Song number 99 comes with a flake & juice in the form of damn good advice... because one day we'll all either have to worship the robots or DIE! Horribly.

Aside from offering essential life prolonging advice, DJ Swamp is more active than an activated activator, having lent his scratching talents to a plethora of artists including Vanilla Ice, Katy Perry, Hanson and Kool Keith. Maybe he should have offered some spelling advice to the so-called 'cool' Keith whilst he was at it? DJ Swamp has also opened for Daft Punk, The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim and The Chemical Brothers, but not in a gay way. A quick glance at his Wikipedia page suggests that his output is best described as ubiquitous. He's been everywhere and now he's here on 101 Songs About Robots too, which I'm sure will make his mum very proud. With Worship The robots, it's DJ Swamp.




I wonder if they're the same white suited guys that appeared in The Body Electric video?


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Scent of a Robot : Pete Miser

Vocalist, turntableist and drummist... er... Peter Miser was once part of the hip hop group Five Fingers of Funk before moving to Brooklyn and embarking on a solo career. This led to him being recruited as part of Dido's touring band, but things soon picked up and Miser has since recorded three solo albums and released a couple of singles... one being Scent of a Robot from 2004. In my humble opinion, rap-hop is at its best when it doesn't take itself too seriously, and I reckon Scent of a Robot definitely ticks that box.





Monday, 13 October 2014

Robot High School : My Robot Friend

I waffled on about My Robot Friend when I posted Sex Machine last month... one man band, New York City, a prolific producer, writer and remixer... real name is Howard and he's made more than one robot song... which isn't surprising given his pseudonym. This one's called Robot high School.




Sunday, 12 October 2014

Ballarobot : David Zed

Born in the USA but seemingly spending much of his working life in Italy, David Traylor's day job is in film & television as an actor, comedian and voice-over artist... and of course a robot known as Mr Zed. But it's his musical output I'm interested in. This will be David Zed's third and final feature on 101 Songs About Robots... unless of course he releases another robot song. From 1983 is Ballarobot, which is a re-recorded version of his 1980 single Balla Robot.



Here's the original (which is from 1980 and not '81 as stated in the video's title)...




Saturday, 11 October 2014

Machine Song : Mother Gong

Founded in 1978, Mother Gong rose like a pigeon from the ashes of the psychedelic pixie group Gong. With Harry Williamson and former space whisperer Gilli Smyth providing the backbone, Mother Gong also featured other ex-Gong members including Didier Malherbe, Daevid Allen and Mike Howlett, as well as appearances from Hawkwind's Nik Turner and Robert Calvert. Their 'Fairy Tales' LP is an excellent listen, as is the first part of their 'Robot Woman' trilogy, from which today's robot song is taken. It's a concept album about a robot housewife who seeks freedom from the daily drudgery of domestic doom. In this song she's being tended to by the Come-Quick Repair man after supposedly breaking down.


* apologies for the poor sound quality... it really is the best I could find.      

Friday, 10 October 2014

Robot : Robin Gibb

Today's robot song comes from Robin Gibb. Born on the Isle of Man, Robin and his brothers (Barry and Maurice) put their musical roots down in Manchester, Lancashire as part of a skiffle group called The Rattlesnakes when Robin was around six years of age. After emigrating to Australia in 1958, The BeeGees emerged and had their first TV appearance in 1960 when Robin was a mere eleven years old... and the rest, as they say, is history.

Taken from Robin Gibb's third solo LP titled 'Secret Agent' is Robot... it's another one of those "I'm not a robot" songs and from its initial synthesised string stabs, it reeks of the nineteen eighties. It's got a ro..ro..ro..ro..robot voice, electronic drums, funky bass, jangly guitars, over produced vocals, more synthesised string stabs and everything else that I hate about mainstream '80s pop... but this song swings in all the right directions and melds the ingredients into something rather palatable.


Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Body Electric : Rush

Rush, as most already know are a Canadian rock group with a well earned place in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. This song is from their so-called 'synth' period which (according to Wikipedia) ran from '82 until '89... and probably wasn't their 'best' period. Taken from the 1984 LP 'Grace Under Pressure' is The Body Electric... which I like a lot more than I expected to. It's a great robot song, but that's not the same as a great Rush song, as many fans will surely agree. The video is cheesy but it is a joy to watch with its futuristic setting and dated special effects... and it clearly borrows its final scene from the 70s sci-fi flick THX-1138. Shame those two sexy fembot-cops get electrocuted though   :(





Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Helpless Automaton : Men At Work

"Do you come from a land down under?" asked the Aussie one hit wonders back in 1981. To be fair, Men At Work did grace the UK charts on a couple of other occasions, but nothing paralleled the global success of Down Under or its parent LP, 'Business As Usual', from which today's robot song is taken. Helpless Automaton is a punchy piece of pop which I suspect may be a love song disguised as a robot song... or maybe it's one of those human feeling humanoid type songs? Either way it's a cracking robot song and here it is...





Tune in tomorrow for another slice of '80s robotica :)


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Synthetic Man : Rockets

Bonjour et bienvenue à une centaine et un chansons sur les robots!

Today's robot song is from the French space rockers, Rockets. Formed in 1974, the band remained active until 1986, but according to Wikipedia, they've been back together since the distant future (the year 2000). This track is taken from their 1980 LP titled 'Galaxy', and the performance is also taken from the same year. Thankfully for me, they've chosen to sing in English as opposed to their native Foreign, so without further ado... it's Rockets with Synthetic Man.






Monday, 6 October 2014

Android Attack : The Androids

I'm not sure what to say about this band because information is thin on the ground. They formed in Edinburgh in the mid seventies and according to the description on YouTube, released one single in 1981 titled Robot Riot (I doubt it's the same Robot Riot I posted back in July, but would love to hear it).

This song, Android Attack, is from 1978 and as stated in the credits on the video, this version was recorded around 1980. The details don't really matter because here on 101 Songs About robots it's all about the music. Android Attack is jumpy, punky and ticks all the boxes a good robot song should!




The song and video was uploaded to YouTube by former band member and writer of Android Attack, Craig Herbertson, so maybe, just maybe... he'll shed some light on The Androids.



Sunday, 5 October 2014

Metal Gods : Judas Priest

This'll be Judas Priest's second feature on 101 Songs About Robots... but this time it's proper 'Priest' with Rob 'bike shop' Halford on lead vocals. Taken from their iconic 1980 LP, 'British Steel' is Metal Gods: a dystopic nightmare scenario in which man's technological advances evolve into conscious beings, intent on enslaving and/or destroying mankind. You'd think the robots we create would show us a bit of gratitude... but a song about robots being humble and helpful and living harmoniously with their human creators isn't really the stuff of heavy metal. No... it's the music of death, destruction and terror, and that what we've got right here.




Saturday, 4 October 2014

Fortress Europe : Asian Dub Foundation

I first came across ADF 'back in the day' when I grabbed a copy of Naxalite on 12". It certainly stood out from the crowd with its blend of rap, punk, rock, ragga, dub, D&B and bhangra that flung the senses from pillar to post and back again. ADF emerged out of a community education organisation in Hackney, East London in the early 1990s and released their debut album in 1995, but today's song is taken from their 2003 LP titled 'Enemy of the Enemy'.

