Robot Rock
February 20, 2006 10:42 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for a robot themed song...

My roommate has had a minor wrist surgery. Right now he is laying on the couch feeling ill and I want to cheer him up. I am making a ytmnd-style collage, with him & his fixed bionic wrist (He's studying mechanical engineering). Can you recommend any robot/bionic themed song, preferably happy, quirky, obscure, german or any combination thereof?
posted by Psychnic to Media & Arts (104 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Well, there's always "Mr. Roboto" by Styx. Too obvious?
posted by Gator at 10:48 AM on February 20, 2006

We Are the Robots - Kraftwerk (surely this is first on your list!)
Mechanical Man - The Folk Implosion
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots - Flaming Lips
Do the Robot - The Muffs
My Robot - Looper
Paranoid Android - Radiohead
Robot Parade - They Might Be Giants
Themesong to the Bionic Man/Astro Boy/Small Wonder, etc etc...
posted by Robot Johnny at 10:49 AM on February 20, 2006

"The Robots" by Kraftwerk (robot-themed, quirky AND German)
posted by kuperman at 10:50 AM on February 20, 2006

How about that annoying Tatu song?

Robot robot robot I love you robot robot

Actually I'm not entirely sure of the English lyrics because I heard the Russian ones.

okay, fine, I own it- just drop it, okay?
posted by small_ruminant at 10:50 AM on February 20, 2006

How about The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots?

It's a funny / goofy song. Lyrics here (warning, popup hell): linky...
posted by twiggy at 10:50 AM on February 20, 2006

Ohh, ohh, the "Robot Hell" song from Futurama!

Fencing diamonds, fixing cockfights,
Publishing indecent magazines.
You'll pay for every crime,
Knee-deep in electric slime.
You'll suffer 'till the end of time,
Enduring tortures, most of which rhyme.
Trapped forever here in Robot Hell!

posted by Gator at 10:52 AM on February 20, 2006

They Might Be Giants' "Become a Robot" is exactly what you need.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:52 AM on February 20, 2006

"The Becoming", by Nine Inch Nails
posted by saladin at 10:52 AM on February 20, 2006

Daft Punk - Robot Rock
Beck - Hell Yes (video)
posted by geoff. at 10:56 AM on February 20, 2006

14 zero zero, by Console is full of bleepy vocodery electro-goodness.

14 zero zero, that's my whole name
Tiny CD tray, or floppy in the bay
Got no disk array...
but i keep on moving...

posted by zpousman at 10:59 AM on February 20, 2006

Do It like a Robot, by Princess Superstar, is not amazing, but it does feature a line that goes

"I'm made of magnets, Inspect my gadgets."
posted by zpousman at 11:02 AM on February 20, 2006

Mr. Roboto - Styx
Android Warehouse - Steely Dan
posted by Fat Guy at 11:05 AM on February 20, 2006

I think you need some Six Million Dollar Man theme music and sound effects. Maybe some Bionic Woman also.
posted by teg at 11:15 AM on February 20, 2006

"Roboter in der Nacht" by Abwärts ((robot-themed, quirky AND German))--> but more obscure.
posted by zonkout at 11:15 AM on February 20, 2006

Robot Cat (.mp3)?
posted by lyam at 11:19 AM on February 20, 2006

"Science Genius Girl" - Freezepop
"Iron Man" - Black Sabbath
posted by yerfatma at 11:20 AM on February 20, 2006

When my mom got her knee replaced, we told her that she was "More machine than (wo)man now, twisted and evil." (Obi-Wan Kenobi talking about Darth Vader in case you don't get the reference.) Maybe you can sample that or fit it in somehow...
posted by srah at 11:22 AM on February 20, 2006

Comic book artist James Kochalka did an album along with a comic book called "Monkey vs. Robot"
posted by Sara Anne at 11:27 AM on February 20, 2006

Robot - The Futureheads
posted by koenie at 11:28 AM on February 20, 2006

If you're not tied to rock, there's always Pete Miser's Scent of a Robot.
posted by sysinfo at 11:28 AM on February 20, 2006

The Terrible Secret of Space from The Laziest Men on Mars.

