Sammy the Seal

“Another lonely night…stare at the t.v. screen…I don’t know what to do…I need a rendezvous”

In music videos, vinyl on Friday, 18 May, 2012 at 15:42

Song: Computer Love
Artist: Kraftwerk
Album: Computer World

So the party line goes that these guys were ahead of their time, pioneers of the digital revolution, and this album was a display of their prescience of the ubiquitousness of computers, and their application to every aspect of human life. This song specifically was singled out as predicting the phenomenon of online dating (“data date”), years before the fact. While I acknowledge and marvel at those things, to me this is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard, the one with the spare, lonely, and utterly sublime melody. Thirty-one years out, its digitized heart still beats strong. If anyone ever says electronic music is cold and heartless (and, depending on the day, I may be one of those people), present this to them. If they aren’t moved in some way, they are at best narrow-minded, at worst, a demon (demons being soulless). The warmth they wring out of their machines is amazing. Regardless of the themes (“another lonely night….”), there is something decidedly human about this song, don’t let Die Roboter fool you.

Not surprisingly, Coldplay sampled this for a song, “Talk”, though they got permission, allegedly. I can understand samples in hip-hop and electronic music, and sure, there are no rules, but it’s kinda sad if you’re a rock band that multiple times cops melodies and riffs. For people who say they merely sampled it, well, I’ve heard it, and the entire song is structured around that melody. It’s not that far from a cover, it’s just sprinkled with a few new notes and chords. And the song is nothing special, a bland arena rock song, pumped up with their customary yawning chasms of self-indulgent and pomp.

I’ll throw my hat in with subtlety on this one. Without all the extra noise and bombast, you can focus on the crystalline main melody and its smooth descent, and the dated, but almost lush synths. Till exempel, whatever that tone is that sounds at 5:22, I love it. Terribly minimalistic, not to mention deep and indelible. An underrated element not to be overlooked is that fact that it’s over seven minutes long. I am pleased and grateful.

Here is a pretty cool video (in still photos) depicting the evolution of computers, set to the German-language version. To see the progress and imagination, most notably from the pioneers who were doing it more than twenty years ago when computing was still pretty much a cottage industry, is nothing short of inspiring and humbling:

Once again, the awesome album cover. You can’t miss with old green screen. I think it should be their official logo:

computer world


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