Computer World

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For the computer magazine, see Computerworld.
Computer World
Studio album by Kraftwerk
Released 10 May 1981 (1981-05-10)
Recorded 1979–81 at Kling Klang Studio, Düsseldorf, Germany
Genre Electronic, synthpop
Length 34:21
Label Kling Klang, EMI Electrola, Warner Bros.
Producer Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider
Kraftwerk chronology
The Man-Machine
(1978)
Computer World
(1981)
Electric Café
(1986)
Singles from Computer World
  1. "Pocket Calculator"
    Released: May 1981
  2. "Computer Love"
    Released: July 1981
  3. "Computerwelt"
    Released: 1981
  4. "Numbers"
    Released: 1981
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B[2]
Drowned in Sound 10/10[3]
Mojo 4/5 stars[4]
Q 5/5 stars[5]
Uncut 5/5 stars[6]

Computer World (German: Computerwelt) is the eighth studio album by German electronic music band Kraftwerk, released on 10 May 1981.[7] The album peaked at number fifteen on the UK Albums Chart.[8] It was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on 12 February 1982 for shipments in excess of 60,000 copies.[9]

The album deals with the themes of the rise of computers within society. Critics see this album as a peak in the career of Kraftwerk, along with The Man-Machine and Trans-Europe Express. The compositions are credited to Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, and Karl Bartos. In keeping with the album's concept, Kraftwerk showcased their music on an ambitious world tour and issued several different versions of the single "Pocket Calculator" in different languages: namely, German ("Taschenrechner"), French ("Mini Calculateur") and Japanese ("Dentaku", or 電卓). A fifth version, in Italian ("Mini Calcolatore"), was lip-synched to on Italian television in 1981.[10]

As was the case with the two previous albums, Computer World was released in both German- and English-language editions. The title of the final track, "It's More Fun to Compute", is in English in all releases, as it is based on the slogan "It's more fun to compete!" that could be seen on old pinball machines. There are also some minor differences in the album mixes used on the English- and German-language releases.

Computer World was listed by Pitchfork Media as the forty-fourth best album of the 1980s.[11] Slant Magazine placed the album at number twenty-five on its list of "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s".[12] Rolling Stone named it the tenth greatest EDM album of all time in 2012.[13]

Singles[edit]

Excerpt from the "Computer World" title track.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The track "Computer Love" was released as a 7-inch single in the UK, in July 1981, backed with "The Model", from the group's previous album The Man-Machine. The single reached number 36 in the charts. In December 1981 the two songs were reissued as a double A-side 12-inch single, and reached number one on the UK Singles Chart in February 1982, although "The Model" received the most airplay.

"Computerwelt" was remixed in 1982 as a dance version with additional bass and percussion sounds. It was released in January 1982 as a twelve-inch vinyl single only in Germany. The original track was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1982.[14] "Computer World" was also chosen by the BBC for use in the titles of their UK computer literacy project, The Computer Programme.

Track listing[edit]

Side A
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Computer World" ("Computerwelt") Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, Emil Schult Hütter, Karl Bartos 5:05
2. "Pocket Calculator" ("Taschenrechner") Hütter, Schult Hütter, Bartos 4:55
3. "Numbers" ("Nummern")   Hütter, Bartos, Schneider 3:19
4. "Computer World 2" ("Computerwelt 2")   Hütter, Bartos, Schneider 3:21
Side B
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
5. "Computer Love" ("Computerliebe") Hütter, Schult Hütter, Bartos 7:15
6. "Home Computer" ("Heimcomputer") Schneider Hütter, Schneider, Bartos 6:17
7. "It's More Fun to Compute"     Hütter, Schneider, Bartos 4:13

Personnel[edit]

The original 1981 sleeve notes are relatively unspecific regarding roles, merely listing all the equipment suppliers and technicians under the heading "Hardware" and the various other people involved, such as photographers, as "Software".[15] By contrast, the 2009 remastered edition notes list the performer credits as the following:[16]

Kraftwerk
  • Ralf Hütter – album concept, artwork reconstruction, cover, electronics, keyboards, mixing, Orchestron, production, recording, Synthanorma Sequenzer, synthesiser, vocoder, voice
  • Florian Schneider – album concept, cover, electronics, mixing, production, recording, speech synthesis, synthesiser, vocoder
  • Karl Bartos – electronic drums
  • Emil Schult – cover
Additional personnel
  • Günter Fröhling – photography
  • Johann Zambryski – artwork reconstruction

Charts[edit]

Chart (1981) Peak
position
Austrian Albums Chart[17] 14
German Albums Chart[18] 7
New Zealand Albums Chart[19] 28
Swedish Albums Chart[20] 27
UK Albums Chart[8] 15
US Top LPs & Tape[21] 72
US Soul LPs[21] 32

References[edit]

  1. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Computer World – Kraftwerk". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (2011). "CG: Kraftwerk". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Power, Chris (14 October 2009). "Kraftwerk – Computer World: Remastered". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  4. ^ Snow, Mat (November 2009). "Gut Vibrations". Mojo (London) (192): 110. ISSN 1351-0193. 
  5. ^ Q (5/95, p.123) - 5 Stars - Indispensable - "...their best LP to date. A celebration/valediction of information technology, it flickers with hooks..."
  6. ^ Cavanagh, David. "Uncut Reviews: Kraftwerk – Reissues". Uncut. IPC Media. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  7. ^ NME (London). 17 April 1982. p. 39. 
  8. ^ a b "1981 Top 40 Official Albums Chart UK Archive". Official Charts Company. 23 May 1981. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "Certified Awards". British Phonographic Industry. 12 February 1982. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  10. ^ "Mini Calcolatore" on "Discoring" on YouTube
  11. ^ "Top 100 Albums of the 1980s". Pitchfork Media. 20 November 2002. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  12. ^ "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s". Slant Magazine. 5 March 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "The 30 Greatest EDM Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. 2 August 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  14. ^ "24th Annual Grammy Awards Final Nominations". Billboard 94 (3): 90. 23 January 1982. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  15. ^ Computer World (LP liner notes). Kraftwerk. EMI. 1981. EMC 3370. 
  16. ^ Computer World (remastered CD liner notes). Kraftwerk. Mute Records. 2009. CDSTUMM 307. 
  17. ^ "Kraftwerk – Computerwelt" (in German). austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  18. ^ "Kraftwerk, Computerwelt" (in German). charts.de. Media Control. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  19. ^ "Kraftwerk – Computer World". charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  20. ^ "Kraftwerk – Computer World". swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  21. ^ a b "Computer World – Kraftwerk | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 May 2014.