On technology and song lyrics…

I love it when technology creeps from innovation to ubiquity. Or – more to the point – I love that very first set of transitions, when you’re watching a movie or a TV show and suddenly for the first time they’re actually using e-mail or talking about Googling someone. In analysing the sensation, I keep coming back to a mingling of a few different experiences – one is of a private world becoming public, one is of elation and approval and one is (weirdly) a sensation of vindication (even if the technology has been around for years). I suppose there’s something profoundly reassuring about seeing your strange habits and vocabulary represented to the world as being totally normal – exotic or cool even – particularly when it’s done in a form that hundreds of thousands of people might encounter. Maybe it’s a bit like being accepted at school or something.

Here’s an example of one of those moments, from a medium (rock song lyrics) that isn’t exactly known for its take-up and referencing of breaking technologies:

My phone’s on vibrate for you
Electroclash is karaoke too
I try to dance, Britney Spears
I guess I’m getting on in years

My phone’s on vibrate for you
God knows what all these new drugs do
I guess to have no more fears
But still I always end up in tears

My phone’s on vibrate for you
But still I never ever feel from you
Pinocchio’s now a boy
Who wants to turn back into a toy

So call me
Call me in the morning
Call me in the night
So call me
Call me anytime you like

My phone’s on vibrate for you
For you [Vibrate by Rufus Wainwright]

5 replies on “On technology and song lyrics…”

Favorite is Ginuwine’s homage to the two way pager, with the added bonus a beat built out of two way ring tones… From all the way back in 2001 and its already an homage to a dead technology. Final note, for all the European’s who think that American’s don’t text, two ways where a popular technology that did nothing but “text”. American’s text just fine, just not with their cell phones.
Ginuwine, “2 Way”
This is for all you who are connected with
The two-way. Ya heard?
It’s a two-way street, it a two-way door
It’s a two-way life (Pick it up and two way me)
It’s a two-way sky it’s a two-way tel
It’s a two-way life, pick it up girl and hit Me
Girl it’s so easy, it ain’t as hard as you trying
To make it seem
All you gotta do is pick it up, compose a
Message straight to me
I won’t hear your voice but all you thoughts,
That’s what I sure will se
Go to and push them key, and tell me
All of them freaky things
(Now you got some choices to make, you got
them colorful girl one,
you got them black ones, platinum ones…well me?)
I prefer that platinum thing, to go with all my
platinum chains
Plus it’s hot to death I figure, plus I’m just
That platinum nigga
If it’s dark light it up, put ’em up. Put ’em up
If it’s closed, flip it up, in the club, beam me
I got mine on vibe, so if you get me, I’ll feel you
I’ll call you back real quick, no lie better yet,
I’ll just reply
I’ll be within reach baby, I’ll be right at your
Beck and call
Even if I’m with the fellas, or kickin it down at
The mall
Just type what you wanna say, go down to the
send and hit it
All your wants will be fulfilled, ’cause I’ll get it
In just a minute
( Yo , I want ya’ll to know though, it ain’t no lock
on this joint
So, if you not careful, you might get himmed
up knawmean)
I recommend if you play the game, don’t think
She won’t do the same
If you a playa know when to fold, the game is to be told,
not to be sold
If it’s dark light it up, put ’em up. Put ’em up
If it’s closed, flip it up, in the club, beam me
Now I got mine on loud, if you get at me I’ll
Hear you
I reply back quick it’s true, betta yet I’ll just
come to you

I like Barcelona’s ‘I Have the Password to Your Shell Account’, which you can download at Epitonic
But I guess the kick of elation and vindication is greater when it’s a more mainstream act. I liked Destiny’s Child’s mention of the internet in ‘Survivor’: “You know I’m not gon diss you on the internet,
Cause my mama taught me better than that.”

Momus in ’97:
“Axiom 1 for the world we’ve begun:
Your reputation used to depend on
What you concealed
Now it depends on what you reveal
The age of secretive mandarins who creep on heels of tact
Is dead: we are all players now in the great game of fact instead
So since you can’t keep your cards to your chest
I’d suggest you think a few moves ahead
As one does when playing a game of chess
Axiom 2 to make the world new:
Paranoia’s simply a word for seeing things as they are
Act as you wish to be seen to act
Or leave for some other star
Somebody is prying through your files, probably
Somebody’s hand is in your tin of Netscape magic cookies
But relax:
If you’re an interesting person
Morally good in your acts
You have nothing to fear from facts
Axiom 3 for transparency:
In the age of information the only way to hide facts
Is with interpretations
There is no way to stop the free exchange
Of idle speculations
In the days before communication
Privacy meant staying at home
Sitting in the dark with the curtains shut
Unsure whether to answer the phone
But these are different times, now the bottom line
Is that everyone should prepare to be known
Most of your friends will still like you fine”
— Momus: The Age of Information (from the 1997 album Ping Pong)

I like the first line of Boomtown Rat’s “I don’t like monday”:

“The silicon chip inside her head Gets switched to overload,..”

That’s perfect. Brain == microprocessor. Not just that, they said it “silicon chip.”
I am looking for more lyrics like that (technology in lyrics). I seem to remember that there’s Rush song with technology in it. (Or perhaps more than one songs?)

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