Styx: Mr. Roboto Meaning
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Song Released: 1983
Mr. Roboto Lyrics
Mata ah-oo hima de
Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto,
Himitsu wo shiri tai
You're wondering who I am-machine or mannequin
With parts made in Japan, I am the modren man
I've got a secret I've been hiding under my...
anonymous Jan 30th, 2010 1:37am report
I suspect there is more to it than meets the eye. Writers tend to base their work off of personal experience. They will modify the circumstances to fit a storyline.
My theory is that Mr.Roboto is actually based on identity issues.
Mr. Roboto is the Alter ego
Kilroy is the true inner self
The song is between Mr. Roboto and Killroy. This is likely a moment of self-awareness by Kilroy.
"You're wondering who I am-machine or mannequin"
He is displaying his alter ego here. Mr. Roboto is perceived as cold and uncaring.
"With parts made in Japan, I am the modren man"
Parts made in Japan is used for story continuity. Modren likely is a play on the word modern. His alter ego is common amongst modern men to this day.
"I've got a secret I've been hiding under my skin"
Mr.Roboto is telling us that he is in fact an alter ego, not the persons real self.
"My heart is human, my blood is boiling, my brain I.B.M."
Here he is telling us that while he has feelings, his mind has full control over them. Kilroy is the flesh and blood of man, Mr. Roboto dwells within the more logical brain.
"So if you see me acting strangely, don't be surprised
I'm just a man who needed someone, and somewhere to hide
To keep me alive-just keep me alive
Somewhere to hide to keep me alive"
Kilroy is explaining Mr. Roboto is a defense mechanism. Though he admits from time to time he gets caught off guard and lets his true feelings show.
"I'm not a robot without emotions-I'm not what you see"
Further establishing that his alter ego is not the true man.
"I've come to help you with your problems, so we can be free
I'm not a hero, I'm not a saviour, forget what you know"
Mr. Roboto is explaining his function. It is thankless, but important. Not "we" is used, they rely on each other as they are one in the same.
"I'm just a man whose circumstances went beyond his control
Beyond my control-we all need control
I need control-we all need control"
Kilroy is here explaining his reasoning for developing Mr. Roboto. It saves him from having to deal with emotional issues. He is able to manipulate his perception. This gives him control of the world as it exists in his mind.
"I am the modren man, who hides behind a mask
So no one else can see my true identity"
Repeating what he has been saying all along, He is a modern man hiding behind an alter ego and he rarely if ever lets anyone see who he really is.
"Thank you very much, Mr. Roboto
For doing the jobs that nobody wants to
And thank you very much, Mr. Roboto
For helping me escape just when I needed to
Thank you-thank you, thank you
I want to thank you, please, thank you"
Here he is expressing thanks to his alter ego for dealing with the emotional times in his life. Helping Kilroy "escape" from the emotionally trying times. It is the context of a parting of ways, a "goodbye".
"The problem's plain to see: too much technology
Machines to save our lives. Machines dehumanize."
This could simply be part of the story, or is a comment that seems to be a bigger issue today than in 1983, the idea that we are desensitized by the machines and technologies that surround us. It is a double edged sword as technologies are also able to preserve life.
"The time has come at last
To throw away this mask
So everyone can see
My true identity...
I'm Kilroy! Kilroy! Kilroy! Kilroy!"
Here he is saying he wants to do away with his alter ego, Mr. Roboto and be his true self.
anonymous Aug 27th, 2009 8:00pm report
This song does not refer to escaping the world by using computers and the internet, because that stuff was not available when this came out in the early 1980's!! Nobody had cell phones, or even cordless phones! I know- I was born in the 60's.
anonymous Sep 18th, 9:13am report
I think this song is plain and simple about a man that some how is trying to say "who I am is not who I am and I wanna come out of the closet".
anonymous Jul 3rd, 2012 7:38pm report
you all are wrong silly. this is about a pink fluffy unicorn dancing on rainbows.
No but seriously, most of you are wrong. this song is about how machines are becoming our lives more and more as time goes by. some might argue that there werent those types of machines back when this song was written, but maybe the writer was smart and didnt live in a hole and realized "hey, more and more technology is kind of a good thing, but people are relying on it too much. maybe this is only gonna get worse as time goes on. oh s**t! maybe i should write a song about it to tell everybody!!!" so he did and people are interpretting it about "kilroy was here" or whatever but thats most likely wrong guys. with how much technology we rely on, we are going to be like robots in the future if we arent dead yet because of some world wide power outage. this song is like a story where a time traveler comes to this guy and says that he is what people are like in his day and age and that "machines de-humanize"!!!!! come on people maybe we should all go a bit like little house on the prairie and light some candles and send some letters instead of turning on lights and using phones and computers!!!!! you can live with out it children, dont worry! you wont die! you can live without it for a while!!! with that said, im going to go turn off my computer now. bye bye geniuses.