Fortress Europe isn't a song about robots, however it does reference robots in the lyrics with "robot guards patrolling the border" and "cybernetic dogs getting closer and closer", so it does pass my relatively strict vetting process for what constitutes a 'robot song'... Plus, the 'cybernetic dogs' reference makes Fortress Europe a nice linky with yesterday's robot song.

Clearly, Fortress Europe also featured on the soundtrack to the video game, N.F.S. Underground.


Friday, 3 October 2014

Robot Dog : MC Chris

I can't believe I actually forgot to post yesterday's robot song... but since I'm the only person on planet earth who's paying any attention whatsoever to this blog, I doubt anyone else noticed... or cared. It's not for you pesky humans anyway... it's to appease our future robot masters and to hopefully save me from whatever dastardly fate they have planned for humanity.

Today's robot song (which should have been yesterday's robot song) follows in the footsteps, or paw prints, of Logan Whitehurst's fabtastic Robot Cat. It's about robot-man's other best friend... Robot Dog. Penned and performred by MC Chris, the nerdcore rap-hop artist, Robot Dog is taken fom his 2004 LP 'Eating's Not Cheating'. In keeping with rap-hop tradition, there is a little bit of swearing, so pump up the volume kids... grown ups might be listening!






Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Robot Cat : Logan Whitehurst

This is undoubtedly one of my all time favourite robot songs. Robot Cat was written and performed by Logan Whitehurst, who sadly passed away in 2006 aged 'far too young'. The splendid video is fan made, which is my favourite type of video, so I'll give a big shout out to Erin Scott, Justin Scott and Drew Norris whilst raising a glass to the hugely talented Logan Whitehurst.





Tune in tomorrow for another robot song about a robot pet :)



Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Irumbile oru Irudhaiyam : A R Rahman

Today's robot song is taken from one of the most successful Indian movies of all time. Enthiran (AKA Robot, AKA Robo) was filmed in Tamil (AKA foreign) and dubbed into Hindi (also foreign) and Telugu (very foreign). The film and its soundtrack garnered worldwide critical acclaim, topped tons of charts and made sh!t loads of money.

Obviously it's a science fiction film with a plot that revolves around a scientist, his fiancée, and a robot called Chitti, whom the scientist created in his own image. Things backfire when Chitti, programmed to interpret and exhibit human emotions, falls in love with the scientist's fiancée, then, after numerous song and dance routines, tries to destroy the world too!

The film's soundtrack, by A H Rahman, features a number of robot songs, most of which will be posted in due course. I've been changing my mind on an almost daily basis as to which song I should post first, and eventually I settled on this one... Irumbile oru Irudhaiyam, from Enthiran; the Tamil version.





Monday, 29 September 2014

Metal Mickey : ITV Theme

Metal Mickey was a hugely successful British sitcom that originally aired between 1980 and 1983. However the show's success wasn't down to it being particularly funny or groundbreaking, in fact it was absolute cobblers!!!  No, the success of Metal Mickey was entirely down to there being bugger all on the other side. Produced and directed my ex-Monkee Micky Dolenz, the Metal Mickey TV show launched the career of no one... but none of that matters because here on 101 Songs About Robots, it's all about the music!

*the sound quality's a bit low on this video so you might want to turn it up a tad, or turn it down a lot ;)



I've no idea who the writing credits should go to, nor do I know who provided their vocal talents... I'd be surprised if anyone involved with the show even puts it on their CV!


Sunday, 28 September 2014

Bertha : BBC TV Theme

I remember thoroughly enjoying watching Bertha when I was younger, however on realising that it was first broadcast in 1985, I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I'll have been 15 or 16 years old at the time! Still, one is never too old to appreciate the charm of stop motion animation... that's my excuse anyway,  and I'm sticking to it!

The series was produced by Woodland Animations, narrated by Roy Kinnear, with the music and lyrics written by Bryan Daly. Bertha's theme song is sung by Guy Fletcher, who co-wrote The Hollies 1970 hit I Can't Tell The Bottom From The Top and Cliff Richard's 1973 Eurovision Song Contest entry Power To All Our Friends. But enough inane trivia, it's the song that matters, and here it is...





Saturday, 27 September 2014

Robots : Dan Mangan

Today's robo-ballad is made even more charming thanks to its wonderful video... reminiscent of those gang movies such as West Side Story, The Warriors and Colors, but with a heart warming robotic twist. Dan Mangan, I salute you. This is a perfectly realised robot song and a perfectly crafted video.





Friday, 26 September 2014

Robot Command Centre : Dark Captain Light Captain

From 2008 comes this beautiful and mellow song by Dark Captain Light Captain. You may be forgiven for believing that the main character in the video is actually a clown, but not all robots are steely skinned with castors for feet... some robots may be clad in a comedy wig, oversized tartan suit and big plastic shoes. I guess the robot reference in the title & lyrics of Robot Command Centre is a metaphorical one.




I've no idea what the song's really about, but that doesn't matter because I loves it anyway. If anyone can enlighten me, please leave a comment... and don't forget to cast your vote... and tune in tomorrow for one more robo-ballad.

 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Jed The Humanoid : Grandaddy

Grandaddy are a five piece Californian band, fronted by Jason Lytle and have been active since 1992. Today's robot song is taken from their second LP titled 'The Sophtware Slump', which was pretty much a solo project of Lytle's, recorded in the middle of nowhere, seemingly whilst incredibly drunk. Jed (the robot in the song) manages to drink himself to death, supposedly oblivious to the fact that alcohol and electronics don't mix. I guess Jed The Humanoid wasn't written whilst sober.




Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Robots : Maple Leaves

Maple Leaves hail from Glasgow and are one of the many bands which I've stumbled across whilst searching for robot songs that I'd love to hear more of. This is a great robot song with a great video to accompany it... taken from their 2012 EP titled 'Robots', it's Robots by Maple Leaves, which features a lovely bit of trumpet* towards the end. I do love a bit of brass :)




Buy the EP and hear more from Maple Leaves at mapleleaves.bandcamp.com...

...and come back tomorrow for another robo-ballad on 101 Songs About Robots.

*it could be a cornet... I'm not bright enough to know one from the other

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Machine : Regina Spektor

Today's robot song is by the kooky yet loveable Regina Spector... born in Moscow, she relocated to The Bronx, NY with her parents at the age of nine where she continued to study classical piano. Gaining recognition as part of New York's anti-folk scene, Regina Spektor self-released her first three LPs before getting a publishing deal with Sire Records in 2004. Taken from her fifth studio album 'Far' is Machine. Is it about robots or isn't it? I think so... otherwise it wouldn't be here!






Monday, 22 September 2014

Coin Operated Boy : The Dresden Dolls

It could be argued that a 'coin operated boy' is not a robot... but since a robot could be clockwork, steam or electrically powered, I reckon a coin operated boy could well be a robot. This quirky little ditty is written and performed by The Dresden Dolls: a Boston based 'dark cabaret' act, and for those of you who haven't twigged yet... it's called Coin Operated Boy.




Tune in tomorrow for another avant-garde robo-ballad.


