Computer World

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Computer World
Kraftwerk - Computer World.png
Studio album by Kraftwerk
Released10 May 1981 (1981-05-10)
Recorded1979–81
StudioKling Klang Studio
(Düsseldorf, Germany)
Genre
Length34:21
Label
Producer
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
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Drowned in Sound10/10[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[4]
The Guardian4/4 stars[5]
Mojo4/5 stars[6]
Q5/5 stars[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[8]
Select4/5[9]
Uncut5/5 stars[10]
The Village VoiceB[11]

Computer World (German: Computerwelt) is the eighth studio album by German electronic band Kraftwerk, released on 10 May 1981.[12] The album peaked at number fifteen on the UK Albums Chart.[13] It was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on 12 February 1982 for shipments in excess of 60,000 copies.[14]

The album deals with the themes of the rise of computers within society. 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"), Japanese ("Dentaku", or 電卓), and Italian ("Mini Calcolatore"). The compositions are credited to Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, and Karl Bartos. As was the case with the two previous albums, Computer World was released in both German- and English-language editions.

Computer World was ranked at number 2 among the top ten "Albums of the Year" for 1981 by NME.[15] It was listed by Pitchfork as the 18th best album of the 1980s.[16] Pitchfork listed the track "Computer Love" as the 53rd best song of the 1980s.[17] Slant Magazine placed the album at number twenty-five on its list of "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s".[18] Rolling Stone named it the tenth greatest EDM album of all time in 2012.[19]

Singles[edit]

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.

"Pocket Calculator" was released as a 7-inch single in the US by Warner Brothers in 1981, pressed on a fluorescent yellow/lime vinyl, matching the color of the album cover. The flip side featured the Japanese version of "Pocket Calculator," "Dentaku."[20]

"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.[21] "Computer World" was also chosen by the BBC for use in the titles of their UK computer literacy project, The Computer Programme.

Artwork[edit]

The cover shows a computer terminal (apparently based on one made by the Hazeltine Corporation) [22] displaying the heads of the four band members.

The inner sleeve artwork, created by Emil Schult and photographed by Günter Fröhling, depicts four slightly robotic-looking mannequins (representing the band members engaged in studio activities: performing, recording, mixing), similar to the artwork of the previous album, The Man-Machine, also created by Fröhling. In two photos, the mannequin representing Karl Bartos is seen playing a Stylophone, an instrument which is featured on the track "Pocket Calculator".

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleLyricsMusicLength
1."Computer World" ("Computerwelt")5:05
2."Pocket Calculator" ("Taschenrechner")
  • Hütter
  • Schult
  • Hütter
  • Bartos
4:55
3."Numbers" ("Nummern") 
  • Hütter
  • Schneider
  • Bartos
3:19
4."Computer World 2" ("Computerwelt 2") 
  • Hütter
  • Schneider
  • Bartos
3:21
Side two
No.TitleLyricsMusicLength
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".[23] By contrast, the 2009 remastered edition notes list the performer credits as the following:[24]

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 percussion
  • Emil Schult – cover
Additional personnel
  • Günter Fröhling – photography
  • Johann Zambryski – artwork reconstruction

Legacy[edit]

In 1982, American DJ and rapper Afrika Bambaataa wrote the song "Planet Rock" and recorded chords inspired from Trans-Europe Express. The song's lyrics also included the Japanese number counting Ichi Ni San Shi from Kraftwerk's Numbers.

Señor Coconut y su Conjunto, an electronic project of German musician Uwe Schmidt which initially covered Kraftwerk's songs, published a merengue-styled version of "It's More Fun to Compute" in their first LP El Baile Aleman, wrongly labeled as "Homecomputer" on the sleeve.

Coldplay used the main riff from "Computer Love" in their song "Talk" from their 2005 album "X&Y".

Ricardo Villalobos' track "Logom-IX" from the 2006 album Salvador uses prominently the riff from "Computer World".

'Home Computer' is used as background music in the Young Sheldon episode "A Computer, a Plastic Pony, and a Case of Beer".

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1981) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[25] 51
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[26] 14
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[27] 7
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[28] 28
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[29] 27
UK Albums (OCC)[30] 15
US Billboard 200[31] 72
US R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[32] 32

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[33] Silver 60,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. "Computer World – Kraftwerk". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  2. ^ Warwick, Oli. "Cut / Paste: The sample legacy of Computer World, Kraftwerk's most influential album". The Vinyl Factory. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  3. ^ Power, Chris (14 October 2009). "Album Review: Kraftwerk – Computer World: Remastered". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  5. ^ Sweeting, Adam (14 April 1995). "CDs of the week: Kraftwerk reissues". The Guardian. London.
  6. ^ Snow, Mat (November 2009). "Gut Vibrations". Mojo. London (192): 110. ISSN 1351-0193.
  7. ^ "Kraftwerk: Computer World". Q. London (104): 123. May 1995.
  8. ^ Coleman, Mark; Randall, Mac (2004). "Kraftwerk". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 468–69. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  9. ^ Harrison, Andrew (June 1995). "Kraftwerk: Radio Activity / Man Machine / Computer World / The Mix". Select. London (60).
  10. ^ Cavanagh, David (16 October 2009). "Uncut Reviews: Kraftwerk – Reissues". Uncut. London. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert (2 November 1981). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  12. ^ "New Musical Express". NME. London. 17 April 1982. p. 39.
  13. ^ "1981 Top 40 Official Albums Chart UK Archive". Official Charts Company. 23 May 1981. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  14. ^ "Certified Awards". British Phonographic Industry. 12 February 1982. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  15. ^ "Albums and Tracks of the Year". NME. 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  16. ^ "The 200 Best Albums of the 1980s". Pitchfork. 10 September 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Pitchfork". Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  18. ^ "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s". Slant Magazine. 5 March 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  19. ^ "The 30 Greatest EDM Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. 2 August 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  20. ^ "Kraftwerk – Pocket Calculator". Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  21. ^ "24th Annual Grammy Awards Final Nominations". Billboard. 94 (3): 90. 23 January 1982. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  22. ^ http://ask.metafilter.com/18539/Computer-World-cover
  23. ^ Computer World (LP liner notes). Kraftwerk. EMI. 1981. EMC 3370.
  24. ^ Computer World (remastered CD liner notes). Kraftwerk. Mute Records. 2009. CDSTUMM 307.
  25. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 170. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  26. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Kraftwerk – Computerwelt" (in German). Hung Medien.
  27. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH.
  28. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Kraftwerk – Computerworld". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 November 2000.
  29. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Kraftwerk – Computerworld". Hung Medien.
  30. ^ May 1981/7502/ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  31. ^ "Kraftwerk Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  32. ^ "Computer World – Kraftwerk | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  33. ^ "British album certifications – Kraftwerk – Computer World". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Computer World in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.