I've been writing a lot of opinion and coding posts lately a few of which have generated some controversy. So, I thought that before I go on to write more serious stuff that generates even more controversy (this seems to be inevitable :)), I would have a bit of a break and have some fun. To that effect I have compiled a list of my favorite educational and funny songs for geeks. Rather than putting together a list of more "mainstream" geek anthems (if geek songs can ever be considered mainstream) which has been done before, I thought I would focus on the lighter and more educational side of geek music, although some songs are just such classics that I couldn't bear not to have them on this list (I am sure you will know them when you see them). Anyways, without further verbiage, here is the list, hope you like it and spot some old favorites.
Note: I'll post links to the lyrics of every song, but you know how those lyrics websites are, so don't forget to turn on your adblockers, or just listen to the songs instead :).
10. Pinky And The Brain – "Parts Of The Brain"
If you want to know what parts the brain is made out of, this is a fun way to learn. The lyrics can be found here.
9. The Firm – "Star Trekkin'"
If you're into Star Trek – The Original there is something about this song that just gets you. It's not particularly educational, but sure is funny (only if you know your Star Trek :)). The lyrics – such as they are – can be found here.
Ah! We come in peace, shoot to kill, shoot to kill, shoot to kill;
Ye cannae change the laws of physics, laws of physics, laws of physics;
8. Histeria! – "The Invasion Song"
Histeria! was an awesome cartoon from the late 90s when the edutainment kick was at it's height. These guys took it to a whole new level though. The show has never been released on DVD – as far as I know – so videos are ultra-hard to find. This song manages to fit half the invasions from recorded history into a couple of minutes – fun and you'll learn stuff. The lyrics are here, but do check out the lyrics to the rest of their songs, they even have one about Charles Babbage (I would have put that one here since it is arguably more geeky, but I can't find it anywhere :)).
Can't we all just get along,
Why do we have to fight?
Why not just accept you're wrong,
Admit that I was right?
Let's all be one big family like
Those in-laws that you have made
And for two weeks every summer, man,
You know…they're gonna invade!
7. Animaniacs – "Nations Of The World"
Like the "Brain Song" and the "Invasion Song" (above) and the "Element Song" (below), this is a list song. It is just brilliant all round, I wonder if it managed to fit all of the countries in – I believe they did – can anyone confirm? Here are the lyrics.
Burundi, Lesotho, and Malawi, Togo
The Spanish Sahara is gone,
Niger, Nigeria, Chad, and Liberia
Egypt, Benin, and Gabon.
6. Monty Python – "The Galaxy Song"
Monty Python is just a smorgasbord of geek music, but I just love this one, it is tiny and simple and full of nice factoids besides which it is clever and funny. All geeks love it. The lyrics can be found here.
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.
5. "Weird Al" Yankovic – "It's All About The Pentiums"
Weird Al is another constant source of geek music, but I have to say that the two songs on this list are his best work as far this niche genre is concerned. You gotta read the lyrics for this one, they are awesome.
Yeah, payin' the bills with my mad programming skills
Defraggin' my hard drive for thrills
You think your Commodore 64 is really neato
What kinda chip you got in there, a Dorito?
In a 32-bit world, you're a 2-bit user
You've got your own newsgroup, "alt.total-loser"
and way more
4. Tom Lehrer’s – "Element Song"
This old-school song just lists the elements, but does it brilliantly, of course it is a little out of date these days, (i.e. some new ones have been discovered :)). If you want to learn the elements you could certainly find many worse ways. Here are the lyrics.
These are the only ones of which the news has come to Havard,
And there may be many others, but they haven't been discavard.
3. Jonathon Coulton's – "Code Monkey"
This one has already become a classic so I couldn't really leave it out despite the fact that it is neither educational or particularly funny. It is however rather accurate in so many clever ways, have a listen and then a read.
Code Monkey think maybe manager want to write goddamn login page himself
Code Monkey not say it out loud
Code Monkey not crazy just proud
Much rather wake up eat a coffee cake
Take bath, take nap
This job fulfilling in creative way
such a load of crap
2. Barenaked Ladies – "The History of Everything"
You will recognize this one as the theme song to our favorite geek sitcom – "The Big Bang Theory", which gives it some special street-cred all on it's own, but it is actually a really great and clever song overall – despite being rather short. Try describing the history of the universe in under 2 minutes. Here are the words.
The dinosaurs all met their fate
They tried to leap but they were late
And they all died (they froze their asses off)
Australopithecus would really have been sick of us
Debating how we're here, they're catching deer (we're catching viruses)
1. "Weird Al" Yankovic – "White and Nerdy"
If you haven't heard this one, you've been living on mars for the last few years, with your eyes closed and your fingers stuck in your ears :). It is a totally brilliant parody of the song "Ridin'" by Chamillionaire, but you don't need me to describe it for you, here is Wikipedia. Lyrics are here, you absolutely have to look at these, like I said – genius.
My rims never spin to the contrary
You'll find they're quite stationary
I memorized Holy Grail really well
I can recite it right now and have you ROTFLOL
Only question I ever thought was hard
Was do I like Kirk or do I like Picard?
That makes it a top ten, but of course there is always something that gets left out of the top 10, so I'll just put a few more awesome songs right here down the bottom – I won't tell the list police if you don't :).
11. Animaniacs – "Yakko’s Universe"
Just another song about the universe – fun.
12. Monty Python – "Philospher's Song"
Learn some philosopher names to impress your friends at parties :).
13. Histeria! – "The Tale of the Tudors"
The whole history of the Tudors in about 3.5 minutes. The song is actually slightly inconsistent with itself :), can you spot where?
There you have it, funny, educational and a nice break from hardcore algorithm analysis or Rails hackery – whatever floats your boat :). If you have some favorite geek songs that you'd like to share then leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you. Oh and don't forget to subscribe to my RSS feed for more craziness (also seems to be inevitable – the craziness :)).