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Robots For Ronnie : Crack The Sky

Crack The Sky are an American prog-rock band who've been recording and performing since the mid-seventies. Today's robot song, or robo-ballad is from their debut album and titled Robots For Ronnie. It's a woeful tale about a young lad who's so unpopular that he needs some robot friends, presumably programmed to like him.

Here we have Crack The Sky performing Robots For Ronnie live in someone's basement... which is American for 'cellar'.



Saturday, 20 September 2014

Robot Blues : The Incredible String Band

The Incredible String Band hail from Scotland and are arguably one of the cornerstones of psychedelic folk. Their musical style is eclectic, eccentric and often exotic, drawing from African, Arabian and Asian influences as well as from traditional folk, blues and rock. The group began as a duo in 1965 consisting of Clive Palmer and Robin Williamson. With the addition of Mike Heron they became a trio and adopted the name The Incredible String Band before recording their self titled debut LP in 1966 which won critical acclaim.

However the group disbanded shortly afterwards when two of the three members decided to embark on the hippie trail. Palmer headed for India, Williamson headed for Morocco whilst Heron remained in Edinburgh. It wasn't long before Williamson returned with an armful of exotic instruments and the group reformed as a duo, soon became a four piece band, then a six piece before splitting again in 1974 after recording their twelfth studio album. But their legacy remains and The Incredible String Band did eventually retie the knot in the late 1990s.

Today's robot song is taken from their 1970 album, simply titled 'U'. Initially, 'U' was a live stage show mixing music and pantomime with reportedly disastrous results. The 'U' album was an attempt to recoup the financial losses of the live show and was recorded in a mere 48 hours. According to Wikipedia, the 'U' album is all about Scientology, to which the band had recently converted, however the song Robot Blues is all about robots, and here it is... (or 'was' ...the video is no longer available and I can't find an alternative... sorry)




Friday, 19 September 2014

Sex Machine : My Robot Friend

This is the last of my 'parental advisory' robot songs for the time being, and the first feature of My Robot Friend on 101 Songs About Robots. Real name: Howard Rigberg is a New York based performer and producer who's debut album 'Hot Action' featured a song titled We're The Pet Shop Boys. This was later rerecorded by Robbie Williams for his 'Rudebox' album... and not surprisingly, the Pet Shop Boys themselves covered it too. But that's got nothing to do with robots... unlike Sex Machine, also from My Robot Friend's debut album:

[PARENTAL ADVISORY: SCARY LOOKIN' MAN]


I don't think that's Howard.... and I don't want to think about whether that's a sex machine or not.



Thursday, 18 September 2014

Sy Borg : Frank Zappa

It seems like ages since I've posted a robot song from the 1970s, and it's high time I posted one of several robot songs by Frank Zappa. Taken from Act II of his 1979 album 'Joe's Garage' is Sy Borg... a song which depicts a sexual encounter between album's protagonist Joe and a robot named Sy Borg, whom Joe met at the Church of Applientology. After a groovy encounter, Joe is introduced to Sy's gay room mate who goes by the name Bob, an  XQJ-37 Nuclear Powered Pan-Sexual Roto-Plooker.

[PARENTAL ADVISORY : SODOMIC LYRICS]


Tune in tomorrow for even more robo-filth!



Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Humans Are Dead : Flight of the Conchords

All the way from New Zealand on the other side of the world, and almost as famous as that other band from New Zealand, it's Flight of the Conchords with their ode to robots... The Humans Are Dead.

[PARENTAL ADVISORY : EXPLICIT-ISH LYRIC]


This song also featured on the Flight of the Conchords' TV show which, to be honest, wasn't as good as their live stuff... hence posting them performing the song live and not a clip from the TV show.



Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Half Man Half Machine : Goldie Lookin' Chain

What can I say? They're Welsh, they're wicked and without a doubt they eloquently demonstrate that swearing is both big and clever! It's Goldie Lookin' Chain with the raptastic Half Man Half Machine.

[PARENTAL ADVISORY : EXPLICIT LYRICS]


Who said all sweary robot songs were rubbish???



Monday, 15 September 2014

Robot : KRS-One & Buckshot

Woop-woop it's the sound of da police, woop-woop... is by and far KRS-One's best known tune. Here he's teamed up with fellow NY rapper Buckshot to bring us a rap about robots titled Robot and, just like Sick Symphonies, Aqua and TV On The Radio, proves that swearing is neither big nor clever.

[PARENTAL ADVISORY : EXPLICIT LYRICS]




Sunday, 14 September 2014

Fuckin' Robots : Sick Symphoniez

After TV On The Radio's very sweary Robots and Aqua's very naughty Like A Robot... you'd be forgiven for thinking that all robot songs with explicit lyrics are complete, total and utter f***ing sh!te... and after listening to this clanger, I doubt your opinion will change much. If anything, this track just makes the previous two robot songs sound better... this is rap with a capital C.

[PARENTAL ADVISORY : EXPLICIT LYRICS]


To quote the immortal words of Yazz... the only way is up!



Saturday, 13 September 2014

Like A Robot : Aqua

Back in '97 I had a bit of a guilty soft spot for Aqua's breakthrough single Barbie Girl. It was a cheesy chunk of teeny-bop-pop that had it's tongue firmly in it's cheek. At the time I was fairly sure that Barbie Girl would be their only good song... but I suppose the fact that Aqua went on to be one of Denmark's most successful bands proves me wrong. Saying that, every Aqua song I've heard since Barbie Girl has been utter pants (in my humble opinion), and this is no exception. From their 2011 album 'Megalomania', featuring a sweary lyric, it's Like A Robot.

[PARENTAL ADVISORY : EXPLICIT LYRICS]


Tune in tomorrow for even more bad language!



Friday, 12 September 2014

Robots : TV On The Radio

Since my PC has decided to spend more time malfunctioning than doing owt else, I'm posting once again from my painfully slow lap top.

After so many children's songs about robots, it's high time we had some swearing.... so Parental Advisory, Explicit Lyrics and all that... it's yet another song simply titled Robots, this time from Brooklyn band TV On The Radio.

[PARENTAL ADVISORY : EXPLICIT LYRICS]



Thursday, 11 September 2014

We Are The Robots : Enon

This is the last of this chunk of robot songs for children, and once again it's taken from the kid's TV show Yo Gabba Gabba. Performed by Enon, it's We Are The Robots.




Tomorrow I'll be focusing on robot songs for grown ups... which may require a little parental advisory!


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Robo Dancing : Money Mark

Today's robot song is called Robo Dancing... and yes, it's another one for the kidbots.



OK, it's not the best robot song ever, and it's not even that great for children's music... but this is Money Mark! Yes, the same guy whose worked with The Beastie Boys, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Linkin Park and many more. Not only that, but this performance is from the kid's TV show Yo Gabba Gabba, co-created by The Aquabats frontman and superhero Christian Jacobs!!

Over the years Yo Gabba Gabba has featured a host of artists including Ladytron, The Killers, Jimmy Eat World, The Aquabats, Devo, My Chemical Romance, Weezer, MGMT, Jack Black, The Flaming Lips, The Ting Tings, Weird Al Yankovic, Peter, Bjorn & John, to name but a few... it's a shame they all didn't sing songs about robots.



Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Clean Up Robot : Mark D. Pencil

Those of you who aren't fortunate enough to be in possession of an actual clean up robot can compromise by simply getting one or more of your kids to fill the role. For best results, start training them from a young age to ensure that the concept of cleaning is fun is fully instilled in their tiny ignorant minds long before they realise that it's a tiresome and tedious chore. When done properly, your little darlings will not only clean up after themselves but will happily clean up after you and your friends too.

Children may be more expensive than most domestic appliances, but they take up much less space. A well trained child can work for many years with a little daily nourishment and provide regular respite from the humdrum of housework for parents and guardians. Professional child programmer Mark D Pencil has created a wide range of applications in audio format, and has kindly provided today's robot song. Taken from 'Leaning With Hip-Hop' is Clean Up Robot: a child friendly application that is invaluable to both parents and teachers, and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that fealty and fidelity can be fun.




Of course that's just a two minute taster... the full ten hour version is available on Amazon and iTunes.



Monday, 8 September 2014

Robot No.1 : Hi-5

Hi-5 are primarily an Australian children's music group who front a TV show of the same name. The success and popularity of Hi-5 resulted in American and UK versions of the group and show, but all credits have to go to the Aussies. Originally broadcast in the distant future (the year 2000) on an episode themed around machines is Robot No.1 ...but this video is from a 2011 remake.




It's great to see so many youngsters being programmed prepared for life in a world controlled by robots.


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Robot : The Baby Grands

American band The Baby Grands have released two children's albums to date. The first, imaginatively titled 'The Baby Grands' came out in 2008, but its their second album, 'The Baby Grands II', from which today's kid's song about robots is taken.... it's called Robot by the way :)





Saturday, 6 September 2014

Robot Parade : They Might Be Giants

After Giant. Robot. Babies!, it only seems right to post some kid's music to keep the little sodbots entertained. Taken from the first of several LPs aimed specifically at children is Robot Parade by Brooklyn's They Might Be Giants.





I was planning on posting a chunk of shouty robot punk songs this week, but maybe a few more robot songs for the kids is in order. Stay tuned for tomorrow's exciting robot song... and don't forget to vote!



Friday, 5 September 2014

Giant. Robot. Babies! : Nice Peter

Nice Peter (AKA Peter Shukoff) is probably best known for his series of Epic Rap Battles of History which saw Darth Vader versus Hitler, Beiber battled Beethoven and Christopher Columbus went nose to nose (or mic to mic) with Captain James T Kirk... but that's got nothing to do with today's robot song.

Putting Mr Roboto and Mrs Robota in such close proximity can only lead to one thing...

Giant. Robot. Babies!





Thursday, 4 September 2014

Mrs. Robota : Modern Talking

It only seems fair to put Mrs Robota next to Mr Roboto in this blog, and like Chicago's Styx, Germany's Modern Talking barely scratched the UK charts whilst having hit after hit in many other countries. I'd have put money on this being another robot song from the '80s, but it's actually from their 2002 album 'Victory'... maybe they slept through the '90s and hadn't realised that things had moved on a bit.





Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Mr. Roboto : Styx

Mr Roboto is included on most top X robot song lists... which is why I've waited so long to post it. From their 1983 concept album, 'Kilroy Was Here', Mr. Roboto reached number 3 in the US charts, number 1 in Canada and suffered a disappointing peak at number 90 here in the UK :( . Admittedly there was a lot of strong competition in '83... but when the likes of Rod (are you dead yet?) Stewart gets to number 1, Mike (boring) Oldfield reaches to number 4 and Tina (bloody) Turner peaks at number 6, I think we should hang our heads in shame that this classic robot song barely broke into the UKs top 100.

Here it is, in all its glory, the shamefully underrated Mr. Roboto by Styx.



In an attempt to make up for our collective failings, I urge all UK residents to throw this song at least a three star vote!


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Dirty Robots : Adam Buxton

Adam Buxton, AKA Dr Buckles, Captain Buckles, The Buckmeister or my favourite, the Bearded Baby Man Thing, along with his pal Joe Cornish, AKA Cornballs, used to make Saturday mornings worth getting out of bed for. With regular features including Text The Nation and Song Wars, from which today's song about robots is taken, Adam & Joe gave the British public three hours of whit and wisdom until their weekly BBC 6 Music radio show sadly ended when Cornballs got himself a proper job.

I think this song was penned in 2008 after Adam & Joe were set the challenge of writing a song on the theme of family friendly erotica. Cornballs gave us the wonderful Dr Sexy, which isn't about robots and Buckles gave us Dirty Robots, which I think you'll find is about robots... It didn't take long for one of their loyal fans to bodge a video together and upload the song to YouTube, and here it is... Adam Buxton's Dirty Robots, complete with its (slightly disturbing in places) fan made video.



I might have to cobble a new video together because Adam 'Buckles' Buxton deserves better than this.


Monday, 1 September 2014

Dirty Robot : Arling & Cameron

Arling & Cameron (AKA A&C) are a Dutch electronic music duo with influences ranging from kitsch to lounge, and everything in between! This isn't their greatest release, but it is about a robot... and a dirty one at that. Here's a fan-made video for Dirty Robot which is better than a picture of the CD sleeve.



As a point of trivia, The Lemonheads did a rather pointless cover of Dirty Robot... pointless because it sounds almost identical to A&C's original, apart from the fact they've got Kate Moss guesting on vocals. I won't bother including that here, but if you're feeling masochistic it is on YouTube.


Sunday, 31 August 2014

My Sexy Robot : Black Nylon Corporation

I know virtually nothing about this Spanish disco funk act apart from the fact that they're called Black Nylon Corporation and have so far released one single titled My Sexy Robot. Written, performed and produced by one Carlo Coupé and recorded in 2013, this ode to automaton rumpy-pumpy sparkles in every direction... and really is one for all those lovers down there in the dark.




Whilst devouring that slice of easy funk cake, I've discovered that Carlo Coupé has also released two albums titled 'Estereo Espectacular' (2000) and 'Mis Balas Llevan Tu Nombre' (2002), as well as being one half of the duet Penelope Y Carlo, who released the album 'Musica Para Un Guateque Sideral' in 1999... so it appears that Black Nylon Corporation is just the latest project from Carlo Coupé: real name Jesús Trujilo (the bloke with the 'tash), and My Sexy Robot is the first of hopefully many more releases.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Robot Love : Mayer Hawthorne

I should really be saving this for Valentine's Day, but that's months away so I'm posting it today. From California's Mayer Hawthorne is Robot Love, which to me fits in quite well with my last two posts, and with the robot song I've got lined up for tomorrow. It's not the world's greatest robot song, but it is on topic and that's the main thing.



Don't forget to vote. Leave a comment if you can be bothered and let me know of any robot songs you think should be featured on 101 Songs About Robots.


Friday, 29 August 2014

Sexy Robot : The She Creatures

Since returning to their home planet, little has been heard from these vivacious yet vindictive and reportedly violent vixens. It has been suggested that The She Creatures may be plotting the second wave of their invasion of Earth, but that is little more than a rumour. The sleepy backwater village of Bristol in the sleepy backwater country of England witnessed the first wave of their invasion and its inhabitants recall the sheer power of their sonic onslaught all too well... but like anyone who's witnessed the terror of an extra-terrestrial attack, they'd rather not talk about it.

