Released: July 16, 1977
Peak: 9 US, 30 UK, 11 CN, 10 AU
Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.06 UK, 1.56 world (includes US and UK)
Genre: progressive rock lite
Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
All tracks written by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson except where noted.
The ‘v’ after the song listing indicates who does lead vocals, if known.
Total Running Time: 41:02
4.207 out of 5.00 (average of 18 ratings)
Quotable: A “collage of well-crafted songs [that] leaves the listener with much to contemplate.” – Mike DeGagne, All Music Guide
Awards: (Click on award to learn more).
About the Album:
“I Robot has been a staple in the playlists of stereo shops around the globe since its release in 1977. You could always count on an Alan Parsons album when you wanted to test a stereo system. Parsons is a true master of the studio, and to many, this album was (and still is) his finest hour.” SM
“The second of former Beatles/Pink Floyd engineer Parsons' long string of prog-rock concept albums was also his commercial breakthrough.” SS "With its title originating from an Isaac Asimov novel, I Robot’s main concept is one that deals heavily in the field of science fiction.” MD The theme of the album is, "according to the liner notes, a meditation on ‘the rise of the machine and the decline of man.’” SS Parsons uses this as his platform for voicing his "concern with the onslaught of machinery and its inevitable takeover of man, both in a physical sense and a spiritual one.” MD He envisioned a "world where man attempts to create in his own image, and thusly falls from his pinnacle…quite often, visions this big fail because they're too big. Thankfully, Parsons managed to avoid this trap, and turned in what is certainly one of the highlights of his long career.” DE
“I Robot is a study in contrasts.” DE It showcases a “wise blend of keyboard-dominated instrumentals” MD that are “alternately stately and serious (with liberal use of Andrew Powell's orchestral arranging skills) or electronic and impersonal.” DE These more robotic instrumentals are then “partnered with the warmth of the vocals during the lyrical songs” MD that are “for the most part, lush and melodic.” DE “This develops a powerful dynamic of the organic versus the mechanical that contributes to the vaguely unsettling nature of the CD.” DE
“The pulsing instrumental electronics” SM of “the mechanical-sounding title track is the opening song, setting the tone for the album's futuristic motif.” MD
“Man's regret for his mechanical creations sweeps through I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You.” MD “The guitar-driven, almost funky” DE song was "an unlikely but catchy hit” SS featuring “a passionate Lenny Zakatek singing lead.” MD
“The human being’s rebellious nature is the theme behind Breakdown, sung by ex-Hollies member Allan Clarke.” MD It is a “driving, intense” DE song with a “triumphant choral ending” DE that solidified a place alongside “I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You” as an album rock staple.
“The real gems are the tracks you probably haven't heard. Some Other Time is elegant, breathtaking, a massive rise and fall of sheer energy.” DE
“The strength of the human will is the focal point of Don’t Let It Show, a heartening ballad performed by Dave Townsend.” MD
“The most infectious track” JF is “the simple, heartfelt, and beautiful Day After Day (The Show Must Go On).” DE This “spontaneous excursion into optimism and urban boredom” JF is “the best song on the topic of just moving on with your life until Queen’s song of the same name.” DE
“The almost trance of Genesis Ch. 1 V. 32” DE closes the album; “the promising tempo and air of this song invoke hope for all mankind.” MD
Through “Parsons’ flawless production and engineering, along with Eric Woolfson’s stellar songwriting” DE and “the sonic wizardry and immaculate musicianship that would become the Project's trademark through the ‘80s,” SS this is a masterful “collage of well-crafted songs that aren't easily forgotten.” MD "As a final product, I Robot leaves the listener with much to contemplate;” MD it “is not casual listening; it rather demands you pay attention to it.” DE In the end, “this album still remains one of this band's most accomplished pieces.” MD “What all this boils down to is that I Robot is a rose amid the concrete gray of the Metropolis.” JF
Notes: A 2013 reissue added more than a dozen rehearsals, rough mixes, and demos.
Resources and Related Links:
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First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 8/27/2021.
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