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...

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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.