p.s. if you want to comment on my interpretation, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
no promises ill email back cuz i dont have any intentions of staying on my computer for very long.... and you should do the same you smartys!!!
anonymous Jun 11th, 2012 6:58pm report
Sometimes I just want to shoot myself. You're being way too metaphorical. There's an actual story behind the song, if you'd spend five minutes looking it up. Sometime in the future, rock is outlawed, and a popular artist is arrested at a big concert. The artist, Kilroy, overpowered one of the Mr. Roboto prison guards and hollowed him out, using his shell as a disguise. This is the official story behind the song.
anonymous May 29th, 2012 5:40am report
The lyric about too much technology describes how it feels to lose your job to a machine.
anonymous Dec 14th, 2011 12:09pm report
actully this song comes from a rock opera by styx called 'kilroy was here' kilroy is the main charecter's name is Robert Orin Charles Kilroy (ROCK)who was played by the singer/keyboard Dennis DeYoung. in it he was digusied as a robot to get out of the prison he was trapped in and at the end he shows himself to another charecter yelling i'm kilroy
anonymous Sep 21st, 2011 9:43pm report
This song is about a guy who killed roy and turned into a robot..
anonymous May 17th, 2011 5:15am report
"I've got a secret I've been hiding under my skin
My heart is human, my blood is boiling, my brain I.B.M."
This song is about a guy being turned into a cyborg and finally coming out of the closet as a member of the Borg Collective. At which point, he would begin helping to construct large cube shaped spacecraft. At this point the Borg still have emotions but in time that too will be purged in the sequel song "Mr. Data"
anonymous May 3rd, 2011 5:03pm report
I think Mr. Roboto is about a guy who went to prison,and the prison was gaurded by robots.The guy did really bad stuff before he went to jail.So,to break out,he disguised himself as a robot,and snuck out.He's been hiding from everyone for a long time,and "kilroy" is his nickname or something.
The song is part of the album; and the album is the 'Rock Opera' which Styx wanted to promote as part of their 'style'.
It is important to note that this was a dramatic change in style and direction for Sytx. Their first attempt at a 'focused' album was their previous album 'Paradise Theatre'. That whole album was about a simple theatre house, from birth to death - and the songs on the ablum told the story of how the theatre (and the people in and around) went from heyday to doomsday - and all that was left were the 'memories of paradise'. Why is this important?
The album Kilroy Was Here was a rock opera. To truly, and I mean truly, appreciate the whole story you had to be at the concert and see the 'show'; or see a video of it (which I have). It was truly a spectacle.
The theme of the entire album - mankind allowed two things to happen 1) censorship 2) laziness. The world had allowed music (most kinds) to be banned as it caused bad thoughts and subsequent bad actions. The world also realised it could let the technology take over more and more of the mundane thoughts. The curse of these two in combination was that the world was not free - in thought or in having inspiration.
Put it in a traditional musical format and each song has a clarity of place on the album (like Paradise Theatre):
Mr Roboto - the overture and introduction of the hero who, in his escape from jail, disguises himself as a 'Roboto'... Sheathing himself in the outside parts of the robot - and once outside sheds all of that material, and the mind-control things which were happening in the prison by shouting out 'I'm Kilroy!'
and, just like an opera or movie, the rest of the songs have a part of the story to tell, in order:
Cold War - the rebels annouce their intention to fight both the censorship and overuse of the Robotos
Don't Let It End - the hero tries to reconcile his prison time, his drive to get all people free to his lover who is wholly behind the government and the censorship
High Time - the young rebels start to organise and understand how they have the collective power to stop repression/censorship
Heavy Metal Poisoning - the bad guys have their say on why rock/uncontrolled music is bad for the world
Just Get Me Through This Night - the new rebel leader (not the hero) realises that if he could survive the battle he could follow his dreams without worry of the government running his life (like being a novelist, or a movie star - both of which only allow censored material to be used/shown)
Double Life - the bad guy boss reflects on the fact that he is a musician; but still is trapped by his own supporters into increasing the censorship... and that he caused the death which started the censorship movement; he tries to 'moralize' his actions...
Have'nt We Been Here Before - the new rebel leader and our hero meet to face the big bad guy at the 'scene of the crime', the place where someone was sacrificed (see previous) to start the censorship movement... Their faith is reaffirmed in one another and what they are doing....
Don't Let It End (Reprise) - the good guys one so they all sing and dance...