It should come as no surprise that any news of their first invasion was suppressed by both the media and government. It is only through chance that I stumbled across a few burnt fragments of a highly classified document which revealed The She Creatures to be an invasion force from Venus, possibly on a scouting mission. Witness statements testify that any human male who came into contact with the seductive Princess Slayer, the ravishing Nancy Raygun, the enchanting Haley Comet or the irresistible Elektra Static were captivated then appropriated, plasticised and mechanised, intoxicated then automated, subjugated and allocated before being transported to the planet Venus in a space rocket.  For what purpose? We can only guess.

This leaked video footage demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt just what the terrifying She Creatures are capable of... watch and learn, for they may return!





Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Amazing Robot Girlfriend : Rhett & Link

Enough of these robots going on and on and on about exacting their revenge on humanity and how lonely they are or how they dance like robots (quelle surprise!) or exactly how floppy or hard their peripheral components may or may not be... what we need is a human perspective.




Rhett and Link are one of those newfangled internetertainer duos, in that they entertain via the internet and bizarrely, seem to make a living from it whilst keeping their clothes on! They have what some would call a dream job... make a silly video, watch it go viral and earn sh!t loads from the online advertising. The only thing I've had go viral is only ever mentioned in hushed tones as I pick up my prescription at the chemists.


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Robot Revenge : Ugress

Wrapping up this chunk of robot songs with robot voices is Robot Revenge by Ugress; a Norwegian maestro of electronica with a back catalogue dating back to the distant future (the year 2000). Robot Revenge is taken from the third instalment of his 2011 'Planet U' project titled Wulfhoken Spaceport Affairs, and does everything a good robot song should do... it bleeps, creaks, clunks, clangs and bangs like a bullbot in a china shop.




Robot Revenge, along with the entire 'Planet U' series of EPs can be downloaded for free* from the Ugress website.

*in exchange for your flesh, limbs & internal organs for the creation of our cyborg army at some point in the near or distant future.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Robot Sings (as if...) : Buffalo Daughter

Although I've had this track for many years, I've never bothered finding anything out about the artist... until now. Buffalo Daughter are a Japanese trio who's music I'll attempt to describe as easy electronica with acoustic undertones. Others may describe it as synth-pop and save about twelve syllables... Why didn't I think of that? And talking about syllables, the full title of today's robot song is Robot Sings (as if he were Frank Sinatra with a half-boiled egg and the salt shaker on a breakfast table), which makes it the longest robot song title I've ever seen. Taken from their 2001 LP 'I', Robot Sings (...) isn't so much a song about robots, it's a song by robots! Cybernetic Japanese Robots!! 




There's a curious sound at around three minutes ten seconds in that suggests a good strong coffee goes right through both synthetic and organic lifeforms.

Monday, 25 August 2014

14 Zero Zero : Console

There seems to be a theme within a theme going on on 101 Songs About Robots. Over the last few days I've posted The Mechanical Man from the 1960s, The Robots from the '70s, R.O.B.O.T. and Cyborg Dance from the '80s... so today, it only seems right to post a robot song with a robotic voice from the 1990s... and it's not been easy!  Songs about robots seem to be a bit thin on the ground in the '90s, and those I have don't feature a good robotic voice, so I've spent the morning scouring the interweb to find one, and found one I have.

Console is a one man band fronted (and backed) by Martin Gretschmann; a prolific programmer who's also part of the German indie-electronica band The Notwist. He's worked on five albums with The Notwist and has released a further twelve albums as Console, as well as collaborating with a heap of other artists. Taken from the 1999 re-issue of his 1998 LP 'Rocket in the Pocket' is 14 Zero Zero.




I dunno about you lot but I'll certainly be checking out the rest of Console's output.


Sunday, 24 August 2014

Cyborg Dance : Newcleus

Sticking with a robot-voice theme, this excellent slice of electro from Brooklyn's Newcleus pushes all the necessary buttons. Taken from their sophomore LP 'Space is the Place' (1985) and B-side to the single release of the title track is Cyborg Dance... and I'm sure the cyborgs danced!




Best described as space-hop, Newcleus only really released two LPs with much of their post '85 output being company produced compilation and remix LPs released under the Newcleus banner. Fortunately their 1st album 'Jam on Revenge' (1984) features tracks titled Auto Man and I'm Not A Robot, so you can be fairly certain that this isn't the last you'll hear from Newcleus on 101 Songs About Robots.


Saturday, 23 August 2014

R.O.B.O.T. : David Zed

This is David Zed's second feature on 101 Songs About Robots, and coincidentally his second single, released in 1980, it's R.O.B.O.T.

[note] None of the YouTube videos for R.O.B.O.T. have decent audio, so you might want to whack the volume up a tad.


Since Mr Zed was a bit of a one trick pony, his next two singles, Balla Robot (1980) and Ballarobot (1983) will be posted in due course... [click here] for David Zed's first single, I Am A Robot.


Friday, 22 August 2014

The Mechanical Man : Bent Bolt & The Nuts

One may be forgiven for believing that Kraftwerk pioneered the whole robot-voice-singy thing... but you'd be wrong. In an interview with Look-In magazine, Kraftwerk's Ralph Hutter said "Ich lieh alle meine ideen von Bent Bolt, vor allem die roboter-stimme, aber bitte erzähle niemandem oder ich würde für plagiate verklagt werden" ...so there you have it, no Bent Bolt = no Kraftwerk!

But how on earth did Bent Bolt manage to sound so robotic in the mid sixties? Well there's three possible explanations. 1. He used a vocoder. 2. He's a robot. 3. He used a vocal technique called overtone singing. Even the real identity of Bent Bolt is a bit of a mystery. Some say he's one Teddy Randazzo, others suspect it may actually be Popeye (the sailor). I guess we'll never know the truth about Bent Bolt, but what we do have is the legacy. Before 1966 there was only a small handful of robot songs, none of which featured a real robot voice (as far as I know anyway), but since that year there's been hundreds of robot songs and robot singing. It could be argued that this is the first real robot song, but it does have The Tin Man's If I Only Had A Heart to contend with. From 1966, it's Bent Bolt & The Nuts with The Mechanical Man.




Get in touch know if you know of any older robot songs... I'd love to hear some from the 40s and 50s.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Robots : Kraftwerk

After yesterday's disaster of a robot song, it's high time I let the Germans demonstrate how to do 'it' properly. What can I say about this seminal robot song that you won't already know?  It's one of the greatest and best known robots songs of all time... and space. The Robots was originally released Kraftwerk's 1978 LP 'The Man Machine', but this version is from their 1991 LP 'The Mix'.






Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Robots : Kate Ryan

This one's a brand new find... and it's got to be a new low in robot songs. It's so poor I'm not sure why I'm posting it... I think I'm in shock. Kate Ryan, whoever you are... please just stop!   This pile of $#!t£ makes Johnny Walsh's Girl Machine sound good, and that's saying something!!  Europoptrash at its worst, from 2012, it's Kate Ryan with Robots.




I for one do not intend to ever click 'play' on this clanger again... the only way is up!


