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September 2, 2008

Wikipedia: Computer World

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Computer World
Computer World cover
Studio album by Kraftwerk
Released 1981
Recorded 1980-1981
Genre Electronic music
Length 39:21
Label Kling Klang
Warner Bros. Flag of the United StatesFlag of Canada
Producer Ralf Hütter
Florian Schneider
Professional reviews
  • Allmusic 4.5/5 stars link
  • Robert Christgau (B) link
Kraftwerk chronology
The Man-Machine
Computer World
Electric Café
Singles from Computer World
  1. “Computer Love” b/w “The Model”
    Released: 7/1981, EMI 5207 (UK)
  2. “Pocket Calculator” b/w “Dentaku”
    Released: 5/1981, EMI 5175 (UK)
  3. “Taschenrechner” b/w “Dentaku”
    Released: 1981 Kling Klang 1C00646365
  4. “Computerwelt 1 (Special Mix)” b/w “Nummern”; “Computerwelt 2”
    Released: 1982, 12″, Kling Klang 1CK062-46379Z

Computer World (German version: Computerwelt) is a concept album created by Kraftwerk and released in 1981. It deals with the themes of the rise of computers within society. Many[who?] see this album as a peak in the career of Kraftwerk, along with Autobahn[citation needed] and Trans-Europe Express.

The compositions are credited to Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, and Karl Bartos. The sound of the album is more reliant on purely electronics and vocals, and the sequencing and electronic percussion are particularly innovative.[citation needed] For the first time since 1970’s “Vom Himmel Hoch” from the group’s first album, the band displayed shades of funk music – tracks such as “Numbers” went on to influence early elements of hip hop music in the US.[1]

In keeping with the album’s concept, Kraftwerk showcased their music on an ambitious world tour and issued several versions of the single, “Pocket Calculator”. The song is also sung in German—”Taschenrechner”, French—”Mini Calculateur”, and Japanese—”Dentaku” (電卓). While not major, it should also be noted that there are a few noticeable differences in the album mixes used on the English- and German-language releases.

“Computerwelt” was subsequently remixed as a punchier-sounding dance version, with additional bass and percussion and was released in January 1982 as a twelve-inch vinyl single only in Germany. The English version of the “Computer World” track lacks approximately half the lyrics of the German “Computerwelt”, and consequently some of its meaning, since the German second verse that was not translated for the English version makes reference to the collection of peoples’ personal data (Finanzamt und das BKA – Haben unsere Daten da) by agencies such as the tax authorities and the police.

In an interesting move the same year, the song “Computer World” was nominated for a Grammy award in the category of Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

“Computer Love” was released as a 7-inch single 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 pop charts in February 1982, although “The Model” received the most airplay.

The title of the final track is a pun based on the slogan, “It’s more fun to compete!” that could be seen on pinball machines of the time.

Although the album was originally released by Warner Bros. Records in the US and Canada, it has since been reissued in these regions by Elektra Records. Warner Bros. also issued a vinyl version pressed on neon green vinyl[citation needed].

“Computer World” excerpt

An excerpt from the “Computer World” title track.

Problems listening to the file? See media help.


Track listing

English release

Side one

  1. “Computer World” – 5:05
  2. “Pocket Calculator” – 4:55
  3. “Numbers” – 3:19
  4. “Computer World 2” – 3:21

Side two

  1. “Computer Love” – 7:15
  2. “Home Computer” – 6:17
  3. “It’s More Fun to Compute” – 4:13


German release

Side one

  1. “Computerwelt” – 5:06
  2. “Taschenrechner”– 4:32
  3. “Nummern”– 3:21
  4. “Computerwelt 2”– 3:11

Side two

  1. “Computerliebe”– 7:19
  2. “Heimcomputer”– 8:03
  3. “It’s More Fun to Compute”– 4:12

French release

Side one

  1. “Computer World” – 5:05
  2. “Minicalculateur” – 4:55
  3. “Numbers” – 3:00
  4. “Computer World 2” – 3:30

Side two

  1. “Computer Love” – 7:00
  2. “Home Computer” – 6:00
  3. “It’s More Fun to Compute” – 4:15
Japanese version (Konpyūtā wārudo).

Japanese version (Konpyūtā wārudo).

Japanese release

  1. “Computer World” (“コンピューター・ワールド”) – 5:07
  2. “Dentaku” (“電卓”) – 4:56
  3. “Numbers” (“ナンバース”) – 3:19
  4. “Computer World 2” (“コンピューター・ワールド2”) – 3:20
  5. “Computer Love” (“コンピューター・ラブ”) – 7:16
  6. “Home Computer” (“ホーム・コンピューター”) – 6:17
  7. “It’s More Fun to Compute” (“コンピューターはボクのオモチャ”) – 4:12

Note 1: The French album has never been reissued on CD.
Note 2: On the Japanese re-release CD, track 2 is “Pocket Calculator” while “Dentaku” is a bonus track.


  • Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 – used only on the accompanying tour
  • Moog Polymoog
  • Moog Minimoog
  • Korg PS-3300
  • Roland MC8 Microcomposer sequencer – used only on the accompanying tour
  • Friendchip “Mr Lab” sequencer unit
  • Custom-built 32×2-step analogue sequencers by Matten & Wiechers
  • Dubreq Stylophone
  • Mattel Bee Gees Rhythm Machine
  • Texas Instruments “Speak & Spell” language toy: Home Computer begins with a sound sample of the off/on jingles of the Speak & Spell electronic spelling game. The Speak & Spell was an early example of a computer in an everyday household object – in this case an interactive toy – rather than shown as a stereotypical piece of space-age gadgetry.
  • Texas Instruments Talking Translator (with English, French and Spanish language modules)
  • Casio FX-501P Programmable Calculator with FA-1 Cassette Interface
  • EMS and Sennheiser vocoders

Other utilization

  • The song, “Computer World”, was used as the theme music to the series, The Computer Programme; a TV show originally broadcast on British network BBC2 in 1982. The series aimed to introduce people to computers and showcase their potential. “Computer World 2” was used at the end of the show for the credits.
  • Coldplay got the permission to use the synthesizer melody of “Computer Love” in their song “Talk”, featured on their album X&Y.
  • German musician Uwe Schmidt, under his pseudonym Señor Coconut, recorded a merengue arrangement of the song “Home Computer” for his album of exotic Kraftwerk cover versions, El Baile Alemán.
  • Nicole Scherzinger, lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls, has launched her solo career with “Steam”, a track that heavily samples “Numbers”.
  • An image of the Computer World album cover was used on a t-shirt given to students in the Fall 1998 EE302 class taught at the University of Texas at Austin. This t-shirt has since made appearances on the Warner Bros. television show, Beauty and the Geek.
  • Kaiser Broadcasting, whose stations included WKBS in Philadelphia and WFLD in Chicago, used the tracks “Numbers” and “Home Computer” as musical backgrounds for its kids cartoon bumpers in the early-mid 1980’s.


  1. ^ Pascal Bussy – author of the book, Kraftwerk: Man, Machine and Music – Bartos relates that prior to this, Hütter & Schneider were disturbed by him playing off-beats in rhythms.
This text comes from Wikipedia. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikipedia.

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