Love it or hate it, you can’t ignore it—technology is everywhere and such an important part of our lives, as evidenced by the fact that you’re most likely reading this on a screen.
For many of our best singers and songwriters, technology and its role was important enough to write songs for, many of which became masterpieces for their creative and revolutionary use of electronic sounds just as much for their messaging about how technology was slowly taking over the human race—and possibly even replacing many of its functions.
Fortunately, we’re not there yet, but if you want to be reminded that we may be slowly heading down that path, then look at a list of songs about technology to keep you handy!
Best Songs About Technology
If you’re looking to celebrate or criticize modern technology through music, then look no further – check out some of the best songs about technology there right now.
1. Digital Witness by St. Vincent
Released in 2014, St. Vincent’s “Digital Witness” is a powerful song about technology and its impact on our lives. In this song, Annie Clark, the singer-songwriter behind St. Vincent, expresses her frustration with how the internet has made us incapable of living without documenting everything.
By exploring themes such as surveillance culture, data privacy, and mass media consumption through music, songs like “Digital Witness” have become anthems for those seeking to raise awareness about the dangers of overusing digital devices in our daily lives.
2. Video Killed The Radio Star by The Buggles
The iconic song “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles was released in 1979 and quickly became a massive hit, being the first music video ever played on MTV. Written by Trevor Horn, Geoff Downes and Bruce Woolley, this classic track reflects a time of transition in music as technology began to emerge and take over.
In 2014, St. Vincent released her own version of the song, furthering its legacy and showing that it is still relevant today due to its timely message about technology’s impact on society.
3. Total Entertainment Forever by Father John Misty
Father John Misty’s song “Total Entertainment Forever” is a cautionary tale about the potential dangers of technology. Released in 2017, the track paints a vivid picture of how technology can be used to replace human interaction and entertainment.
In the song, Misty warns that technology could eventually replace all other forms of entertainment, from books to movies. This message resonates with listeners who are worried about the implications of technology on our society as a whole.
4. Word Starts Attack by Johnny Marr
Johnny Marr’s “Word Starts Attack” is a gem that rues the absolute murder of relationships by technology, according to the celebrated guitarist/songwriter.
Released in 2013, “Word Starts Attack” draws from the way people easily come together and just as easily fall apart in the digital era, thanks to text messages, touchpads, keyboards, and pixels.
Screens replaced hearts and faces, as observed by Marr—a scenario that those of us who made it through the last couple of years are all too familiar with.
5. Computer Age by Neil Young
Neil Young is one of those artists who somehow managed to reinvent himself with every album, just as he did with Trans, the album that houses “Computer Age”.
To me, this is a song that talks about how Young is still “human”, always will be, and will always need another human to let him know that he has a “heartbeat”, despite being surrounded by technology and the convenience it affords.
Just like all the tracks in the album, “Computer Age” features heavy usage of the vocoder’s robotic voice, the electric piano, and the synclavier to create a highly synthetic soundscape.
6. Everyday Robots by Damon Albarn
Turns out that being stuck in traffic jams needn’t be a bad thing—Gorillaz’s and Blur’s frontman Damon Albarn birthed “Everyday Robots” and its album stuck in one of California’s notorious jams.
The singer’s observation of people being glued to their phones inspired Albarn to write this acclaimed number.
Throw in electronic sounds and a music video that used cranial scans, CGI software, and facial reconstruction techniques to digitally deconstruct and reconstruct the singer’s face; it doesn’t get more tech than this!
7. Grasp And Still Connect by Paul Weller
This one’s another gem that rues how technology is making us forget how to talk to each other.
According to Paul Weller, technology is supposed to encourage better communication, but when machines are replacing humans, how does it serve its purpose? You get into a bus and you don’t buy your ticket from a conductor—you buy it from a machine.
“Grasp and Still Connect” is a reminder to not replace human interactions with machines—simply because it never can and should, but that’s the future we’re unfortunately (and dangerously) heading toward.
8. Deeper Understanding by Kate Bush
It took Sadie Sink’s battle with Vecna (“Stranger Things” spoiler alert) to make Kate Bush and “Running up That Hill” household names for this generation, but older fans will know that this is only of her best works.
I’m talking about “Deeper Understanding”, a song that has me convinced Bush had a future-predicting crystal ball hidden away somewhere.
In this song, Kate Bush talks about how humans are interacting less with each other and more with their computers, spending all day and night with machines and building deep, almost obsessive relationships with them (channeling Her vibes decades before the movie hit the screens).
9. (Nothing But) Flowers by Talking Heads
The band’s name Talking Heads itself seems to be a nod to technology if you ask me and then comes along “(Nothing But) Flowers” – featuring Johnny Marr, no less.
Surprisingly melodic, lighthearted, and filled with harmonies for a song about technology, this track pays tribute to a future overrun by nature—something the tech-loving natives aren’t too happy with.
10. Computer Love by Kraftwerk
Kraftwerk is one of those bands that wrote several songs about technology’s infiltration of everyday life and the possibly nightmarish future that this infiltration heralds, from “Computer World” to “The Robots”.
Frontman Ralf Hütter says it all when he croons about calling a number for a data date—a nod, once again, to the increasing dependence on machines such as your home computer even for things that typically require another human’s presence, like beating your loneliness.
Complemented by Karl Bartos skillfully handling a miniature analog synth, “Computer Love” is one of the German electronic band’s more playful numbers.
11. Metal by Gary Numan
Several covers of “Metal” exist, but I will always turn to OG Gary Numan’s smoothly metallic rendition of this popular track, from The Pleasure Principle album, when I want to be reminded of the android who’s almost human but can never completely be one.
It’s almost eerie how perfectly Numan’s vocals match the android that claims that it can learn to be a man if you just plug it in and turn it on. The opening lines almost evoke sympathy for this lead character before you’re reminded of what it wants.
With addictive industrial beats over a backdrop of mechanized sounds and analog synths and a concept way ahead of its time (the track was released in 1979), Numan proved that he was a genius, and more importantly, a pioneer, with this sci-fi-inspired number where he’s the android’s voice.
12. Deep Blue by Arcade Fire
This track is a frightening take on a post-apocalyptic future where human creativity has almost declined because of an increasingly mechanized environment.
It’s creepy to think of a future where you almost remember singing once, watching the century end with a dead star’s collapse, on a tiny screen.
I mean, give me the Infected any day as long as I can still sing about it!
13. The Girl And The Robot by Röyskopp ft. Robyn
Norwegian electronic duo Röyskopp rounds off the list with this critically and commercially acclaimed number featuring Swedish siren Robyn.
Deemed an electronic masterpiece and the highlight of the band’s Junior album, “The Girl and the Robot” talks about a lonely girl and her hardworking lover, who turns out to be—no prizes for guessing—a robot.
The cyber romance is an ill-fated one, as such romances often are, but that doesn’t stop the track from being a charming, techno-tinged, and even theatrical powerhouse.
About the Author
Gustavo is a music teacher and classical guitar player from Brazil, currently residing in Dublin, Ireland. He holds a graduate degree in Classical Guitar Performance from the Federal University of Pelotas. In 2020, Gustavo successfully completed a Master's degree in Sound Engineering from the Academy of Sound in Ireland.