Coulton, Jonathan

Tagged: Music | People

(1970-    ) US singer-songwriter, whose prolific early work in 2005-2006 was particularly notable for its use of sf tropes in wistfully comic first-person songs about geek masculinity, especially in the EP Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow (2005). In "Better" the singer's girlfriend is slowly turning into a Cyborg; in "The Future Soon" a teenager fantasizes about a career as a robotically augmented Mad Scientist, "when the things that make me weak and strange get engineered away"; in "Skullcrusher Mountain" another mad scientist ineptly serenades a captive; in "I Crush Everything" a giant squid laments life Under the Sea as a Monster; in "Chiron Beta Prime" a family of enslaved abductees send redacted Christmas greetings from their prison Asteroid; in "Re: Your Brains" the former office bore leads a Zombie assault in mind-numbing management-speak. Coulton worked in software design – later the subject of his signature song "Code Monkey" (2006) – before turning professional with the internet-based Thing a Week project and resulting album series in 2005-2006, which saw a new song recorded and released online each week for a year; this was a major financial and professional success, but creatively draining, and five years intervened before his next album Artificial Heart (2011), which eschewed sf themes aside from two songs written for the Portal Videogames (see Half-Life) in the in-game persona of a psychotic machine intelligence (see AI). Joss Whedon's Internet musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (2008) is strikingly Coultonesque in material and themes. [NL]

Jonathan Coulton

born New York City: 1 December 1970



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