Pick of the Week – May 19-25, 2014

I work in the world of IT and spend the vast majority of my workday inside an 8 foot by 8 foot felt cubicle.  In an average weekday, I spend more time in that box than inside of my own home.  I’m not a programmer, but due to where I work and the environment where I spend most of my days, I could really relate this my pick this week, the song “Code Monkey” by Jonathan Coulton.

Jonathan Coulton is…I wouldn’t call him a geek singer, necessarily, but he does sing about many topics that are popular in the geek community, such as zombies, robots, and other planets.  If his name seems familiar to you, it may be due to a dispute he had last year with the creators of the television series, Glee.  In 2005, Coulton released a cover of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” with recasts the song in a style Wikipedia describes as “light acoustic” (I can’t come up with a better description of it than that, so I’ll steal theirs).  Glee then covered the Coulton version of the song, complete with lyric changes he’d made.  Coulton, not surprisingly, wasn’t thrilled.  In response, (per Wikipedia again), “The show's lawyers contended that they were within their legal rights, and that Coulton should be happy for the exposure, though Coulton received no acknowledgement or credit.”  This event coupled with the increasingly bad writing and inconsistent characterization finally got me to give up on Glee.

You might also know Coulton for his song, “Still Alive,” from the popular video game, Portal, but I think I may save that one for another week.

Back to “Code Monkey,” this is a song without science fiction references or other geek fodder.  Instead, it is the lament of a programmer as he deals with boring meetings, his annoying manager, and his crush on the office receptionist.  It’s a sweet song, very catchy, and lots of fun to play on Rock Band (Yes, it’s available).

I’m sure you all can find the original easily enough, but HERE is the man himself performing an acoustic version.

- Alan Decker

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