Technology has changed our lives and as music is nothing but a reflection of lived experience, it’s changed music too.
And these are our favorite songs about technology and the changes it has wrought on us all.
The whole album, The Pleasure Principle, had a nod toward technology and we could have as easily included Metal as we did Cars.
But it’s Cars that we love and it’s Cars that is a huge fan favorite and which got an excellent cover version by Fear Factory too.
Video Killed The Radio Star
It’s true, it did kill the radio star and for that reason the song was immortalized by MTV when it became the debut track on the world’s first music video station.
OK, maybe radio’s not dead, but are there any radio stars left who aren’t shock jocks?
Given their mastery of the synthesizer brought Kraftwerk their international fame, it would seem essential that they pay tribute to technology at some point.
In fact, Pocket Calculator is just one of many examinations of the good and bad that technology brings into day-to-day life that the band wrote, but this is a pure tribute anthem to the calculator, no downsides required.
This tribute to the disposable nature of attention thanks to the tendrils of technology dispersing throughout our lives is nowhere near as positive as a lot of Daft Punk’s output.
We’d also suggest checking out Television Rules the Nation from the same album, Human After All.
NME said that Paranoid Android was the best song of the last 15 years back in 2011, and it’s certainly a contender for greatest song of all time.
Whether it’s really about tech, is up for debate, though.
Yorke said he wrote the song because he found being surrounded by coked up strangers really frightening.
Nothing But Flowers
This is a harshly satirical take on the invasion of technology into the world around it and it’s not a tribute to the joys of engineering.
Instead, it’s a wish for nature to take back her place in our hearts and minds before it’s too late.
There are other Kate Bush songs that might have made the list, even potentially the ghastly Washing Machine, but this is our favorite.
The song tells of a rain making machine that must be removed from the hands of ordinary mortals like us.
The Dismemberment Plan
We think Huxley might have approved of this song which is designed to highlight how we may be always connected but have become so utterly disconnected from what matters.
If you love a bit of hardcore with your social criticism, this is where to go for it.
The Girl And The Robot
Rather like Radiohead, we’re pretty sure the Robot here is metaphorical rather than real b ut you could read it as a song about cyber-romance.
And we’re just fine with that.
Start Up Chime
You can hear the Kraftwerk influences here but they’re not as heavy as they were in the early days of Ladytron’s career.
This is a witty examination of technology as Messiah, no surprise given the general tone of tech worship on their albums.
This is a clever critique of all the horrors of a social media age. How things are only valued when others are envious of it.
Technology and narcissism have combined to make us less than we once were and St. Vincent’s not afraid to show it.
Yes, they drew inspiration for this from the William Gibson cyberpunk classic and it works very well.
The key point is how valuable your data has become and how the machine knows much more about you than you ever told it.
For good or bad, technology changes are here to stay, and these awesome songs about technology should stay too.
If you want to hear them all in one place, we’ve put together a playlist on Spotify for you.