Computer World

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Computer World
Kraftwerk - Computer World.png
Studio album by Kraftwerk
Released 10 May 1981 (1981-05-10)
Recorded 1979–81
Studio Kling Klang Studio
(Düsseldorf, Germany)
Length 34:21
Kraftwerk chronology
The Man-Machine
Computer World
Electric Café
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]
Drowned in Sound 10/10[2]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[3]
The Guardian 4/4 stars[4]
Mojo 4/5 stars[5]
Q 5/5 stars[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[7]
Select 4/5[8]
Uncut 5/5 stars[9]
The Village Voice B[10]

Computer World (German: Computerwelt) is the eighth studio album by German electronic music band Kraftwerk, released on May 10, 1981.[11] The album peaked at number fifteen on the UK Albums Chart.[12] It was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on 12 February 1982 for shipments in excess of 60,000 copies.[13]

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") and Japanese ("Dentaku", or 電卓). A fifth version, in Italian ("Mini Calcolatore"), was lip-synched to on Italian television in 1981.[14] 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. 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!", which could be seen on old pinball machines. There are also some minor differences in the mixes used on English- and German-language releases.

Computer World was listed by Pitchfork Media as the forty-fourth best album of the 1980s.[15] Pitchfork Media also listed the track "Computer Love" as the 53rd best song of the 1980s.[16]Slant Magazine placed the album at number twenty-five on its list of "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s".[17] Rolling Stone named it the tenth greatest EDM album of all time in 2012.[18]


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


The cover is probably a stylized Hazeltine 1500 which was just a cursor-addressable ASCII terminal and not a computer.[20]

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


Kraftwerk's production methods are credited with influencing those of hip hop music. In addition to the sampling used in hip hop and the most prominent influence, the motorik beat, songs such as "Numbers" are likely sources of inspiration for songs such as "Get Ur Freak On" by Missy Elliott.[according to whom?].The motorik beat itself is not a prominent influence on hip hop, and was not originated by Kraftwerk.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Computer World" ("Computerwelt")
2. "Pocket Calculator" ("Taschenrechner")
  • Hütter
  • Schult
  • Hütter
  • Bartos
3. "Numbers" ("Nummern")  
  • Hütter
  • Schneider
  • Bartos
4. "Computer World 2" ("Computerwelt 2")  
  • Hütter
  • Schneider
  • Bartos
Side two
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
5. "Computer Love" ("Computerliebe")
  • Hütter
  • Schult
  • Hütter
  • Bartos
6. "Home Computer" ("Heimcomputer") Schneider
  • Hütter
  • Schneider
  • Bartos
7. "It's More Fun to Compute"  
  • Hütter
  • Schneider
  • Bartos


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".[21] By contrast, the 2009 remastered edition notes list the performer credits as the following:[22]

  • 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


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1981) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[23] 51
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[24] 14
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[25] 7
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[26] 28
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[27] 27
UK Albums (OCC)[28] 15
US Billboard 200[29] 72
US R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[30] 32

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[31] Silver 60,000^

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


  1. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Computer World – Kraftwerk". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Power, Chris (14 October 2009). "Album Review: Kraftwerk – Computer World: Remastered". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8. 
  4. ^ Sweeting, Adam (14 April 1995). "CDs of the week: Kraftwerk reissues". The Guardian. London. 
  5. ^ Snow, Mat (November 2009). "Gut Vibrations". Mojo. London (192): 110. ISSN 1351-0193. 
  6. ^ "Kraftwerk: Computer World". Q. London (104): 123. May 1995. 
  7. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 468–69. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  8. ^ Harrison, Andrew (June 1995). "Kraftwerk: Radio Activity / Man Machine / Computer World / The Mix". Select. London (60). 
  9. ^ Cavanagh, David (16 October 2009). "Uncut Reviews: Kraftwerk – Reissues". Uncut. London. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert (2 November 1981). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  11. ^ "New Musical Express". NME. London. 17 April 1982. p. 39. 
  12. ^ "1981 Top 40 Official Albums Chart UK Archive". Official Charts Company. 23 May 1981. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "Certified Awards". British Phonographic Industry. 12 February 1982. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  14. ^ "Mini Calcolatore" on "Discoring" on YouTube
  15. ^ "Top 100 Albums of the 1980s". Pitchfork Media. 20 November 2002. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  16. ^ "Pitchfork". Retrieved April 8, 2017. 
  17. ^ "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s". Slant Magazine. 5 March 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  18. ^ "The 30 Greatest EDM Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. 2 August 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  19. ^ "24th Annual Grammy Awards Final Nominations". Billboard. 94 (3): 90. 23 January 1982. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ Computer World (LP liner notes). Kraftwerk. EMI. 1981. EMC 3370. 
  22. ^ Computer World (remastered CD liner notes). Kraftwerk. Mute Records. 2009. CDSTUMM 307. 
  23. ^ 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. 
  24. ^ " – Kraftwerk – Computerwelt" (in German). Hung Medien.
  25. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Phononet GmbH.
  26. ^ " – Kraftwerk – Computerworld". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 November 2000.
  27. ^ " – Kraftwerk – Computerworld". Hung Medien.
  28. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  29. ^ "Kraftwerk – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Kraftwerk.
  30. ^ "Computer World – Kraftwerk | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  31. ^ "British album certifications – Kraftwerk – Computer World". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Computer World in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search