Mr. Roboto – Interpretation #2
by: Jim Shine
I suspect there is more to it than meets the eye. Writers tend to base their work off of personal experience. They will modify the circumstances to fit a story-line. My theory is that Mr. Roboto is actually based on identity issues.
Mr. Roboto is the Alter ego
Kilroy is the true inner self
The song is between Mr. Roboto and Killroy. This is likely a moment of self-awareness by Kilroy.
“You’re wondering who I am-machine or mannequin”
He is displaying his alter ego here. Mr. Roboto is perceived as cold and uncaring.
“With parts made in Japan, I am the modern man”
Parts made in Japan is used for story continuity. Modern likely is a play on the word modern. His alter ego is common amongst modern men to this day.
“I’ve got a secret I’ve been hiding under my skin”
Mr.Roboto is telling us that he is in fact an alter ego, not the persons real self.
“My heart is human, my blood is boiling, my brain I.B.M.”
Here he is telling us that while he has feelings, his mind has full control over them. Kilroy is the flesh and blood of man, Mr. Roboto dwells within the more logical brain.
“So if you see me acting strangely, don’t be surprised
I’m just a man who needed someone, and somewhere to hide
To keep me alive-just keep me alive
Somewhere to hide to keep me alive”
Kilroy is explaining Mr. Roboto is a defense mechanism. Though he admits from time to time he gets caught off guard and lets his true feelings show.
“I’m not a robot without emotions-I’m not what you see”
Further establishing that his alter ego is not the true man.
“I’ve come to help you with your problems, so we can be free
I’m not a hero, I’m not a savior, forget what you know”
Mr. Roboto is explaining his function. It is thankless, but important. Not “we” is used, they rely on each other as they are one in the same.
“I’m just a man whose circumstances went beyond his control
Beyond my control-we all need control
I need control-we all need control”
Kilroy is here explaining his reasoning for developing Mr. Roboto. It saves him from having to deal with emotional issues. He is able to manipulate his perception. This gives him control of the world as it exists in his mind.
“I am the modern man, who hides behind a mask
So no one else can see my true identity“
Repeating what he has been saying all along, He is a modern man hiding behind an alter ego and he rarely if ever lets anyone see who he really is.
“Thank you very much, Mr. Roboto
For doing the jobs that nobody wants to
And thank you very much, Mr. Roboto
For helping me escape just when I needed to
Thank you-thank you, thank you
I want to thank you, please, thank you”
Here he is expressing thanks to his alter ego for dealing with the emotional times in his life. Helping Kilroy “escape” from the emotionally trying times. It is the context of a parting of ways, a “goodbye”.
“The problem’s plain to see: too much technology
Machines to save our lives. Machines dehumanize.”
This could simply be part of the story, or is a comment that seems to be a bigger issue today than in 1983, the idea that we are desensitized by the machines and technologies that surround us. It is a double edged sword as technologies are also able to preserve life.
“The time has come at last
To throw away this mask
So everyone can see
My true identity…
I’m Kilroy! Kilroy! Kilroy! Kilroy!”
Here he is saying he wants to do away with his alter ego, Mr. Roboto and be his true self.