What does Mr. Roboto mean?

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Styx: Mr. Roboto Meaning

Song Released: 1983

Mr. Roboto Lyrics

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto,
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...


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    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.



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    May 24th, 5:18am report

    Its about someone hiding on earth waiting for the right time to help us! ;)

    P.S I enjoyed reading everyone's interpretations, they where very creative, I'm glad to see people thinking we need more thinking so we can solve all of our problems instead of creating more.



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    Apr 28th, 2016 4:23pm report

    A great STYX song to cross over ahead of it's time as the ''future shock'' that has been catching up with our ''identity'' as Human beings in crisis thinking like programmed human robots and human machines that are beginning to short circuit their hearts into steel. In that some already have been ''converted'' like a MR.ROBOTO in this song to watch over ''KILROY THE HUMAN'' that still is trying to hold to his human feelings, but was put in jail and wanted to escape by the way of hiding in the shell body of MR.Roboto. Now fighting within the computer mind of Mr.Roboto that wants to control even to the point to kill the human Kilroy that now wants to get out of the machine and stay human.


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    Oct 15th, 2015 10:19pm report

    Jeez, this song is obviously about Alphonse Elric, Mr. Roboto, killing Roy Mustang!!!!


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    Aug 2nd, 2014 8:19am report

    This song is anti-japanese. It is counter-naziism. The Japanese in the early 80's were mirror-edged nazis with their preceding history in accordance with the one supreme leader Mr Roboto (otherwise known as Adolf Hitler). The Japs appear angry to the unbeknownst reptile eye because they are generally compacted into space ample for that only of a prepubescent chimpanzee.

    When at the end he starts to chant 'kill roy' he is referring to 'roy' as in foreigner (or as the japanese pronounce it 'forROYner') supporting there racist views and as it is a chant the audience gets the sense of how tribal the japs could be pre 1990.

    lots of love
    your boy
    Dr roboto jr


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    Jan 23rd, 2014 1:03pm report

    Listen to this song after watching the movie The World's End. You will know what it is about then.


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    Jan 18th, 2014 1:50pm report

    It's about Robert Orin Charles Kilroy, he got arrested by an anti rock group, and he destroyed a Roboto guard and hid in it's shell.


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    Sep 18th, 2013 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".


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    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 ihearthatersthanksforallthelove@yahoo.com
    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!!!


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    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.


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    May 29th, 2012 5:40am report

    The lyric about too much technology describes how it feels to lose your job to a machine.


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    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


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    Sep 21st, 2011 9:43pm report

    This song is about a guy who killed roy and turned into a robot..


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    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"


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    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.


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    Apr 5th, 2010 4:08pm report

    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...

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