Thursday, March 05, 2009

Number 415 - Radiohead

Number 415


"Karma Police"

414 ..Genre: Alternative.. 416
buy this print @ gabrio76
The video starts with the camera, an unseen driver, looking at the empty back seat of 1976 Chrysler New Yorker at night. The 'driver' then faces the windshield and begins driving. For 35 seconds, it shows nothing but a road through grass illuminated by headlights, with bugs visible around the windshield. A figure is then seen running from the car. In time for the chorus the view shifts back to the back seat, where Thom Yorke now sits, almost mumbling his lyrics. The view yet again moves to the figure, who is close to being mowed down, as the view again switches to Yorke, now slouching drowsily against the back of the front seat, barely lipsyncing any longer.toward the car. The car slowly catches fire, and the camera/driver finally turns frantically to the back seat and robotically swivels back and forth, only to find that Yorke is no longer there.
WHICH city in England boasts the largest number of signed bands per capita? Well, according to Radiohead, it's their hometown of Oxford (also home to Ride and Supergrass). All five members of the band are natives of Oxford, where they met at Abingdon School. Singer-guitarist Thom Yorke and bassist Colin Greenwood were the first to hit it off at Abingdon, sharing an affinity for Joy Division, Magazine, and cross-dressing. Ed O'Brien, another singer-guitarist, was added because Thom thought he was "cool and looked like Morrissey." Phil Selway replaced the trio's drum machine, and the foursome formed On a Friday, named after — what else? — the day they practiced. Soon, Colin's younger brother, Jonny, joined their ranks on harmonica, but the quintet soon put their budding career on hold as various members shuttled off to universities. Thom went to Exeter to study fine art and literature; Ed to Manchester for politics; and Colin and Phil went on to study English at Cambridge and Liverpool, respectively.
During vacations from school, On a Friday was revived; live shows featured a brass section and, as a closer, a rousing rendition of Elvis Costello's "Pump It Up." In the summer of 1991, after the members had all completed school, they regrouped in Oxford (Jonny was now a full-fledged guitarist and keyboard player), and eventually changed their name to Radiohead ("Radio Head" is a Talking Heads song on the album True Stories). With other commitments out of the way, they began to take the band seriously, and it didn't take long for the powers-that-be to take notice: after their first official gig, Radiohead received more than twenty record-company offers. ~ [Source: All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Andy Kellman]
The Karma Police are here to Taze you Bro
"Karma Police" is in a 4/4 time signature and played in standard tuning. The first half of the song is in the key of A minor, the second half (starting with the line "For a minute there") is in B minor. Acoustic guitar and piano are the most prominent instruments in the song, and the chord progression these instruments follow owes an audible debt to The Beatles song "Sexy Sadie". The structure of the song is unconventional in that it has nothing resembling a typical chorus. Instead, the song progresses from the intro into a mid-tempo section which alternates between two verses. The first verse begins with the line "Karma police", and the other begins with the line "This is what you get". During the second section the drums drop out and an analog synthesizer imitating a choir is featured. After this section cycles through twice, the song switches into a second section which is based around the line "For a minute there, I lost myself". During this section of the song, Yorke's voice is put through an echo effect and a sliding melodic figure serves as a counterpoint to Yorke's vocals. In the outro, Ed O'Brien plays a few notes on his guitar, which are distorted by overloading an AMS rackmount digital delay unit and turning the delay rate knob down.
I'm falling apart ~ Buy this print at cadynho
Radiohead members used to tell one another that they would call "the karma police" on them if they did something wrong. The joke was incorporated as into the lyrics and title of the song. Yorke explained that the song was about stress and "having people looking at you in that certain [malicious] way, I can't handle it anymore". Thom Yorke explained the idea of the lyrics to The Independent in 2006, saying, "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 had a humorous bent; Yorke said, "[It's] not entirely serious, I hope people will realize that." The song includes the line "He buzzes like a fridge/He's like a detuned radio", a reference to the distracting, metaphorical background noise Yorke calls "fridge buzz". Yorke has said that the idea of fridge buzz is one of the primary themes of OK Computer; "Karma Police" also shares themes of insanity and dissatisfaction with capitalism. ~ [Source: Wikipedia]
For more Radiohead see Number 640 & MM Vol 1 #137
For Supergrass see Number 898
For Elvis Costello see Number 876
For Talking Heads see Number 488 & #533
For the Beatles see Number 489, #587, #894 & #947
What does Rolling Stone think? [cough]
The days of whine and poses may be over, but don't tell that to Radiohead singer Thom Yorke. He has survived the demise of grunge with all of his anxiety and disillusionment intact. Which hardly means that his group's music hasn't matured. On the contrary, Radiohead are one of the few guitar-based bands of the mid-'90s that has grown by leaps and bounds. When their first single, "Creep," leapt out of MTV's Buzz Bin, in 1993, it came off like a Nirvana wanna-be from hell; the song's obligatory loud/soft dynamics and Yorke's self-deprecating lyrics rang empty. But one listen to Radiohead's third album, OK Computer – a stunning art-rock tour de force – will have you reeling back to their debut, Pablo Honey, for insight into the group's dramatic evolution. ~ [Source: - MARK KEMP]
For Nirvana see Number 480
Rolling Stone magazine deemed their '415th Song of all Time' was "I Can't Help Myself" by The Four Tops. The Four Tops has not appeared in The Definitive 1000
Other songs with reference to Radiohead #440, #508, #656, #700, #769, #904
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (As great as they are, not this song) and the Album ranked at Number 162
This song has a total Definitive rating of 78.2 out of 108
Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

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