Computer World  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Computer World (German version: Computerwelt) is a concept album created by Kraftwerk and released in 1981. It deals with the themes of the rise of computers within society. Many see this album as a peak in the career of Kraftwerk, along with Autobahn.

The compositions are credited to Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, and Karl Bartos. Musically the album is stronger than ever - the sound is further refined to pure electronics and vocals (gone is the last vestige of "real" instruments, the Vako Orchestron), and the sequencing and electronic percussion reach new sonic and rhythmic heights - a real "funkiness" is on display for the first time since 1970's "Vom Himmel Hoch" from the first album, tracks such as "Numbers" connecting with elements of hip hop music in the USA.

In keeping with the album’s concept, Kraftwerk showcased their music on an ambitious world tour and issued several versions of the single, "Pocket Calculator" – sung in German (Taschenrechner), English, French (Mini Calculateur) and Japanese (Dentaku).

"Computerwelt" was subsequently remixed as a punchier-sounding dance version ("Computerwelt Special Mix", with additional bass and percussion) and released in January 1982 as a twelve-inch vinyl single only in Germany. The English version of the "Computer World" track lacks approximately half the lyrics of the German "Computerwelt", and consequently most of its meaning.

"Computer Love" was released as a 7-inch single single in the UK, in July 1981, backed with "The Model", from the group's previous album The Man-Machine. The single reached number 36 in the charts. In December 1981 the two songs were re-released as a double A-side 12-inch single, and reached number one on the UK pop charts in February 1982, although "The Model" received the most airplay.


Track listing

English release

  1. "Computer World" – 5:05
  2. "Pocket Calculator" – 4:55
  3. "Numbers" – 3:19
  4. "Computer World 2" – 3:21
  5. "Computer Love" – 7:15
  6. "Home Computer" – 6:17
  7. "It’s More Fun to Compute" – 4:13


Other utilization

  • The song, "Computer World", was used as the theme music to the series, The Computer Programme; a TV show originally broadcast on British network BBC2 in 1982. The series aimed to introduce people to computers and showcase their potential. "Computer World 2" was used at the end of the show for the credits.
  • Coldplay got the permission to use the synthesizer melody of "Computer Love" in their song "Talk", featured on their album X&Y.
  • German musician Uwe Schmidt, under his pseudonym Señor Coconut, recorded a merengue arrangement of the song "Home Computer" for his album of exotic Kraftwerk cover versions, El Baile Alemán.
  • Nicole Scherzinger, lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls, has launched her solo career with "Steam", a track that heavily samples "Numbers".
  • An image of the Computer World album cover was used on a t-shirt given to students in the Fall 1998 EE302 class taught at the University of Texas at Austin. This t-shirt has since made appearances on the Warner Bros. television show, Beauty and the Geek.
  • Kaiser Broadcasting, whose stations included WKBS in Philadelphia and WFLD in Chicago, used the tracks "Numbers" and "Home Computer" as musical backgrounds for its kids cartoon bumpers in the early-mid 1980's.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Computer World" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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