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Robot Song : The Radioactive Grandma

From County Cavan in the Irish border region is The Radioactive Grandma; a threesome of lads who play guitars and bang on a box and sing songs and most importantly of all... sing a song about a robot!  If you like their Robot Song, have a listen to the rest of their début album and maybe even buy it!  The album sounds great and I get the feeling these guys sound even better live, so if they're playing anywhere near you, go and have a look and a listen... and guys, if you're playing anywhere near me... let me know!

So here it is, track number five on their self titled 2012 début album, Robot Song by The Radioactive Grandma... they even made a video for Robot Song which is nothing short of utterly charming.




If any song deserves a place in the top 101 songs about robots, it's this one... I've cast my vote*, have you cast yours?

*let me know via the comments if you can't see the voting widget, and let me know which browser you're using... I know it doesn't appear on my Android phone, and I understand some IE users aren't seeing it either... which suggests that some people still use IE :o

Monday, 18 August 2014

Monsieur le Robot : Les Lutins

Les Lutins hail from Canada, so why they feel the need to sing in foreign I've no idea... what's wrong with the Queen's English eh?! Canada is part of the Commonwealth after all.  I can only assume that the swinging sixties swung so much in Canada that Les Lutins forgot which language they spoke and just made up a new one on the fly. I'm joking of course, but I know so little about this band I don't know what else to say. From Quebec, Canada, singing in foreign on their 1968 single, it's Les Lutins with Monsieur le Robot.





Sunday, 17 August 2014

I Love You (Miss Robot) : Buggles

First off, I just want to pull up Wikipedia for it's repeated inaccuracy regarding the name of this band...
it's Buggles, not The Buggles, just Buggles.  If you don't believe me, here's the covers to their singles:


Now we've got that little bugbear cleared up, on with today's post. Buggles formed in 1977 and are probably best known for their 1979 début single Video Killed The Radio Star which, for those of you who didn't know, was the UK's 444th number one single (according to Wikipedia, who can't even get the band's name correct!). But enough about Video..., because that song ain't about robots, and according to Geoff Downes, neither is I Love You (Miss Robot). In a Smash Hits interview, Downes reportedly stated that the song is really about being on the road and making love to someone you don't really like, while all the time you're wanting to phone someone who's a long way off.  Maybe he was getting I Love You (Miss Robot) mixed up with one of the whimsical dirges he was saving for Asia, but we'll never know. Anyhoo, in spite of Downes denying the obvious robotic theme, here it is, from the 1980 LP 'The Age of Plastic', I Love You (Miss Robot) by Buggles... not The Buggles, just Buggles.





Stay tuned for even more songs about robots from top pop acts including The Kraftwerk, The Royksopp, The Goldie Lookin' Chain, The Modern Talking and the many more...

...and don't forget to cast your vote!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Sad Robot : Pornophonique

Like a version of Simon & Garfunkel from the distant future, Pornophonique consist of a guitar playing singer and a Nintendo Gameboy button pressing bloke on a stool. From Germany and thankfully singing in the universal language of both robots and humans (English, of the British not US variety), Pornophonique formed in 2003 and after finding their feet, their fan-base and international success releasing their music for free on the interweb released their first LP in 2007 (what?... you expect us to pay for this stuff all of a sudden?!).

Taken from their first LP: 8-Bit Lagerfleuer, (trans: campfire) is Sad Robot... a charming and jaunty number about a er... well... the title says it all.





Pornophonique still appear to be active and do have a website at www.pornophonique.de. But before you pop off elsewhere on the interweb, don't forget to cast your vote on this, or any other songs about robots :)


Friday, 15 August 2014

Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots - part one : The Flaming Lips

So it'll be about 2002, maybe 2003 and there I am sat on my sofa listening to The Flaming Lips when all of a sudden I think of the title for an imaginary compilation or mix tape... and that title was 101 Songs About Robots!   Here I am over a decade later, finally doing something with all those songs I sourced and I reckon it's about time I posted thee song that inspired me... from 2002, it's The Flaming Lips with Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots: part one.




Of course I'll also be posting One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21 from the same album... but I still haven't posted any Kraftwerk or Buggles or Styx or Frank Zappa or Miley Cyrus yet... WTF! :P


Thursday, 14 August 2014

Still Alive : GLaDOS

I've never been very good at these newfangled video game thingamajigs... even as a kid I couldn't really summon even the most basic level of hand/eye co-ordination to get beyond the first few levels of any game, no matter how basic its game play. Shame really as I love the idea of them, especially Portal, from which today's robot song is taken. If I was adept at video games, I'd have a bash at Portal. I imagine that after completing level after level of ever increasing difficulty, I'd eventually be rewarded with this beautiful yet haunting song by GLaDOS, the main antagonist in the game's storyline. But since I'm totally & utterly pants at video games, I'll not bother trying and take the easy route* to hearing Still Alive.

*the 'easy route' is clicking play by the way :)


Still Alive is written by Jonathan Coulton and this is his first feature on 101 Songs About Robots... but it certainly won't be his last.


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Giant Robot-Birdhead : The Aquabats

This has got to be one of my favourite robot songs to date. I'd have never heard of The Aquabats if I hadn't started scouring the interweb for songs about robots, and I'm glad I did. When they're not saving the world from a horde of evil foes, they're singing about saving the world from a horde of evil foes... and even their songs which aren't about robots are mostly excellent and I wholeheartedly recommend the rest of their catalogue. Formed in 1994 and still going strong, The Aquabats recorded Giant Robot-Birdhead in 1999 for their third album: The Aquabats vs. The Floating Eye of Death.






Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Robot : t.A.T.u.

Here's one by the Muscovite faux-lesbots t.A.T.u. From their 2001 début album and rolling their Rs better than anyone I've ever heard, it's Robot.   Let's all have a sing along!




Monday, 11 August 2014

Robot Man : Scorpions

Another one from the 1970s today, 1975 to be pacific. Scorpions formed in Germany in 1965 and released their first album in 1972. From humble beginnings as a gigging beat group, Scorpions went to enjoy global success as one of the world's biggest heavy rock bands and gained themselves a fan base that spanned both the Atlantic and Specific oceans. Possibly inspired by Black Sabbath's Iron Bloke is Robot Man from the Scorpions' third LP 'In Trance'... and no, it's not a Connie Francis cover.




Sunday, 10 August 2014

Are Friends Electric? : Tubeway Army

I'm having problems with my main PC again so I'm posting from my painfully slow and positively ancient laptop. It's so shoddy that it won't play video, nor does it have any sound... but it'll just about get me online to add today's song about a robot.

More machine than man, Gary Numan fronted the post-punk synth-pop pioneers Tubeway Army before going solo. In an interview, Gary stated that this song is set in a future world where 'friends' can be purchased in much the same way that one buys a toaster, and as the song states, his 'friend' has broken down and he's left with no one to love. Some people may deny that this song is about robots, but I reckon it's bang on topic. From 1979, I present Tubeway Army's Are Friends Electric?.

