Automatic Systematic Habit

Album: Not Your Kind of People (2012)

Songfacts®:

  • This electronic anthem finds Shirley Manson singing, "Men like you keep me up all night. You want your women at home and your bit on the side."

    "The song started out an a little jam called Electro," said drummer Butch Vig to MusicRadar. "I programmed a synth progression over a drumbeat at home and brought it in. Everybody loved it. Shirley came up with some lyrics and started singing in this faux German accent. We were like, 'OK, it's really cool, but maybe you should lose the German accent.' We laughed about it, though, and the point is that she heard something very Krautrock, a little techno. We walked around the studio mimicking the singer from Rammstein."

    "Initially, the song was very electronic," he continued, "but after Shirl did her final vocals, we toughened the track up. We changed the chords from major to minor, and Steve (Marker) came up with that New Order-type riff – I think he did it on a bass."
  • Asked what inspired the song, Shirley Manson said: "I'm a very flawed individual, but I'm very forthright and I don't play games with people. At the same time, I know people aren't always so straight with me. That's been been a real frustration for me my whole life. I find it exhausting trying to figure out what people are trying to say – or sometimes, what they're trying not to say. It's driving me bananas now just thinking about it, but anyway, that's what inspired the song!" (Ponystep, 2012)
  • The song is the opening track on Not Your Kind Of People. Vig explained to MusicRadar why they decided to kick off their fifth album with this song: "Shirl did a vocal on the bridge, and we liked that idea so much that we used it for the intro; we wrote a part that's almost prog rock, kind of like Cream's White Room.' As soon as we did that, we said, 'Oh, this should start the record – it's so huge!'"

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