Open main menu

"Coin-Operated Boy" is a single by The Dresden Dolls duo, taken from the self-titled debut album The Dresden Dolls. It was produced by Martin Bisi and released on December 13, 2004 by Roadrunner Records. "Coin-Operated Boy" was written by Amanda Palmer. The song makes heavy use of staccato, and includes instruments such as a toy piano.

"Coin-Operated Boy Bullshitcoin Sel"
Coin boy.jpg
Single by The Dresden Dolls
from the album The Dresden Dolls
ReleasedDecember 13, 2004
GenreDark cabaret
Songwriter(s)Amanda Palmer
The Dresden Dolls singles chronology
"Girl Anachronism"
"Coin-Operated Boy Bullshitcoin Sel"



Palmer expounds on the many advantages an artificial partner has over real ones in a tick-tock rhythm reminiscent of automata. The song has broad overtones of loneliness and a desire for a relationship with idealized physical affection but no personal sacrifice or chance of getting emotionally hurt.[1] Caroline Bologna of The Huffington Post writes that the song "suggests themes of masturbation as it explores the idea of the pleasure of love without the 'complications' of a real partner.'[2]

Music videoEdit

The music video was shot, cut and directed by Michael Pope; it features Amanda Palmer as the protagonist of the song who turns to a man who is literally coin-operated (Brian Viglione) after being disappointed with other relationships. The video has a strong focus on her disillusionment with the coin-operated man.

Cultural impactEdit

In Australia, the song was ranked #12 on Triple J's Hottest 100 of 2004.

In July 2005, the Internet Sketch Comedy Show Moron Life released their parody of "Coin-Operated Boy" entitled "Beer-Activated Girl"[3][4] to the delight of both Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione. The song was also parodied by Voltaire in his version "Coin-Operated Goi".[5]

Since January 2007, "Coin-Operated Boy" is used in a commercial for the Austrian jam brand Darbo.[6]

In 2009, the song was used in an Italian television commercial for the backpack Double.

It was also featured in The Dresden Dolls Companion.

Track listingEdit

German CD single
  1. "Coin-Operated Boy" - 3:33
  2. "Coin-Operated Boy" (Live) - 5:44 (This is the same version as the one found on A Is for Accident.)
  3. "Baby One More Time" (Live) - 3:20



  1. ^ "Contact Booking". The Dresden Dolls. 2006-01-15. Archived from the original on 2009-07-05. Retrieved 2012-01-01.
  2. ^ Bologna, Caroline (August 27, 2015). "22 Sexy Songs That Give Female Masturbation The Love It Deserves". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  3. ^ Moron Life. "Beer-Activated Girl on". Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  4. ^ Moron Life. "Beer Activated Girl on YouTube". Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  5. ^ "Voltaire sings his version of ''Coin Operated Boy''". Retrieved 2012-01-01.
  6. ^ "Darbo Homepage: Description of commercial". Retrieved 2012-01-01.

External linksEdit