This episode we take on Philip K Dick’s sci-fi-noir masterwork Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Faith, consumerism, technology, and morality get thrown into the dystopian blender and comes out a mind-bending humanity-questioning headtrip. I heard they even made a pretty decent movie about it starring the Han Solo guy (Blade Jogger or something).
Go ahead and test your humanness via emotive response to an artificial mix here. It’s a real “Dubious Cube of Margarine”
World War Terminus: Metal Machine Music – Lou Reed / Nuclear War – Sun Ra
It’s a fact that if you subject any non-android to Metal Machine Music, in its entirety, they will become a chickenhead.
Rick Deckard: Satisfaction – Devo
Bit of a Goldilocks dilemma for the Deckard song. Kate Bush’s “Running Up The Hill” is too girly. Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills” is too manly. Devo’s just right!
Penfield Mood Organ: Moody Fucker – Lambchop
Man, why can’t we really invent a dial-a-mood machine? While I am sure its a necessity in a pre-extinction society, it’d still be a heck of a lot of fun in this pre-pre-extinction society. Dial 194 for “Hungry for goat cheese and licorice”. Dial 76 for “Denial of impending baldness”. Dial 93 for “Unfounded self confidence in one’s writing, dancing, and pie-eating skills”.
Iran Decker: Never Make Me Cry – Camper Van Beethoven
Dial 443 for “Make me sadder than Nick Drake”.
Black-faced Suffolk Ewe: Black Sheep Boy #4 – Okkervil River
Well, even though earth is dying, you are deemed unworthy of escaping this death, and your job gives you constant existential crises, at least at the end of the day a man can dream. Of course, my dream wouldn’t be buying a sheep on a 30 year mortgage. But hey, different strokes…
Rosen Industries: Robots – Kraftwerk
‘Cause the “Less Human than Human” slogan just didn’t have the right ring.
Voigt-Kampff Test: Fight Test – Flaming Lips
Question: You’re at a Flaming Lips concert. Fake blood. Animal costumes. Wayne Coyne crushes fans to death with giant bubble. Crowd cheers. (Pupil dilation? Yup, you’re a replicant.) Note: This also applies to GWAR concerts.
Rachel Rosen: You’re Not Real, Girl – The Swans
A fake girlfriend…but still significantly more real than my “super hot Canadian girlfriend from summer camp” in 8th grade.
John Isidore: Are Friends Electric? – Tubeway Army
With electric friends like you, who needs electric friends?
Mercerism: Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 – Bob Dylan
Using this song here means I won’t be using it for any Shirley Jackson books. Shucks.
Buster Friendly: Transmission – Joy Division
Whenever I attempt to picture Buster Friendly, I only ever see Krusty the Klown. “Hey kids! Your religion is a sham! Hoo-Hoo-Hoo-Hahaha!”
Luba Loft: Opera House – Olivia Tremor Control
The way Deckard feels about the mechanized opera singer is close to how I feel about all electronic music. I often wonder how music so pretty and magnificient can be made from a machine, but eventually I mostly just want to “retire” the DJ.
The Police Station: Shot by Both Sides – Magazine
My favorite scene in the book has to be the android police station. It has Hitchcockian tension, Kafkaesque paranoia, Darwinian undertones, and of course Dickish plot twists. Or is that just Dicky twists? Basically, if you combined Hitchcock, Kafka, Darwin and Yogi Berra, you’d have Philip K. Dick.
Phil Resch: Bad Detective – New York Dolls
It’s your usual good cop, bad cop situation. And by bad cop, I mean total heartless sadistic sociopath cop.
Pris Stratton: In Every Dream Home a Heartache – Roxy Music
Only PKD can take a situation with a human and an android and somehow make the human be the inflatable doll of the relationship.
Roy Baty: Leader of the Pack – Shangri-Las
Can’t you visualize robo-greaser Rutger Hauer (leather jacket and all) riding his motorcycle around Mars just breaking human necks and making the ladybots swoon?…What? You can’t? Simple. Try dialing Moods 48-67: “Rutger Hauer Fantasizing”
The Spiders: Boris the Spider – The Who
Contrary to popular opinion, gleefully plucking off spider’s legs is no longer only a recreational activity of junior high school psychos.
Retiring the Andys: I Wanna Destroy You – The Soft Boys
Terminating robots hasn’t been so gleefully exciting since Megaman on the Nintendo. Or maybe not since Terminator. Or maybe that scene in Office Space with the printer.
The Toad/The End: Fool on the Hill – The Beatles
The only way to truly know you are human is by screwing up so thoroughly and so often that there is no doubt of your humanness. To be a decent human is to empathize with those who screw up because you know your time is coming.