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Karma Police
Song

Karma Police

Radiohead
Album:
OK Computer

Song Meaning and Background of Karma Police by Radiohead


The idea of a karma police started as an inside joke within Radiohead. “When someone in the band behaved like an a-hole,” said guitarist Ed O’Brien, “one of the others always said, ‘The karma police is gonna get you.'”


The track was created by Thom York and producer Nigel Godrich. “It’s not the band playing,” Godrich said. “It’s just samples and loops, which was the forerunner of a lot of things to come, good or bad.”


"Karma Police" is a song by the English alternative rock band Radiohead, released as the second single from their third studio album, OK Computer in 1997.


The title lyric originates from an inside joke; the members of Radiohead would threaten to call the "karma police" if someone did something bad.


Yorke explained that the song was about stress and "having people looking at you in that certain [malicious] way". He said: "It's for someone who has to work for a large company. This is a song against bosses. Fuck the middle management!"


Yorke and Jonny Greenwood emphasised in interviews that the song was humorous and "not entirely serious".


The line "He buzzes like a fridge / He's like a detuned radio" refers to distracting, metaphorical background noise that Yorke calls "fridge buzz", one of the themes of OK Computer.


"Karma Police" also shares themes of insanity and dissatisfaction with capitalism.


It reached number one in Iceland and number eight on the UK Singles Chart.


Lyrics of Karma Police by Radiohead


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'll get

This is what you'll get

This is what you'll 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'll get

This is what you'll get

This is what you'll 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

For a minute there

I lost myself, I lost myself

Phew, for a minute there

I lost myself, I lost myself

Release Date

1997

Songwriter/s

Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, Colin Greenwood, Philip Selway

Producer/s

Nigel Godrich, Radiohead

Label/s

Parlophone, Capitol

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