Is he a pusher or a shover?
posted by ewagoner at 11:29 AM on February 20, 2006

Ditto on Sara Anne. Monkey vs Robots by James Kochalka Superstar (available as Monkey vs, Robot vs. Bush here, see also Beep Boop on the same page)
posted by jessamyn at 11:29 AM on February 20, 2006

I second the vote for "Do It Like A Robot" by Princess Superstar. It's infectious.
posted by Radio7 at 11:29 AM on February 20, 2006

"Robot Girl" by Was (Not Was)
"I, Robot" by the Alan Parsons Project (instrumental, but very robot-like)
"Machines" by Lothar and the Hand People.
"I Want to Be a Machine" by Ultravox
posted by barjo at 11:31 AM on February 20, 2006

Found a link to a The Terrible Secret of Space MP3 and video!
posted by ewagoner at 11:32 AM on February 20, 2006

Screeching Weasel-I, Robot. If you're into punk.
posted by evariste at 11:37 AM on February 20, 2006

lyrics. I'll look for an mp3.
posted by evariste at 11:38 AM on February 20, 2006

Senor Coconut - The Robots (Cha-Cha-Cha) - A Latin spin on the Kraftwerk original
posted by azlondon at 11:44 AM on February 20, 2006

The Network - Joe Robot
posted by saintsguy at 11:45 AM on February 20, 2006

Surely there would be something appropriate from Devo.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 11:48 AM on February 20, 2006

Robot Ponies, by Laura Barrett.
posted by greatgefilte at 12:04 PM on February 20, 2006

The Ballad Of Optimus Prime, by Luke Ski
posted by bleary at 12:23 PM on February 20, 2006

The Phenomenauts - I am a Robot
posted by sian at 12:25 PM on February 20, 2006

The Gigantor Theme Song, either the original, the second series, or the cover by Helmet. Awesome song.
posted by Loto at 12:30 PM on February 20, 2006

"Metal Fingers In My Body" by Add (N) to X.
posted by Ian A.T. at 12:33 PM on February 20, 2006

The song "Ex-Con" from the album "Red Apple Falls" by (Smog) contains this charming stanza: "Out on the streets/I feel like a robot by the river/Looking for a drink."

I would also second azlondon's suggestion of Senor Coconuts Kraftwerk covers.

Consider also the Project X tribute to Megamans 2 & 3
posted by clockwork at 12:43 PM on February 20, 2006

Check out "Priest 85" by Irritating Rainbow, as featured in the short film Robot Bastard. (Which you should also check out.)
posted by Tubes at 1:11 PM on February 20, 2006

Grandaddy, "I'm on Standby" [there are several other robot-themed songs on Sumday and S0phtware Slump.]
Enon, "Native Numb" [may not actually be about a robot, but has indecipherable robotic vocals.]
posted by ubersturm at 1:24 PM on February 20, 2006

Response by poster: Thank you for your great suggestions! These are the funniest song I've heard in months. I hope a multi-hour megamix of robotics can cheer him up.

ps. I feel ashamed for forgetting Kraftwerk...
posted by Psychnic at 1:30 PM on February 20, 2006

Too bad there's not a recorded version of this.

