Top 10 Tech inspired tunes
If you love tech then there's a pretty good chance that you'll like tunes too. Many tech innovations have been used to make new music and explore our relationship with technology. We wanted to share 10 of our favourites with you. The tracks were voted for in the office, if you think we've missed something or would like to bring something new to our attention, let us know.
This track is probably just as recognisable by it’s video as its music – both ground breaking and innovative. They remain a major part of the music and music-video chatter to this day. Radiohead really brought the more experimental and digital side of music into the mainstream with this album/track. We're sure you know, but just in case you don't, the song is about Marvin, the paranoid android from the sci-fi saga The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Marvin is a robot who is constantly depressed because of the infinite possibilities of his mind and the unnecessarily repetitive and trivial tasks his humans ask of him.
The term ‘classic’ is thrown about all over the place, but feels absolutely warranted here. Thom Yorke at his very best. Here's some of the other great things they're done since Ok Computer.
Geekin – will.i.am
One of the coolest expressions of being a geek to date, complete with the Intel chime breakdown. This is Will sharing his love of tech, as a self-proclaimed technology geek who just happens to have a role as a creative consultant with Intel, "I make a lot of chips, now they call me Intel."
It’s quality writing and production all the way, there’s no finer way to say "I’m a tech geek and proud". The video takes a more stereotyped look at what it means to be geeky at school.
VCR – XX
BetaMax or VHS…the argument still rumbles on over 40 years later. These machines revolutionised how we consume film and video content. They created an entire genre. This song’s in here for two reasons...
1 - the VCR title connection, which has brought us a whole genre of content that bares no resemblance to the original technology, it’s evolved a long way to become a major part of the social vernacular.
2 – The second reason, simple, it’s out and out quality - writing, production and performance. The lyrics are a real nostalgia trip for anyone who remembers sitting watching VCR’s.
Technologic – Daft Punk
Hard to believe that this is nearly 15 years ago! No-one has got more techie terms into a track ever, not even the great will.i.am managed to get as many references in as Daft Punk. The original track comes in many, many flavours –having been remixed and remastered by countless DJ’s, remixers and producers.
The video has a decidedly dark tone, the chucky-esque ‘bot that narrates the dialogue suggesting this technology might not be as good for us as we’d first think.
Virtual insanity - Jamiroqui
Here we are just over twenty years after this track debued and we’re still just as obsessed with VR, technology and the future. On the one hand it feels like VR is about to become omni-present, but on the other it’s still years away.
Have to say the video is still incredibly cool, Jay Kay got the moves and the vid won a load of awards including MTV Video of the Year. As we were putting this Top 10 together it quickly became apparent that not many of the tracks actually view technology in a positive way – there's blood in one part of the vid for this track.
There’s no path to follow – Chemical Brothers
Maybe not the most tech-inspired track on this list but it sums up the last 40-50 years very well. With nothing to follow, tech has been defining numerous new paths, some more successfully than others.
We think it’s fair to say that it’s not been easy and it still feels like we are a long way from having a comfortable relationship with technology a lot of the time. Unfortunately we couldn’t find an official Chemical Brothers video for this track, but the cover artwork and the lyrics – Battle scars - suggests it’s not all always fun pushing the envelope.
Slash dot dash – Fat Boy Slim
This track has amazing energy about it. It really captures the more manic side of tech and development as code is bashed out, thrown onto the web creating untold chaos (at times).
We have utter admiration of the work of Norman Cook, beautifully crafting samples a plenty in all his tracks. There are loads of retro melodies and jingles in here - stuff from all over the place including - The Olympics in 1966, Allen Toussaint 1972, Ralph Carmichael 1970 and Ricky V Valentine 2003.
We're also slightly addicted to tracks with scratching in them (love DJ Shadow but couldn't find a tech themed track - maybe another Top 10 in the future).
Everyday Robots – Damon Albarn
This is a very personal account of Albarn's life experiences, from early childhood to the present day, including all the trappings of modern life - computer games, mobile phones and human natures battles with technology.
The song was written whilst stuck in a traffic jam in California. "I was just watching everyone around me and everyone is so lost in their little worlds: on the telephone, listening to music." Said Albarn to Radio X's John Kennedy. Whatever the inspiration, we're glad Damon shared this with the world, a great track that feels very much part of our times.
Deeper Understanding – Kate Bush
Like Thom Yorke, Kate Bush is an experimental artist who’s comfortable exploring subjects way before they become mainstream. This is an insightful journey of our relationship with tech and the people around us.
We think that we’re all guilty of ‘turning to my computer like a friend’ a little too much at times. The video features Robbie Coultrane as the user – the video narrative really adds to the lyric as Robbie’s obsession with his computer escalates to scary levels. And Noel Fielding is in there as well, what’s not to like?
Computer love – Kraftwerk
Last but by no means least. Kraftwerk were one of the first artists to really embrace technology in the production of music. This track was a double A-side, (this really does show it's age) released with the better known "the Model". Chris Martin famously sampled the track for his Coldplay track "Talk".
We’re not sure why it's the Germanic tone that we associate with discipline and order of tech? Whilst German engineering has always been very good, it's not a country that you immediately associate with tech, but the voice is almost synonymous.
We hope that you've enjoyed these tracks as much as we do. Any suggestions for other Top 10's or tracks that should have been in this one, email us.