 



Saturday, 9 August 2014

Automatic Lover : Dee D. Jackson

With a career that spawned fourteen singles, four albums and spanned over thirty years, Dee D. Jackson only really had one hit single in the UK. She's been a film producer, worked with a myriad of other artists and producers including the hugely influential Giorgio Moroder and written songs for no one I've ever heard of... but who cares about that?  All I'm bothered about is her robot song, which incidentally is also her only significant UK hit single, Automatic Lover from 1978, and looking at the robot in the video, it's no wonder she was smitten.



I guess it's best described as a crap song with a good chorus... and a cracking robot of course!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Bionic Skillz : Bassi Maestro

Here's another of those songs that leaves me wishing I'd paid a bit more attention at school... if I'd listened in language class I'd have a much better understanding of Foreign. I'd be able to tell you all about Bassi Maestro's Bionic Skillz. I'd talk endlessly about its themes and perspectives, its setting, how it offers a critique on contemporary culture as so many robot songs do... but I can't because it's foreign.



What can I say? Foreign rap-hop at it's most average... it does get better... honest :)


Thursday, 7 August 2014

We Are The Robot Pirates : Songs To Wear Pants To

I may only be 31 songs in, but this has got to be in the top three so far.
Robot songs don't get much better than this. Pirate songs don't get much better than this.
Robot Pirate songs don't get better than this... and that's a factoid!




...told you!

We Are The Robot Pirates is a song by Andrew Huang who seems (or seemed) to go by the name Songs To Wear Pants To. I don't know about you but this song makes me grin from ear to ear for approximately two minutes and forty-odd seconds, then I play it again and grin some more :D. I must confess I don't know anything about the artist, but there is a website so you can find out for yourselves (and buy the download) at songstowearpantsto.com... but before you go, cast a vote to ensure We Are The Robot Pirates gets a well deserved place in the top 101 Songs About Robots.  

[edit] I've found an alternate video for We Are The Robot Pirates on YouTube, which is pants in comparison the the video featured above... however the sound quality is so much better, here it is:




Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Iron Man : Black Sabbath

Iron Man first featured on Black Sabbath's second LP 'Paranoid' (1970), and was released as a 7" single in 1971.   It's questionable whether iron man is an actual robot, or just an iron bloke... and for any youngsters out there, it's got nothing to do with the Marvel character in the recent movie franchise. I may be called a heathen by some, but I'm not going to post the original Black Sabbath version of Iron Man (sorry)... instead I'm posting the version by Ozzy Osbourne & Therapy?, taken from the album 'Nativity in Black': A Tribute to Black Sabbath.







Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Machine Man : Judas Priest

Are you ready to rock!? Are you ready to robot rock?!?  No it's not Daft Punk with their repetitive two word ode to robots, it's the devil worshipping, middle America bothering Judas Priest with Machine Man featuring Tim 'Ripper' Owens on vocals.



The Judas Priest track I really really wanted to post is Electric Eye from 1982 and featuring the far superior Rob Halford on vocals (who apparently left the band to start a chain of shops selling car parts and cheap bicycles). But the question of 'what exactly constitutes a robot' had to be asked and since Electric Eye is actually about a spy satellite, admittedly a self conscious one, I'm not sure whether it belongs on 101 Songs About Robots or not... so would a self aware satellite with an unblinking eye, armed with lasers and orbiting the earth be classed as a robot?

Robot: [rəʊbɒt]
  1. A machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, especially one programmable by a computer: "half of all American robots are making cars or trucks"
  2. (Especially in science fiction) a machine resembling a human being and able to replicate certain human movements and functions automatically: "the robot closed the door behind us"
  3. A person who behaves in a mechanical or unemotional manner: "public servants are not expected to be mindless robots"
Well there's three definitions from the OED... and after a quick look at the lyrics for Machine Man, I reckon Electric Eye is more on topic than today's post, even if it is about a satellite (most of which look like R2-D2 with additional solar wings anyway)... so I guess I'll have to include it at some point soon.

 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Marvin I Love You : Marvin The Paranoid Android

Alongside a fruitful yet ultimately depressing career in TV and Radio, Marvin the Paranoid Android also had a thoroughly fruitless stint as a pop-performer which depressed almost everyone. There's a time and a place for novelty songs but there's no time and no place for this clanger (except here of course!). Taken from Marvin's 2nd single, 'The Double B-Side' is Marvin I Love You, which features Kim Wong-O'Brien as the voice of a love letter found deep in Marvin's data banks. Being a B-side to a B-side, I hope your expectations are suitably low...



There are three further songs recorded by Marvin The Paranoid Android, namely Marvin, Metal Man and Reasons to be Miserable, which may well be posted here on 101 Songs About Robots the next time I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel.


Sunday, 3 August 2014

The Robot Song : Nancy Kepner

Today's song about robots comes from the amorous, humorous & roboticus Nancy Kepner. Yes I know I still haven't posted any Kraftwerk or Flaming Lips, but there's plenty of time to post the robot songs everyone knows. For the time being, I'm going to continue rooting out the lesser known robot songs because it's a lot more fun and more often than not... they're better!

Whilst many robot songs tend to be a nightmare vision set in a dark future, Nancy gives us an altogether more positive scenario. Robots are not our enemies. They are not the destructor of civilisation. They are not a problem that needs solving... in fact they are the solution to all of our problems, as Nancy so eloquently explains...




According to a reliable source, robot beings will rule the world in the distant future, and I intend to appease our robot masters with my blog in their honour... so I'd better be careful what I say.
Hail Robots... (especially if they have a great big gigantic machine gun) ...your wish is my command!

What's that robot master? You want another robot song posting tomorrow? It shall be done... but I can't promise that it'll be better than The Robot Song by the wonderful and possibly inimitable Nancy Kepner.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Cyborg 009 : Italian Anime Theme

I've no idea who's performing this theme song, nor am I entirely certain which particular version of Cyborg 009 it's from, apart from the fact it's from the Italian airing. According to wikipedia, Cyborg 009 first aired in 1966, but this theme sounds more recent than that. The 1979/1980 anime TV series was popular in Italy, so it could be the theme from that, or possibly from a 1980 movie version of the series. There was also another remake of the TV series in 2001, and another film in 2012, and with little information to go on, I'm not sure what the actual year of this theme song should be. I'm guessing 1979 or 1980, but it could well be from 2001*... if anyone can shed light on this, I'd be grateful.

Anyway, enough of my inane ramblings, here's the song...





*from the info on Wikipedia and from what i can gather from the title sequence in the video, it is from 2001... but I've still no idea who the artist is. Clearly I need all the help I can get, so please don't be shy :)


Friday, 1 August 2014

Girl Machine : Johnny Walsh

25 posts and still no Kraftwerk! Not even any Gary Numan!! There's plenty of  'top X robot songs'  lists available online, but the majority tend to feature the same handful of songs about robots that everyone knows, plus a bundle of songs that aren't about robots yet feature robots in the video. Sorry people but a robot in a music video isn't enough to qualify, so the rap-tastic Intergalactic by The Beastie Boys won't be featured here. But what about Kraftwerk?   There's plenty of time to post the robot songs everyone knows and loves, so for the time being, I'm going to continue routing under the radar to bring you the lesser known robots songs.

Written as the male response to Connie Francis' Robot Man is Johnny Walsh's Girl Machine from 1961.