It doesn't have an official title, but "Clicker Rap" - like it says on the linked web page - is as good as any. It's from the comic book Top 10 by Alan Moore, a science fiction series in which an entire futuristic city is populated by nothing but superheros, monsters, magical creatures, and the like. Robots, as the page notes, are the underclass in this society. A sample for those who choose not to click:

Listen in clickers
this is ice machine
with a message here for
MC Chuck 15

Ohms, y'aint drastic
or metal, yer plastic
I'm clanging your glitch
and she says I'm fantastic

and as for your mom
the chute that yer from
I had her on blocks and
she thinks I'm the bomb

posted by Clay201 at 1:30 PM on February 20, 2006

"My parents think my robot's trouble," by Barcelona.
posted by escabeche at 1:36 PM on February 20, 2006

A local Columbus band named Flotation Walls made a song called "Robot Soul". It's probably my favorite robot song. Let me know if you want me to pass it your way. Email in my profile.
posted by bwilms at 2:19 PM on February 20, 2006

'Share and Enjoy' from the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (sung by a 'choir' of robots):

Share and Enjoy
Share and Enjoy
Journey through life
With a plastic boy
Or girl by your side
Let your pal be your guide
And when it breaks down
Or starts to annoy
Or grinds when it moves
And gives you no joy
'Cos it's eaten your hat
Or had sex with your cat
Bled oil on the floor
Or ripped off your door
And you get to the point
You can't stand any more
Bring it to us, we won't give a fig
We'll tell you
'Go stick your head in a pig'.

posted by prettypretty at 2:42 PM on February 20, 2006

Kenickie - Robot Song.
posted by patricio at 2:47 PM on February 20, 2006

The Gay Robot Groove -- Adam Sandler.
posted by ericb at 2:53 PM on February 20, 2006

Someone mentioned Grandaddy. "Jed the Humanoid" from The Sophtware Slump is my favorite robot song ever, but cheerful it ain't.

"Gold Star for Robot Boy," by Guided by Voices, is perkier.

And for good cheer, you can't beat "Make a Circuit With Me" by the Polecats. "I'm your AC/DC man; you can read my circuit diagram. I feed on electric jolts -- I need 50,000 volts!"

Futurama had an entire episode about a robot hand -- their finest (half) hour, IMO. The plot: Fry trades hands with Robot Satan so he'll be able to play an instrument and impress Leela. I believe this episode contains the "Robot Hell" song.
posted by ROTFL at 3:18 PM on February 20, 2006

No, that was the final episode: "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings." The "Robot Hell" song was in in the season one episode "Hell Is Other Robots."
posted by Gator at 3:20 PM on February 20, 2006

Thanks for the correction, Gator.
posted by ROTFL at 3:25 PM on February 20, 2006

mc chris, Robot Dog
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 5:07 PM on February 20, 2006

Not a song but this prank call still cracks me up. Some great soundbites to be had there if you want to do some sampling. I think the war against the robots may not be such a good idea.
posted by well_balanced at 5:21 PM on February 20, 2006

"Metal" by Gary Numan (covered by Nine Inch Nails, I think):

"The sound of metal: I want to be you / I could learn to be a man like you / Plug me in and turn me on / Oh everything is moving"
posted by scody at 5:32 PM on February 20, 2006

Servotron Robot Allegience, hands down. All of No Room For Humans is an incredible mix of solid Sci-Fi culture with good rocking punk ballads. The Three Laws, the Robot Revolution, it's all there.
posted by freebird at 5:55 PM on February 20, 2006

Interrobang Cartel have both a Data mix and a Dalek mix of their Robot Song.
posted by nonane at 6:22 PM on February 20, 2006

Bubblegum pop robot song: Robotboy by Robyn.
posted by metaname at 6:43 PM on February 20, 2006

one of my personal favorites would have to be 'my friend robot' by Regurgitator, but they're not exactly mainstream even within Australia.

I got a brand new friend, he's a robot
and he is my man, and he's megawatt
he doesn't pretend
never lies, never cheats, never steals from me

I trust nobody else with my secrets
I can depend on his sequence
Logical patterns i trust in his hard drive, relax, I can unwind

I got a friend, and he's a robot man (robot man)
I got a friend, and he's a computer man (computer man)

posted by nml at 6:54 PM on February 20, 2006

I second the Servotron suggestion. You can't go wrong with music actually written by malevolent robots. "Today is your birthday / We are going to kill you / Stupid celebration - there is no logic in it." If you look closely at the album cover freebird linked, you can see robots pitchforking more weak human bodies onto a bonfire.

