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Music / Computer World

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"By pressing down a special key, it plays a little melody."

Computer World (original German title: Computerwelt) is a 1981 album by Kraftwerk, the eighth studio album in their catalogue. Released through Kling Klang in Germany, Warner (Bros.) Records in North America, and EMI internationally, it had hit singles such as "Pocket Calculator" and "Computer Love"

The record is a Concept Album about the rise of computers within society, and is arguably their most stripped-back and mechanical album to date, anticipating the Techno and Electro scenes that would emerge during the decade. Coincidentally, this was released the same year IBM released their first personal computer.


Side One
  1. "Computer World" (5:05)
  2. "Pocket Calculator" (4:55)
  3. "Numbers" (3:19)
  4. "Computer World 2" (3:21)

Side Two

  1. "Computer Love" (7:15)
  2. "Home Computer" (6:17)
  3. "It's More Fun To Compute" (4:13)


  • Ralf Hütter: electronics, keyboards, mixing, synthesizer, vocoder, voice
  • Florian Schneider: electronics, mixing, recording, speech synthesis, synthesizer, vocoder
  • Karl Bartos: electronic drums

Computer Tropes

  • Arc Words: The word "computer" appears in almost every track.
  • Beeping Computers: "Pocket Calculator."
    By pressing down a special key, it plays a little melody.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Someone counts off in German, French, English, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian and other languages during "Numbers".
  • Concept Album: The album deals with computers taking over the world.
  • Counting to Three: "Numbers" starts off with someone counting off in German.
  • Cradle of Loneliness: "Computer Love"
    Another lonely night, stare at the TV screen
    I don't know what to do
    I need a rendez-vous. Computer love
  • Creepy Monotone: The computerized voice on several of the tracks.
  • Cyber Green: The album cover depicts a PC monitor displaying yellow-green outlines of the band members' heads, fitting the album's name and focus on the rise of computers in society.
  • Epic Rocking: The 5:05 "Computer World", which gets a reprise with the 3:21 "Computer World 2".
  • Everything Is an Instrument: Among the instruments used on this album were a Texas Instruments Language Translator and a Mattel Bee Gees Rhythm Machine toy.
  • Face on the Cover: The faces of the band members on a computer screen.
  • Floating Head Syndrome: The band on the computer screen on the album cover.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The album cover was designed by Emil Schult.
  • Inside a Computer System: The voices used on this album sound like this most of the time.
  • Limited Lyrics Song: As with most of Kraftwerk's songs. The shortest is "It's More Fun To Compute", which is basically this one line reappearing at various moments throughout the song.
  • Lost in Translation: The chorus of the German version of the title track has the line "Denn zeit ist geld" ("Because time is money"), while the English version just repeats the title again. The English version also drops German lyrics about the BKA (Bundeskriminalamt), the German equivalent of the FBI, and Flensburgh, which is home to the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt, a national database of traffic tickets.
  • Machine Monotone: The vocoder used in several of the songs.
  • Mood Whiplash: "Computer Love" is a love song among all the more technical songs.
  • Motor Mouth: "Numbers" ends with somebody saying several numbers very quickly.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: "Pocket Calculator", a song where a man ("the operator") talks about the various things he can do with his pocket calculator.
  • One-Word Title: "Numbers".
  • Product Placement:
    • In "Computer World":
      Interpol and Deutsche Bank, FBI and Scotland Yard
      Interpol and Deutsche Bank, FBI and Scotland Yard
      Business, numbers, money, people
      (...) Crime, travel, communication, entertainment
    • Subverted by the version on The Mix, which completes the endorsement-y chant.
      Interpol and Deutsche Bank, FBI and Scotland Yard
      CIA and KGB, control the data, memory.
    • "Computerliebe" mentions the Bildschirmtext, an online videotext system developed by Deutsche Bundespost whose first trial was conducted in the band's hometown of Düsseldorf earlier that year.
  • Shout-Out: "Home Computer":
    I program my home computer
    Beam myself into the future
  • Pun-Based Title: "It's More Fun To Compute" is a pun on the pinball machine slogan: "It's more fun to compete!"
  • Siamese Twin Songs: "Numbers" and "Computer World" are played together in later live performances.
  • Time Marches On: Partially avoided, as their vision of a world dominated by computers has practically come true today. But the video terminal on the cover is obviously very outdated.
  • Translated Cover Version: Different language versions of "Pocket Calculator" were recorded, including "Taschenrechner" (German), "Mini Calculateur" (French), "Mini Calcolatore" (Italian; originally created for a performance on the show Discoring) and "Dentaku" (Japanese).