I don't know about you but I'll give that a '2' for effort.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Robot Man : Connie Francis

Olden goldies, golden oldies, olden goolies... whatever you want to call them, they take some beating! This B-side from Connie Francis' 1960 single Mama went down well with fans, but Robot Man didn't go down quite so well with the singer. In an interview Connie Francis is quoted as saying:
I thought it was the dumbest song I ever recorded. [sings] "I'd just have to wind him with a Robot key ... I'd have a steady date seven nights a week, and he would never cheat, 'cause it would be impossible for him to see." ...What a dumb song!
It is kind of dumb but most pop music is, and Stupid Cupid can hardly claim the intellectual high ground here. Like it or not, Robot Man evokes a number of 1950s clichés, from doe eyed girls in voluminous petticoats to those menacing yet maudlin movie robots. It could do without the squawking backing singers, but maybe they too are part of Robot Man's charm.


This is not to be confused with Robot Man by the Scorpions, or Robot Man by The Aliens, or even Robot Man by The Vindictives (which is a Scorpions cover). The Gymslips did however do a cover of Connie Francis' Robot Man, and the song also features in the comedy/musical, or 'comical'... (no that doesn't work) ... the musical comedy, Return to the Forbidden Planet.  I think Robot Man is an absolute cracker of a robot song. But what about you lot?  Leave a comment and/or cast your vote to secure or deny Robot Man a place in the top 101 Songs About Robots.


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

I'm Seein' Robots : Kool Keith

There's a bit of a pattern going on here (apart from the obvious one)... Jerry Butler attempts to sweet talk a lover by proposing to be her mechanical man if she simply 'turns him on' (ooh yeah baby), David Zed seems convinced that he is a robot, Marina Diamandis makes it perfectly clear that she isn't a robot, and Sheila Ward claims she owns a robot, so it should come as no surprise that Kool Keith appears to be seeing robots... passing him by, everyday!



I'm Seein' Robots is taken from the 1999 LP 'Lost in Space' and the first to be recorded under the alias Black Elvis... however it didn't perform too well and Keith blamed this on his label not being pro-active enough in promoting the album. Maybe if he'd chosen not to adopt the wank-tastic 'Black Elvis' alias, things might have been better. After all he could have chosen one of his many other aliases which include Dr Octagon, Dr Dooom, Dr Ultra or maybe even Poppa Large... or just stuck with Kool Keith, a name that in my mind, fits his talent and lyrical prowess perfectly.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

I've Got A Robot : Sheila Margaret Ward

Whilst David Zed thinks he is a robot and Marina Diamandis is certain she's not a robot, Sheila Margaret Ward has got a robot, and she's making a real song and dance about it!  A cracking little song here, perfect for kids of all ages (even my age) and an essential addition to any robot party playlist.




I'm going by the details on YouTube to put a year to this song, but Sheila, please correct me if I'm wrong.  :)

Monday, 28 July 2014

I Am Not A Robot : Marina & The Diamonds

Whilst David Zed seems pretty damn certain that he is a robot, Marina Diamandis appears to be fairly confident that she's not a robot. Better known under the moniker Marina and the Diamonds, this Welsh singer/songwriter first released the video for I Am Not A Robot on YouTube in 2009, followed by the official single release in early 2010 where it peaked at number 26 in the UK singles chart. My only problem with this song is that it repeatedly states 'I am not a robot' which makes me wonder if it qualifies for 101 Songs About Robots at all... either way, here it is.





Sunday, 27 July 2014

I Am A Robot : David Zed

Full time mime artist, part time pop star Davis Zed was something of a one trick pony. Possibly inspired by Carl Douglas' fruitful career performing kung-fu themed songs, David Zed's first single I am a Robot was released in 1980. This was closely followed by his second single, R.O.B.O.T. and his third, Balla Robot, both also released in 1980. One could argue that he over did it a tad, but it was 1980 and being the year the future began, robots were common place. David's fourth single came in 1983, titled Ballarobot is not to be confused with 1980's Balla Robot, which is two words, not one, and therefore is obviously a completely different song... OK, it is the same song... but this was clearly re-recorded after he'd read the instruction manuals for his synthesisers and vocoder (a task which seemingly took three years). I've no idea why I'm waffling on about Balla Robot because today we're going to listen to David Zed's first single, I am a Robot.



Thankfully yesterday's traumatic panic over my hard drive has resolved itself. Typical machine.. after hours of stress trying to suss out what was wrong, it just decided to start working again and won't even give me the credit for fixing it.

And just in case you're wondering...
David Zed's other robot songs will be posted here on 101 Songs About Robots before too long.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

I'm Your Mechanical Man : Jerry Butler

I think I must have invoked Sod's Law in yesterday's post because I seem to have suffered another hard drive failure on my PC, so I'm posting from an ancient laptop and it's painfully slow... so I'll keep it brief.

Today's robot song comes from Jerry Butler. Never heard of him? Neither had I until I started searching for robot songs... and I'm glad I did. He delivers a classic 70s smooth funk groove in his awesome I'm Your Mechanical Man.


I'll sort out the labels and stuff when I'm on a more responsive machine... some days I hate technology.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Everyday Robots : Damon Albarn

When I started thinking about making a compilation titled 101 Songs About Robots, I could think of maybe ten or twelve robot themed songs that included Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by the Flaming Lips, Robot by Hawkwind, The Robots & Man Machine by Kraftwerk, Sy-Borg by Frank Zappa, a handful of songs from Mother Gong's Robot Woman trilogy, Goldie Lookin' Chain's rap-tastic Half Man, Half Machine and of course Black Sabbath's Iron Man.

Then after a lot of digging and searching on Soulseek the list grew to over 250 tracks, but once I'd whittled out the instrumentals (I, Robot - Alan Parsons), the tenuous (Electric Youth - Debbie Gibson) and the songs with a robotesque title but nothing in the lyrics to back it up (Bionic - Placebo)... my big list was quickly whittled down to about 60-70 songs about robots. I'd occasionally do a new search to try to unearth another song or two about robots and each search usually did unearth something... but I still felt I was a long way from my target of 101 'good' songs about robots.

After a couple of years in the doldrums and a catastrophic hard drive failure, the project was well and truly on the back burner. Then I heard Damon Albarn's beautiful and haunting Everyday Robots on the radio earlier this year and was inspired to reboot my search. I only expected to dig up another two or three tracks worthy of inclusion, when all of a sudden my list went from around 75-80 half decent songs about robots back to around the 200 mark in the space of a couple of days! Only this time the list was bang on topic with no instrumentals and nothing too tenuous.  This left me wondering how I was going to whittle the list down to 101 songs about robots as I now have more than enough, and searching the likes of Grooveshark the list is only getting larger.

That's when I decided to do a blog instead of a personal compilation. Not only does this give me an online archive in case I suffer another hard drive failure, but also means others can listen to the archive, rate each song and send me their own suggestions via the comments. I've no plans of stopping when I've posted 101 songs about robots as this is going to be a huge ever growing pulsating blog that rules from the centre of the roboverse!   "But what about the music!?" you may shout. Well, today it's the song that rekindled my love of robot songs: Damon Albarn's Everyday Robots... Mr Albarn, I thank you.