I'm also surprised nobody has chimed in with the other great robot band, Captured! By Robots. Among J-Bot's many charms is that he builds music bots that play guitar, bass, drums, etc. The live shows are amazing.

There's a line in a Silver Jews song (off of American Water) that goes "Windex tears roll down the robot's face / He never felt his mother's embrace."
posted by whir at 6:55 PM on February 20, 2006

nml's post reminds me of Butters' little song from the "Awesome-O" episode of South Park, "Let Me Tell You About My Robot Friend."
posted by Gator at 7:21 PM on February 20, 2006

Gah! How could I space out on Servotron? I've got everything they've put out, and they put on two of the best shows I've ever been too. I tell you, nothing beats watching a group of robots heckle of audience at the 40 Watt. Except maybe (just maybe) watching Grand Moff Tarkin on the same stage. Or possibly dancing there to Man or Astroman? as they play a rocking song with only a couple Apple Imagewriters.

So, yeah, Servotron.
posted by ewagoner at 7:33 PM on February 20, 2006

I can't believe no one else has posted this one:

Dirty Robot - Arling & Cameron. Here's a FREE (and legal) download.
posted by soiled cowboy at 7:54 PM on February 20, 2006

Rockit by Herbie Hancock. Not necessarily about robots but had a cool video with a robot vibe.

Also The Mechanical Man by Bent Bolt and the Nuts available on the Greasy Kid Stuff V2 at CD Baby.

Helmet did a cover of Giganor on the Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits comp.

What about Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah from the Jetsons? Not robots, but from a time where robots were influencing the world.
posted by DonnieSticks at 9:36 PM on February 20, 2006

Oh and while the Iron Giant is a fine movie, the equally fine soundtrack is more about rockets and outer space than it is robots, which is kinda weird.
posted by DonnieSticks at 9:39 PM on February 20, 2006

Here's two:

Attack el robot! Attack! - Calexico (instrumental)
Robots - TV on the Radio (a song about robots enjoying themselves)
posted by eyeballkid at 9:57 PM on February 20, 2006

The Incredible Singing Robot by Star Salzman
posted by andendau at 10:12 PM on February 20, 2006

Wolfbait's Dawning of the Robot Age is one of the best songs about robots anywhere. Ever. Also, Throttlebody has a song called Robots that's the only decent thing they ever did, about how robots are taking over. Seriously, it's genius. There's also Robotboy by Robyn for your teenpop fix, Robot is Systematic by ... um... some techno outfit, Robotso by Stylex, or the band Robotnika for your Franco-Russo-robo experience.
posted by klangklangston at 10:37 PM on February 20, 2006

I actually did a mix CD last year called 'Bleak Robot Love'.

Tracks so far not mentioned that are specifically robot-y:
Men at Work: Helpless Automaton
Jonathan Coulton: Better
Captain Ahab: I want to love you like a Robot
The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets: Big Robot Dinosaur

I second Tatu's 'Robot' as it is massively catchy.

The last two on my list might be hard to find but the Captain Ahab one is hysterical synth-voicey and the Thickets one is about a boy who gets beat up but his scientist dad builds a, well, Big Robot Dinosaur and they go wreak havoc on the populace.
posted by cobaltnine at 5:58 AM on February 21, 2006

I can't believe no one's mentioned this one yet:

I Love You (Miss Robot) by the Buggles:
I love you miss robot
I love you miss robot
programmed just to please

You make love like a metronome
don't drive to fast when you take me home
touch the seam on your silver skin
I feel so hard when you take me in
I love you miss robot
I love you miss robot,
programmed just to please..."
posted by Asparagirl at 7:47 AM on February 21, 2006

I also wanted to echo a must-listen for:


Any group that takes the recorded warning speech given by the automated doors in the Atlanta airport and uses them as lyrics in a song can't be all bad.

