© 2022 KLCC

136 W 8th Ave
Eugene OR 97401

Contact Us

FCC Applications
Oregon's Willamette Valley seen from Eugene
NPR for Oregonians
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Shintaro Sakamoto, 'You Can Be A Robot, Too'

Americans can be pretty grumpy on the outside, even when they're actually happy and content on the inside. The Japanese are often the opposite: Civilized and happy on the outside, but perfectly miserable on the inside. (At least that's the assessment my Japanese friends shared with me back when I lived there).

It turns out there's a cheap, easy fix for this misery. It's not Prozac or electroshock therapy. More of a lobotomy, really. Simply slip a small computer chip between your eyebrows and become a robot. And, if Japanese psych-rock singer Shintaro Sakamoto is to be believed, in his surprisingly bubbly song "You Can Be A Robot, Too," it doesn't hurt a bit!

"It will free you from anxiety and nihilism," he sings, with the help of the Kamome Jido Gassyodan children's choir. "It's not expensive in the least!"

The video for "You Can Be A Robot, Too" features a series of animated water colors Sakamoto painted himself. The images are as vibrant and infectious as the song's playful banjo and lap steel guitar.

"Since my original concept for 'You Can Be A Robot, Too' was something like a song from a children's TV show, I had a children's choral group sing," Sakamoto tells us via email. "For the music video, I got the idea to make an animation that had that same sort of vibe to it. I thought it would be great if an actual children's show broadcast my video, but since that would never actually happen, I decided to put together my own sort of children's show within the video. Cute singing voices further highlight the frightening worldview the original song has."

"You Can Be A Robot, Too," is off Sakamoto's latest album Let's Dance Raw.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Robin Hilton is a producer and co-host of the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered.