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2023 Albums Thing 220 - Kraftwerk “Computer World”

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1981’s “Computer World” was something of a departure in sound for Kraftwerk, and at the same time it wasn’t. What I mean is Kraftewerk were still the robotic, computerised, strictly electronic combo of “Trans-Europe Express” and “The Man-Machine” but the technology of electronic instruments, of synthesizers and drum machines and sequencers, must have taken a huge leap forward between 1978 and 1981 because you can hear it on “Computer World”. Whereas the previous albums had a feeling about them that the musicians were wrestling with technology and making it do things it wasn’t designed to do, here the technology has caught up with the musicians ambition and everything seems easier to do.

The album is about the rise of computers and the, somewhat outlandish in 1981, idea that they would eventually be a part of all our every day lives (how’s that working out for you ?), Kraftwerk as predictors of the future. “Computer World’, “Computer Love”, “Home Computer”, “It’s More Fun To Compute” the titles tell you where we are at here.

My personal favourite again shows Kraftwek’s sense of humour. “Numbers” has a lyric that is simply them counting in German, French, Italian and Japanese. The lyric is simplicity itself, numbers, but aren’t computers simplicity when you get down to the basics ? Binary code, zeros and ones, numbers, but humans have more of them. Now that’s funny.

We already know that “Computer Love” was released as a single and it’s B-side. “The Model” eventually took it to #1 in the UK. The other single from this album was “Pocket Calculator” which was also recorded with lyrics in German ("Taschenrechner"), French ("Mini Calculateur"), Japanese ("Dentaku"), and Italian ("Mini Calcolatore”).

“Computer World” is a great sounding, very clean, electronic dance record. Kraftwerk’s influence on recorded music since the mid 70’s, be it electronic, Hip Hop or “dance” music is vast.

Numbers - https://youtu.be/tBTL2Porphg?si=p1_0NPYpDjCoCgBb

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