Coin-Operated Boy

"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"
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"


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".

Since January 2007, "Coin-Operated Boy" is used in a commercial for the Austrian jam brand Darbo.[5]

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. ^ "Darbo Homepage: Description of commercial". Retrieved 2012-01-01.

External linksEdit