Their "parent" group is also a good choice:

Man or Astroman?

Check out the earlier albums for sci-fi surf guitar goodness.
posted by jca at 9:38 AM on February 21, 2006

Songfight has a whole series of free songs called "Red Robot." My favorites are the Milwaukee Youth Center Choir and the Frankie Big Face versions.
posted by equipoise at 10:08 AM on February 21, 2006

How about Connie Francis' 1960 doo-wop hit, Robot Man? It featured in the amazing musical "Return to the Forbidden Planet", touted as "Shakespeare's long-lost sci-fi rock and roll musical".

I want a robot man to hold me tight
One that I can count on every si-ingle night
He wouldn't run around like other guys
I wouldn't have to listen to his alibis

posted by purple_frogs at 10:55 AM on February 21, 2006

Dude, no one's mentioned the Polysics' version of "Mr. Roboto" yet?

Heathens, all of you.
posted by Katemonkey at 11:59 AM on February 21, 2006

all good answers so far, but I didn't see this one listed:
anorexic robot by the fat truckers
posted by nuclear_soup at 12:48 PM on February 21, 2006

Bruce Haack, the pioneer of electronic kiddie music, wrote several songs about robots, including School for Robots and OK Robot. I wonder if the latter song didn't inspire a certain album title by Radiohead?
posted by jonp72 at 1:26 PM on February 21, 2006

The Scorpions' Robot Man is great fun.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:12 PM on February 21, 2006

there's Freak-A-Zoid by Midnight Star with the great lyric "Freakazoid! Robot! Report to the dance floor!"

And then just about anything by Six Finger Satellite, esp. Machine Cuisine-era (sample hit: "Love Via Machine" about a chick who leaves a dude for a robot) and "Where Humans Go" from "Severe Exposure".
posted by Hat Maui at 7:08 PM on February 21, 2006

Oh, Tropical Robots by Guided by Voices (and covered nicely by Herschel Savage and the American Flag) is a good'n!
posted by dobbs at 10:30 PM on February 21, 2006

Goldie Lookin' Chain, Half Man Half Machine.
posted by greycap at 12:19 AM on February 22, 2006

Lisa wants to be a bad robot.
posted by shinybeast at 3:04 AM on February 22, 2006

oh, dobbs, shit, that reminds me of another awesome GBV one -- "#2 In The Model Home Series" --

"my automated spouse
has a bug in her blouse
my automated spouse, my gun
as secretly she sees
as secretly she sees
as secretly she sees
and now the fun begins..."

et cetera.

it's always made me yearn for an automated spouse.

should i have just admitted that?

anyway, that's a classic for robotfuckers.
posted by Hat Maui at 3:39 AM on February 22, 2006

oh, and here's my new robot song i just made up:

(in the key of life)

"ooo-oooooh" (perf as two or maybe three syllables, or four at most. really, it's up to you. go for it.)

"i came across an automaton
i know you might think that i'm puttin' you on...
but no, it's for real, he's got robotic arms
and i made fooor iiit!

"he saysa robot's life is a life of chores
wiping flesh behinds and o'pnin' up some doors
when you're done with that, you can mop the floors
social slights and snubs you must ignore...

