Kraftwerk – The Man Machine
The world of music has had many innovators. However, it is a select few who can claim they birthed an entire genre. I’m not talking a weird, obscure sub-genre, either. I mean a whole dang pillar of popular music. Kraftwerk is one of those innovators as they effectively created the electronic pop music genre, and in 1978 their album The Man Machine was released as a perfect capsule of what they are about. This album has everything you’d think of when picturing of this iconic German band. All the beeps and boops are there, but now their brand of pop is packaged in a cleaner and tidier, or, more accurately, robotic way. Which is the point. Gone is the beauty of nature seen from the windows of your car or a train. In are automation and industry. Opening with the iconic “The Robots” and closing with the (also iconic) title track, The Man Machine is 36 minutes of (what was at the time) the future pressed onto vinyl.
Kraftwerk is up there in my list of all-time favorite bands. Their musical experimentation and innovation has certainly left its mark and their sound has indeed crept into my own musical output. I was even lucky enough to see them perform live back in 2004 (I’ll never forget one of the animatronic robots malfunctioned. Even robots can have a bad show!) I see them as an interesting case: One of a band being SO GOOD at what they did they became SO INFLUENTIAL and inspired an army of clones. These clones then all made similar music and eventually evolved to outpace their originators. However, even though there may now be millions of electronic artists out there, the respect and admiration for what Kraftwerk did is incredibly strong. They created the future and everyone knows it. Their work is an important milestone in the history of popular music and a must for any music aficionado’s collection.