Jonathan Coulton


Last week I blogged about Geoff Smith, a “geek musician.” Today, I’m going to blog about arguably the biggest geek musician, Jonathan Coulton.

He’s undoubtedly best known for composing the end credits song for the game Portal, “Still Alive,” though he also wrote the programmer anthem “Code Monkey.” They’re both great little songs.

He’s written much more music than that. In fact, he’s written dozens and dozens of songs, thanks to a friend suggesting that he write a song a week. So he did.

Whereas Geoff Smith has a Beatles vibe, Coulton’s a bit more like They Might Be Giants. His songs are quirky, but usually have a neat twist or emotional theme despite the odd theme.

For example, “Skullcrusher Mountain” is a love song, sung by an evil mastermind to the girl he’s kidnapped. There’s an odd, desperate sadness to it. “Code Monkey” is about a programmer’s love for a co-worker, which he can’t quite bring himself to do anything about. “Flickr” is composed entirely of photo titles from Flickr, and after a while does give you a feel for the breathtaking number of hobbies and interests out there.

Best of all, he offers all his music as standard MP3 downloads off his site, for $1 each ($10 per album). You can also listen to previews of each, and he offers a rotating set of his songs free.

The songs are fun and poignant. Worth a try.

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