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April 19, 2015

Karma Police (Radiohead) - Song Review


...Yeah I dunno what that photo is supposed to be either.

Reviewed By: KVR (Head Writer)

Album: OK Computer

Artist: Radiohead

Release Date: 1996

Genre: Alt-Rock

Verdict: 15+ For Heavy Emotional Content



Content:

Violence:

--A panicked man runs away from a pursuing car. He eventually has to stop to catch his breath, and notices a trail of fuel leading up to the car. He sets it on fire, causing the resulting fire to pursue the car and eventually set it alight, with the fire engulfing the entire car and destroying it.

Spiritual Elements:

--The idea of Karma is interspersed throughout the song. The theme of the song is of paying the consequences for your actions, and of an external force punishing you for it.

Mature Lyrics:

--"For a moment there, I lost myself. I lost myself." Going with the theme of Karma and being punished for your actions, this line signifies the person in question having an identity crisis after doing something out of character for them, or realising that they've crossed a moral line which they swore not to ever cross.

--A reference to a "Hitler hairdo", as if implying that the person in question is a domineering, controlling or just plain evil human being.

Mood: (Downbeat)

The song is about guilt and a person going through an identity crisis. The tone is rather solemn and lonely, with the narrator wailing in a empty void towards the end of the song.
 
Review of Song:

Radiohead, most well known for their reservedly weird hit "Creep", produces one of the finest and most emotional songs of the last two decades, embodied in a rather unassuming song: Karma Police.

Simply put, the song is about guilt and identity. The guilt of past actions coming back to haunt us, hence "Karma Police". This puts the narrator in a destructive tail-spin centering on his own identity, as evidenced by the last few lines of the song where he bemoans losing himself...if only for a "minute".

This is where the genius subversion comes in: The song sounds very downbeat throughout, yet in the end, the spiral downwards is halted and sent right back to where it came from by the same person it sucked in to it's neverending void.

The music video gives us the answer within it's equally unassuming video, which dodges pretentious to give us genuine depth. The video represents a man being chased by his guilt, before finally standing up for himself and burning it the ground.

His guilt is represented by a car in the video, which slowly but surely chases him down a long and dark road. He trips and falls face-first, before leaping and spinning around to face the car, which backs away, leaving a trail of fuel leading up to it.

The man realises what he has to do, and nervously lights a matchbox and drops it in the puddle, causing fire to erupt and chase after the now rapidly reversing car. As the song erupts into static, the car is gradually overcome by the fire, the man's guilt finally destroyed by simply standing up for himself.

All in all, a brilliant video, song and message, making for a greatly memorable tune which reminds us all of the ghosts of our pasts...and how to face them.

Age Restriction:
For Heavy Emotional Content

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