On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Kraftwerk – Computer Love (1981)
Farewell to the US, dear reader, and our plane takes us back across the Atlantic to Europe. We find ourselves in Germany once more and it seems only fitting to catch up with our old friends Kraftwerk. They have made two prior appearances on our list with Trans-Europe Express (1977) and Das Model (1978). When we join the group in 1981 their fans have been awaiting a new album for some time and it duly arrived in the form of Computer World. From that album, 1001 Songs have gone with Computer Love.
Very much ahead of their time, Kraftwerk’s latest album looked at the rise of computers and how they would come to domineer the mindset of mankind. In Computer Love we have a lonely individual who is sitting at home and in front of their computer. They are keen to meet with someone, to have a “rendezvous”, but before they can do that they must dial a number and arrange a “data date.” Although the terminology is different back in 1981, this very much sounds like online dating that our isolated narrator is wanting to partake of. No more need to go out into the world in search of love, they can find what they need with their computer.
It’s remarkable that Kraftwerk were writing songs about concepts that ring true today with the Internet and social media being a key part of everyday lives for so many people. There is a sadness and regret to the song though, a lament for a changing society. One wonders what Kraftwerk must make of it all in 2020. Computer Love was twice released in the UK in 1981 first hitting the Top 40 but when it was reissued with The Model as a double A-side it duly climbed to no.1 making Krafwerk the first German act to top the UK charts. UK appreciation did not end there. The song would be revisited in 2005 when Chris Martin, lead singer of Coldplay, tentatively wrote to Kraftwerk and asked permission to use the music for a song called Talk. One story goes that Martin anxiously awaited a response from the German legends and it soon came, though the reply was, shall we say, succinct: “Yes” is all it apparently said.
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Doors – The End (1967)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)
Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (1978)
The Police – Message in a Bottle (1979)
Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart (1980)
Ultravox – Vienna (1980)