A rock opera/musical... If I may say so the stage show was spectacular! consider that this was about the time M Jackson was in the drivers seat for audience share the Styx show was deemed to be a very close second...
outsider13 Apr 5th, 2010 4:04pm report
The album has the story in it. He's thanking the "Mr Roboto" because while in prison he escapes by overpowering one and taking it apart to make a disguise so he can leave without anyone noticing him. What I don't get is what is is meant by "I am the Maldron Man."
anonymous Jan 22nd, 2010 1:57pm report
I heard someone say that the singer in Styx (or his friend) was in a japanise prison. there were robot guards there called "Robotos" My guess is one of the other prisoners disguised himself as a "Roboto" and helped the singer escape. Therefore, he said "Domo origato, Mr. Roboto." Which i think means "Thank you very much, Mr Roboto." (also mentioned in the song.)
anonymous Aug 3rd, 2008 8:28am report
From what I have gathered this song is about one of like 3 things, either a man who is part cyborg (ie: my brain IBM), a man who is captured and uses a robot dismantled to escape, or a man who uses a robot disguise in everyday life to help him escape from his past and/or hide from reality, perhaps a mix of all 3.
What is definitely fact, is at the end he says he is "Kilroy", a reference to the WWII cartoon character (the guy with the nose hanging over a fence peaking over?) that was graffiti-ed around the world, often in very obscure areas. It's said that Hitler thought Kilroy was an American spy because he would find the graffiti doodle in secret Nazi locations when in actuality it was already on certain items taken to those locations, making it appear otherwise. Which I think is why when he says he has a secret, etc, then reveals he's Kilroy, he's trying to say he's the secret spy; Kilroy.
anonymous Jul 21st, 2008 7:04pm report
This song actually means lot of things:
-As 1°act of the rock-opera "Kilroy Was Here"(Styx,1983), Is show the start of the story, about being imprisoned and escape by a robot then finding hisfriend and revealing his identity as the "rock star Kilroy".
-But this song has lots of secret meaning, like know the men depends of the machine and almost need to survive. And "Machines Des-humanize" means that people who waste all day in MSN or MySpace actually lose their real lives.
anonymous Sep 9th, 2007 9:05am report
The Japanese at the beginning is roughly translated to "Thank you Mr Roboto because I had a secret and you helped me". Asides from that, it relatively falls under what Manco(??) had said. It's a semi apocalyptic future where morality is the only way and robots do most of the dirty work that humans don't wish to do.... Robots for cleaning, robots for this, robots for that. Kilroy was imprisoned after someone died at one of his concerts and he manages to overthrow one of the Robotos at the prison where he was and dismantles it; but this only after seeing a pirated tv message from an underground movement to bring back rock and roll. It's also about trying to break away from the control of others and moral stereotypes.
The lyrical meaning of Mr. Roboto is multifarious. The lyrics: "My heart is human, my blood is boiling, my brain IBM" is a reference to the concept of man becoming machine: maintaining aspects of humanity yet his thoughts are governed by computers.
The mention of having a secret "under my skin" could be a reference to biometric technology that will someday allow everyday economic transactions to be made with an implanted bio-chip.
The singer thanks Mr. Roboto for "helping me escape when I needed to" and this is a reference to how computers and the Internet allow multitudes a fast "escape" from everyday reality by entering a fantasy zone.
The climax of the song when the singer "throws away this mask" and announces his true identify as "Kilroy" could be a reference to the tie-in between technology and people control. Kilroy could be a synonym for the government (i.e., the government has been controlling us all along with technology) or could refer to the coming Anti-Christ (this ties in with the earlier lyrics of the singer claiming he's "not a hero, not the savior -- forget what you know!").
anonymous Dec 11th, 2006 12:06pm report
Actually, this song is about a robot that speaks French. He is making a telephone call to his Robot stock broker consequently named "Mr. Roboto". He is thanking him for his great stock quotes. In Japanese. Which is weird, because his stock broker is German. I never really figured that part out. Moving on, anyways, sometimes when your in a jam, you sometimes find yourself wanting to be a robot. Or at least having some metal casing around your head for when you slam it into walls when you get home. At least that's how it works for me. Anyways, this guy wants to be a princess in an Irish castle for all of eternity, but his dad won't let him. He makes him try out for the football team. He can never really live up to his expectations, so he finally gives up and becomes a car salesmen. Thats what this song is really about. That and poultry.
anonymous May 6th, 2006 5:58am report
There is a good site that explains what the song is about. Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilroy_Was_Here_(album) and from there click on Mr. Roboto, and it will tell you.
anonymous Mar 30th, 2006 3:28am report
From what I understand, the character "Kilroy" is actually supposed to represent the late John Lennon. Like Kilroy, Lennon was also a massively popular rock star, who was often critisized by others for his lifestyle, controversy, and celebrity status. His influence on the youth of the 60's was certainly frightening to many parents, and political/ecclisiastical leaders. The lyric "Domo Aregato, Mr. Roboto." Represents the feelings and gratitude of Lennon's antagonists towards Yoko Ono for supposedly breaking up the Beatles. Yoko of course was Japanese herself, so naturally the gratitude is being expressed in her native tongue. When Kilroy (John) chooses to reveal his true identity, this represents his work as a solo artist, shedding the name of the Beatles and being able to fully express himself as a true artist.
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