Karma Police – Radiohead Song Meaning

The most successful album of the rock band Radiohead was the third studio album called OK Computer (1997). This work of British musicians was nominated for a Grammy. It went double platinum in the US and triple platinum in the UK and was included in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums list. And readers of Q magazine twice voted it the best album of all time.

One of the most striking compositions of OK Computer was the track Karma Police (“Karma Police”).

The history of creation and the meaning of the song Karma Police

The composition began with a joke that the band members liked to repeat. When one of them behaved inappropriately, the others said they would call the karma police to detain him.

At the same time, Ed O’Brien, in an interview with Humo magazine, said that he considers the theory of previous lives to be nonsense, but “you have to believe in something.” In contrast, Thom Yorke is not so skeptical:

The thought that there is something like karma pleases me.

The main idea of ​​the Karma Police song was also mostly explained by Yorke. At first, he said that he wrote it under the impression of the negative emotions that other people scornfully ridicule him. A few years later, he stated the following:

It is for those who are forced to work in a large company. This is a song against bosses. To hell with middle managers!

Members of Radiohead have repeatedly stressed that the song is partly humorous, so it shouldn’t be taken too seriously. However, this does not prevent individual critics from finding in the text a protest against capitalism and other dubious ideas.

Karma Police was released as the second single from OK Computer and peaked at number eight on the UK Singles Chart.

Clip Karma Police – Radiohead

Check out the music video for the song Karma Police directed by Jonathan Glaser.

Interesting Facts

  • Many believe that the melody of Karma Police is reminiscent of the song Sexy Sadie by The Beatles.
  • During the filming of the video, Thom Yorke almost suffocated from carbon monoxide in the car he drives in the video.

Karma Police Lyrics

Karma police arrest this man
He talks in maths
He buzzes like a fridge
He’s like a detuned radio

Karma police arrest this girl
Her Hitler hairdo
Is making me feel ill
And we have crashed her party

This is what you get
This is what you get
This is what you get
When you mess with us

Karma police, I’ve given all I can
It’s not enough
I’ve given all I can
But we’re still on the payroll

This is what you get
This is what you get
This is what you get
When you mess with us
For a minute there
I lost myself
I lost myself
Phew for a minute there
I lost myself
I lost myself

Karma Police Lyrics

Karma police arrest this man
He says something incomprehensible
It buzzes like a refrigerator
He’s like a detuned radio

Karma police, arrest that girl
From her hairstyle a la Hitler
I’m getting sick
And we crashed her party

That’s what you get
That’s what you get
That’s what you get
When you contact us

Karma police, I gave everything I had
This is not enough
I gave everything I had
But we still haven’t settled

That’s what you get
That’s what you get
That’s what you get
When you contact us
Give me a sec,
I’m lost,
I’m lost
Phew, second
I’m lost
I’m lost

Song quote

Memorable, perplexing, graceful…

Steve Huey

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