"but the robot's cause is a noble one
don't/think he doesn't care, be-cuz he cares a ton
and if you love ro-bots you're not the only one
and there's all kindsa suppoort grooups fooor it...

okay, so it's totally stupid. but think up a melody and hum the words to yourself. i guarantee it works as a robot song. in fact, i'm puttin' it in projects. next week sometime.
posted by Hat Maui at 3:59 AM on February 22, 2006

posted by LinusMines at 9:39 AM on February 22, 2006

I third the recommendation for Servotron. Especially "Bad Birthday" (today is your birthday- we are going to kill you), and "I am not a Voice-activated Child Identicon" about V.I.C.K.I. from the tv show Small Wonder. I also suggest anything by the Android Sisters (I love the song "Macho Robot or the Bananas Trilogy"). Truly insane and delightful.
posted by unknowncommand at 1:58 PM on February 22, 2006

What about "Weird Science" by Oingo Boingo? A theme from the 80s movie by the same name about teens who build a chick robot. Might be fun to throw in the mix there.
posted by santon at 2:14 PM on February 22, 2006

"Little Computer People" by The Little Computer People Project. So damn catchy.
"I'm Seein' Robots" by Kool Keith.
"Realrobots", "Real Robots Don't Die", "Robots 4 Life" by Mr. Velcro Fastener.
posted by hellbient at 5:52 PM on February 22, 2006

Believe it or not, I once did a Metafilter post about this very topic.
posted by yankeefog at 7:58 AM on February 23, 2006 [1 favorite]

Almost forgot this one:

Funky Robot (Part 1) -- Rufus Thomas
posted by LinusMines at 8:13 AM on February 23, 2006

Someone mentioned Guided by Voices, but didn't say Gold Star For Robot Boy.
posted by princelyfox at 9:30 AM on February 23, 2006

How about Kool Kieth Model Android by the Ultramagnet MCs?
posted by YoungAmerican at 9:40 AM on February 23, 2006

"Anorexic Robot" by the Fat Truckers.
posted by theperfectcrime at 3:36 PM on February 23, 2006

This is Andrew Thompson reminding you to never trust robots: "We're in Business"
posted by shinybeast at 4:11 AM on February 24, 2006

I don't recall them having robotic themed songs, but the band Lousy Robot seems to be a good match, natch.
posted by FlamingBore at 11:14 AM on February 24, 2006

Robot Chant - Mogwai
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:13 PM on February 24, 2006

"and none of them knew they were robots" is the first of kiad's robot music compilations. It's one of my top played albums; highly recommended.
posted by crysflame at 5:41 PM on February 24, 2006

I forgot the best...Are 'Friends" Electric? by Gary Numan and Tubeway Army
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:47 PM on February 24, 2006

"Transformer"--Lou Reed.
posted by theperfectcrime at 5:50 PM on February 24, 2006

posted by theperfectcrime at 6:41 PM on February 24, 2006

Robot Rock Band
posted by Bistle at 4:25 PM on February 26, 2006

Ska Robot Army - The Aquabats(!)
posted by hopeless romantique at 6:27 PM on February 26, 2006

Or, even better, Robot Theme Song, by the Aquabats.
posted by hopeless romantique at 6:29 PM on February 26, 2006

All is full of love [Real Player and MPG available] - Bjork
posted by tellurian at 7:55 PM on February 27, 2006

"The Humans Are Dead" by Flight of the Conchords. Funnier when performed live, but a binary solo instead of a guitar solo is still quite nice.
posted by statehighways at 3:31 AM on March 13, 2006

"Harder Better Faster Stronger" by Daft Punk. No explicit reference to robots in the lyrics, but if robots danced in front of the mirror, it would be to this song.

posted by duffell at 5:48 AM on March 21, 2006

Jonathan Coulton - Better

"And I’m tired of the evenings I spend
Making small talk with your new robot friends
And their stupid insistence on scanning my iris
When they know damn well who I am"
posted by Bugmaster at 4:45 PM on July 27, 2006

for posterity's sake, though this is long over, Mogwai has a track called robot chant, and Turing Machine is a very cool instrumental (not post rock / ambient tho', closer to the industrial side, but very rhythmic / pattern oriented - they're on Jade Tree) band, whose first album is called "A New Machine For Living", and if that's not enough, one of the tracks is called Robotronic. Also, model a has a cute two part song called "robots dream of love".
posted by mdn at 8:51 AM on December 19, 2006

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