For this month’s robot theme, I’ve compiled a list of songs about, well, robots. Since there are already tons of lists out there online, I’ve decided to eschew more obvious choices like Styx’s “Mr. Roboto” (although there’s a cover of it on this list) and even songs by my favorite band They Might Be Giants (e.g., “Robot Parade”). In other words, I’ve tried to avoid listing songs that I’ve seen on other lists. Despite this restriction, I’ve come up with 12 songs about non-specific robots (although admittedly some are metaphorical robots). I say “non-specific” because next week I’ll have a list of songs about robots from TV shows and movies.
1. “Normal” by The Grammar Club
Yes, this one is a metaphorical robot, not an actual robot. Shael Riley’s use of a vocal effect on his parts, however, means that you could interpret this one as being about a robot who wants to be a human. Of course, it’s clearly meant as a sarcastic slam on those who prefer conformity to individuality, an idea I can certainly get behind.
2. “Robot City” by Random (ft. YTCracker and JonBap)
Another more metaphorical song, and this one also features clones. Like Shael, Random and his fellow musicians don’t want to be like the other robots around them.
3. “Build the Robots” by Dr. Steel
Dr. Steel’s industrial steampunk music almost necessitates the inclusion of robots. In this one, Dr. Steel continues his efforts to take over the world with his robot army.
4. “Robot Party” by Supercommuter
“Dance. Kill. Laugh. Kill.” Sounds like a robot party to me!
5. “Don’t Unplug Me” by ALL CAPS
This one is sort of metaphorical in reverse. It’s definitely a robot love song (just check out the video), but could just as easily be about a real human couple who are growing apart. Nicely done!
6. “Herr Drosselmyer’s Doll” by Abney Park
Another steampunk entry to the list. This robot may be steam powered and called a “doll,” but a mechanical humanoid seems to me to qualify as a robot. Besides, I love the band Abney Park.
7. “Better” by Jonathan Coulton
8. “Still Alive” by Jonathan Coulton
9. “Todd the T1000” by Jonathan Coulton
I wasn’t sure which JoCo song to include since I like them all, so I figured I’d put all the ones I know that are robot related. I left off “Chiron Beta Prime” because I already included it on my Christmas list. And maybe GLaDOS isn’t strictly a robot in the traditional sense, but she is an AI that guides an electro-mechanical machine, so I say she’s close enough.
10. “Lonely Boy Robot” by jeremitron
“Am I just a robot to you?” Robots are an obvious metaphorical choice for feeling ignored and lonely. Here’s another song that fits that, this one an electronic track.
11. “Angry Robot” by John Anealio
A nice, slow acoustic song about a robot who turned bad. And now he’s angry and wants to kill everyone. “Don’t look him in the eye, he’s an angry robot.”
12. “Mr. Roboto” by John Anealio
As I mentioned, I tried to avoid songs that were on other lists. Since “Mr. Roboto” is such an obvious choice, however, I felt like I couldn’t avoid it entirely. Instead of the original, I went with a very different, nearly acoustic, cover of the song. This one, like the last one, is featured on John Anealio’s 3-track The Robot EP (the third track is “The Transformers Theme.” Yes, the one from the ’80s cartoon). I highly recommend downloading it for free from Bandcamp.