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Music / The Man-Machine

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"She's a model and she's looking good/I'd like to take her home, that's understood/She plays hard to get, she smiles from time to time/It only takes a camera to change her mind..."

The Man-Machine is a 1978 album by the German electronic band Kraftwerk. It was first released in German through Kling Klang under the name Die Mensch-Machine, but later got an English release through Capitol Records as well. The album saw the band continue to streamline the Synth-Pop sound they had pioneered on Trans-Europe Express, and is often considered one of their best, having spawned some of their most famous songs such as "The Robots", "The Model"note  and the Title Track. The album's campaign also marked the debut of their robotic alteregos.


Side One

  1. "The Robots" (6:11)
  2. "Spacelab" (5:51)
  3. "Metropolis" (5:59)

Side Two

  1. "The Model" (3;38)
  2. "Neon Lights" (9:03)
  3. "The Man-Machine" (5:28)


  • Ralf Hütter: electronics, keyboards
  • Florian Schneider: synthesizer, vocoder, Votrax
  • Karl Bartos and Wolfgang Flür: electronic drums

We... are... the... tropes... we... are... the... tropes...

  • Alliterative Title: "The Man Machine".
  • Bilingual Bonus: "The Robots" has a line in Russian: "Я твой слуга, я твой работник." Which translates to: "I'm your servant, I'm your worker."
  • Broken Record:
    We are the robots
    The Man-Machine, machine, machine, machine, machine,...
  • Concept Album: The tracks seem to be about cyborgs and robots on one hand and nostalgia for older times on the other, but there's no story going along with it.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The band members in a parody of a typical old Soviet propaganda poster, down to the typography. Ralf Hütter himself designed the artwork of the album cover and the photography was done by Günther Fröhling.
  • Dub Name Change: The album was originally released in Germany under the name Die Mensch-Maschine.
  • Electronic Music: One of the key albums in its development.
  • Epic Rocking: "The Model" is the only song on the album under five minutes.
  • Face on the Cover: The band is shown on the album cover.
  • Germanic Efficiency: Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Grief Song: "The Model", about a model that became famous, while the protagonist wants to meet her again.
  • Machine Monotone: The vocals throughout most of the album.
  • Man in the Machine: The title track.
  • Neon City: "Neon Lights" is mostly instrumental, with the few lyrics being a tribute to the city's neon lights:
    Neon lights
    Shimmering neon lights
    And at the edge of night
    This city's made of light
  • One-Word Title: "Spacelab" and "Metropolis".
  • Packaged as Other Medium: The cover looks like a Soviet propaganda poster.
  • Robot or Spaceman Alter Ego: Both on the album cover, as well as in the record itself.
  • Shining City: "Neon Lights" describes a city full of neon lights.
  • Shout-Out: "Metropolis", a track that references the 1927 German science fiction classic Metropolis.
  • Silly Love Songs: "The Model", about a model whom the protagonist wants to meet again. It's especially silly due to The Stoic vocal delivery.
  • Synthetic Voice Actor: As on most of their albums.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: The music is very simple.
  • Title Track:
    The Man-Machine, Machine, Machine, Machine...
  • Trrrilling Rrrs: "Wirrr sind die Roboterrrrr". Not present in the English version of "The Robots", however, due to the vocals being processed through a vocoder.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Die Mensch Machine


We are The Robots

Tying in with the song title and subject matter, Kraftwerk's 1978 song "The Robots" features vocoded vocals sung in a flat, detached tone. Combined with the intentionally sparse melody, it gives the impression that an actual robot is singing it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / MachineMonotone

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