Robot Love Songs

May 31, 2019

Beep Boop Beep. Robots can't love us, but we can write love songs about them. In this music parody game, contestants identify the real and fictional robots as Jonathan Coulton serenades.

Heard on Trace Adkins And Carlene Carter: Cowboys And Cowpunks.

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OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Next we have a game about robot love songs. When robots break up, do they just say, connection failed?

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: And then the other one says, 404 - feelings not found.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Let's meet our contestants. First up, Peter Murrey - You're an environmental attorney.

PETER MURREY: Yes.

EISENBERG: And also, you are an expert at catching snakes.

MURREY: Yes. If you grow up in the country in Tennessee, you've got to be one.

EISENBERG: Oh, yeah. So what's the secret?

MURREY: So I was raised on "The Crocodile Hunter." So if you wear khaki, you will go a long way.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: That's it?

MURREY: Wear khaki and avoid the head.

EISENBERG: Yes. OK, very good. So, Peter, when you ring in, we'll hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Your opponent is Jarrod Walker. You're an AV technician for the state of Tennessee, and you have a strange fixation on vans - the vehicles, not the shoes.

JARROD WALKER: (Laughter) Yeah.

EISENBERG: Why are you so obsessed with vans?

WALKER: I'm really not sure. I was never a fan of the standard car shape, like sedan. But...

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Never a fan?

WALKER: No, not really. It's lame. But yeah, just long roof - vans, wagons. But then I started getting into - see a lot of Japanese stuff, and they have some amazing vans. They've had some great stuff. And it's my dream to get a sweet Japanese van.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: That's awesome. OK, Jarrod, when you ring in, we'll hear this.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Remember, Peter and Jarrod, whoever has more points after two games will go to the final round. This is a music parody game, so Jonathan Coulton, take it away.

JONATHAN COULTON: Thank you, Ophira. Robots - they can't love us...

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

COULTON: But we can love them.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) It's true.

COULTON: We've rewritten famous love songs to make them about real and fictional robots, cyborgs, automatons, etc. Ring in and identify the bot. And if you get that right, for a bonus point, you can name the original song or the artist who made it famous. Here we go.

(Singing) My disc-shaped love, self-recharging, I think you missed a spot right here on my lips. I used to feel so dirty.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: (Singing, playing guitar) Your vacuum gets me hot.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: (Singing, playing guitar) You clean spilled chips.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Jarrod.

WALKER: The bot - the Roomba.

COULTON: It is the Roomba. That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

WALKER: And I believe that is "Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers.

COULTON: Yeah, you got it.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: All right. Here we go.

(Singing) Never seen you looking so brutal as you did tonight. The rancher's daughter now has might. I've never seen so many men's lives being destroyed by a host. Deathbringer is more than a boast. Now I am engrossed.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Jarrod.

WALKER: I think the bot is Dolores from "Westworld."

COULTON: Yeah, that's correct.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Song or artist?

WALKER: Someone said Bill Withers earlier. It's wrong but, you know, whatever.

COULTON: Yeah. Say Bill Withers.

WALKER: Yeah.

COULTON: Yeah. It's not Bill Withers.

WALKER: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: That's "Lady In Red" by Chris de Burgh.

(Singing) I'll make love to you in your body new. You're AI's so choice with that James Spader voice. I'll be in your thrall when Avengers call, and I will not let go till you kill us all.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Peter.

MURREY: Ultron.

COULTON: Ultron is the robot we were looking for.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Bonus point if you can name the song or artist.

MURREY: I'm just going keep the train going with Bill Withers.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Someday in the future, that's going to be correct again.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: But it is not this time. That was "I'll Make Love To You" by Boyz II Men.

(Singing) From the red planet you tended. You sent lots of pictures. They're splendid. Five thousand sols it sended, power down and rest with me. Your chassis' (ph) NASA property.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Peter.

MURREY: Rest in peace, Opportunity.

COULTON: Yeah, Opportunity. That's correct.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: I appreciate the shout-out. That's very kind of you. And, for a bonus point, can you name the song or artist?

MURREY: Well, if I can't go with Bill Withers again...

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

MURREY: I'll just go with Trace Adkins.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Nope.

COULTON: No, that was John Mayer, "Your Body Is A Wonderland." OK, here we go. This is your last clue.

(Singing) I've watched you hunt for plants among debris. You used your laser cannon arm to shoot at WALL-E. Now even Nashville's gone from this dead globe. So hey, is it me you want to probe?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Jarrod.

WALKER: That's EVA from "WALL-E."

COULTON: Yeah, that's right.

WALKER: The song is Lionel Richie's "Hello."

COULTON: Yeah, you got it.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Great game. Jerrod is in the lead.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: If you've ever been accused of being an algorithm in an AOL chatroom, you should be on our show. Go to amatickets.org to find out how to be a contestant. Coming up, we'll talk to country music queen Carlene Carter, and we'll play a game with her all about pinball machines. I'm going to find out if she knows her plungers from her flippers or her bumpers from her kick-out holes. I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.