Pick a superior Christmas No. 1 from El Reg's computer crooning compilation
Do you have The Higgs Boson Blues or Virtual Insanity?
Poll With December 25th bearing down upon us, we're mere days away from anointing a festive chart-topper as Christmas Number One.
A hot tip for this year's top tune? It'll be sentimental and/or disposable pop junk.
Reg readers deserve better, so we've cobbled together a list of ten songs that reflect the fare we serve up around here. Have a listen, pick a favourite in the poll below and help us anoint our very own vulturous Christmas chart-topper!
Curtain up and ... play that funky music ...
1. Code Monkey – Jonathan Coulton
Poor Code Monkey feels under-appreciated, lonely, unloved and precarious. If you can find a better-expressed cry of frustration with management than this excerpt, do let us know.
Yeah, Code Monkey! Stick it to that boring manager Rob! Stick it to all of them!
2. Computer Games – Mi-Sex
How to celebrate games in song? Readers beyond the antipodes will probably be asking Mi-Who? But in 1979 Kiwi outfit Mi-Sex popped out this synth-laden track just as games cabinets sprouted around the world.
As is often the case with music about computers, there's a dystopian tang to the lyrics. Here's the first verse:
The result was a Number 1 in Australia, Number 2 in Canada and top 40 entries in Argentina and Austria, a fitting result for a song that's rather deeper – musically and lyrically – than contemporaries such as Pac-Man Fever.
3. The Higgs Boson Blues – Nick Cave
Cave's best work touches on sex, God, the Devil and death, preferably all at once. If one considers the metaphysical aspects of quantum physics, his recent track The Higgs Boson Blues is therefore pretty close to his usual lyrical stomping ground.
4. I'm on Standby – Grandaddy
Reg readers understand what it is to go Titsup. But at least one vendor thought we were being rather rude to them this year, so we explained the term as standing for Total Inability To Support Usual Performance back in August.
A fine way to celebrate TITSUP in song is Grandaddy's 2003 effort I'm on Standby, which is sung from the point of view of a computer that's been sent (hopefully) for restorative maintenance.
Here's a sample.
Call me sentimental, but sometimes when I hear that I get the urge to turn on the netbook I've been neglecting since trying to find something other than Windows XP for it to run. I'll boot you one day, old friend. Promise. Because Grandaddy's taught me no computer deserves indefinite TITSUP.
5. Home Computer – Kraftwerk
The PC market might just be wobbling towards something resembling growth, so – to celebrate – let's exhume Kraftwerk's Home Computer.
The song's lyric is simple:
Sadly that lyric didn't happen: those of us who programmed computers beamed ourselves into a future in which the command line is unknown to the overwhelming majority of device owners. Maybe that's why tablet sales are tanking.
6. Virtual Insanity – Jamiroquai
Here's the words:
Underground? In the virtual future? That's not what Oculus promises!
Try not to think too deeply and just dance, okay? Dance like you spent $2bn on goggles.
7. Why Does The Sun Shine and Why Does the Sun Really Shine – They Might Be Giants
Just what's going on in Earth's atmosphere, along with speculation of humanity's role in any changes, often features in these pages.
Let's celebrate that coverage with a pair of tunes that debate about just what's going on inside the Sun.
Why Does The Sun Shine opens with this refrain:
Why Does the Sun Really Shine extols an alternative theory:
It's highly unusual to hear lyrics about this stuff at all, never mind to find competing theories extolled in successive songs. Did we mention that these two tunes come from an album called Here Comes Science that's aimed at kids?
They Might Be Giants are an endearing and enduring oddity. This pair of songs shows why.
8. Technologic – Daft Punk
With the following lyric, how could we leave Technologic off the list?
If you like it, pick it, click it, in the poll down there, you'll see it.
9. Intergalactic – The Beastie Boys
Yes, we could have tapped into the David Bowie catalogue for a space-related song, but The Beastie Boys' Intergalactic crosses over into other Reg concerns with the following lyric:
The Trek reference gets it over the line ahead of many rivals. For all those wondering why Paranoid Android isn't on the list, it's not about androids and was written before Android was a glimmer in Google's eye. And I don't think Subterranean Homesick Alien is a very good song. You know where the comments are, people!
10. Secret Agent Man – DEVO
What better way to do that than with DEVO's Secret Agent Man, which offers this refrain:
Bonus track: Robots – Flight of the Conchords
There's no news angle on this one, but how could we fail to include the “binary solo” from Flight of the Conchords' Robots.
Here's how it goes:
That solo and the next line – “Come on, sucker, lick my battery” - meant we couldn't ignore this as a Christmas Number One Candidate.
So there you have it, music lovers. A year of news and many years of music. Which one do you want to pick as our Christmas number One? Hit the poll, don't be a grinch! ®