A Machine Spiritual (In The People's Key)

Album: The People's Key (2011)


  • Conor Oberst explained the meaning of this haunting atmospheric ballad to NME: "It's the idea of when in the not-so-distant future, artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence and humanity as a notion is just kind of quaint."
  • This is one of a handful of songs that Oberst wrote before sessions for The People's Key commenced. He told Billboard magazine the rest of the songs "were closely related and tied together and more deliberate... to where I saw [the album] was headed." The result weaves together topical, social and political issues, to help tie things together.

    "I don't think it's overtly political," Oberst explained. "There's a certain desire for common ground between people, just the idea that we're all kind of in the same boat and are all the same as far as the way human beings go. There's this future that's coming that's really trying to, I think, divide us more and in a lot of ways strip us of our human nature in the sense that now when you walk into a room it's like 20 people all staring down at this little screen in their hands, typing away, not looking at each other. That's kind of scary, and it's going to just keep going that way. I think it's a dangerous position to put ourselves in because our only chance of solving problems or disagreements is by talking to each other and seeing ourselves in each other."


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Yacht Rock!Song Writing

A scholarly analysis of yacht rock favorites ("Steal Away," "Baker Street"...) with a member of the leading YR cover band.

Amy GrantSongwriter Interviews

The top Contemporary Christian artist of all time on song inspirations and what she learned from Johnny Carson.

Justin Hayward of The Moody BluesSongwriter Interviews

Justin wrote the classic "Nights In White Satin," but his fondest musical memories are from a different decade.

Incongruent Opening ActsSong Writing

Here's what happens when an opening act is really out of place with the headliner, like when Beastie Boys opened for Madonna.

Scott StappSongwriter Interviews

The Creed lead singer reveals the "ego and self-fulfillment" he now sees in one of the band's biggest hits.

Art Alexakis of EverclearSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer of Everclear, Art is also their primary songwriter.