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While listening to Paranoid Android (by Radiohead), I realized that many of its lyrics could easily be applied to western society.

This analysis is by no means meant to be definitive or complete; it exists purely to make the reader think a bit about a song whose lyrics they may have taken for granted.

It should also be said that this interpretation does not necessarily reflect my own views on the subject, nor do I think it's necessarily correct. Think of this as something akin to cloud-watching...


Please could you stop the noise?
      // A plea for everyone to calm down and take a break.
I'm trying to get some rest...
      // Western society runs wildly 24/7; our culture never sleeps.
From all the unborn
Chicken voices in my head...
      // A reference to don't count your chickens before they hatch; Promises, guarantees, etc. too often turn out to be lies
      // told in the interest of making money.

What's that?
(I may... be paranoid... but not an... android.)
      // I might look out for my own interests, but I'm not exactly approving of how we're all forced to run our lives.
What's that?
(I may... be paranoid... but not an... android.)

When I am king,
You will be first against the wall...
      // If I ran things around here, I'd change this culture.
With your opinion
Which is of no consequence at all...
      // And frankly, I don't care how embedded you are in it.

What's that?
(I may... be paranoid... but... no... android.)
What's that?
(I may... be paranoid... but... no... android.)

Ambition makes you
Look pretty ugly...
      // Desire for personal gain often leads to betrayals, lies, and fraud in the business world.
Kicking and squealing,
Gucci little piggy...
      // And if anyone uses the same tactics on you once you have some power of your own, you cry foul.

You don't remember-
You don't remember-
Why don't you remember my name?
      // People are more often known by their social security, credit card, or various account numbers than by their names.
Off with his head, man,
Off with his head, man
      // Because of this dehumanized system, it's relatively easy to steal someone's identity-
      // figuratively taking off their head (i.e. autonomy and individuality).
Why don't you remember my name!?
I guess he does...

Rain down...
Rain down...
Come on, rain down...
On me...
      // In reference to trickle down economics.
From a great height...
      // There is a large economic diaspora;
From a great height...
      // the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.

That's it, sir;
      // Note the "sir", which implies homage...
You're leaving.
      // ...Yet contempt.
The crackle of pig skin;
      // Possible reference to bringing home the bacon.
The dust and the screaming,
      // Leaving others in the dust; fierce competition.
The yuppies networking...
      // Making allies for purpose of self-betterment.

The panic...
      // Anxiety is an occupational hazard of capitalist societies...
The vomit...
      // And revulsion, a common emotion experienced throughout the bitter struggling...
The panic...
      // All of which just perpetuates...
The vomit...
      // And perpetuates...

God loves His children...
      // Forming a secular cesspool of coveting and greed...
God loves His children...
      // That is little more than a glorified preschool schoolyard.
Yeah.



Paranoid Android is track 2 on OK Computer, an album by Radiohead, and copyright 1997 by Capitol Records, Inc.