What does Airbag mean?

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Radiohead: Airbag Meaning

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Airbag Lyrics

In the next world war
In a jackknifed juggernaut
I am born again

In the neon sign
Scrolling up and down
I am born again

In an interstellar burst
I am back to save the universe

In a deep deep sleep of the innocent
I am born...

  1. grayson
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    Nov 17th 2017 report

    Things may have been messed up in the past, but inexplicably you have a chance to make ammends.

  2. Nathan Hepner
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    Mar 1st 2011 report

    first of all I have a deep spiritual connection with this song that doesn't abide time...and fully understand it's intent :)

    Airbag is less about having a near death experience than it is about having a FULL death experience... and then being reborn and coming back to life...
    totally new. ready for everything and anything...because you remember the truth that you ARE everything.

    this is what REBIRTH is.


    how awesome would you feel being given a second chance at life after you died. you wold stop taking everything for granted first.
    ((we take everything for granted...stopping doing that would save the world))

    back to save the universe

    he mentions the accident and the kind of car and that the airbag saved his life because the life changing collision was more beautiful than frightening and that the collision was less scary than it was inviting....and he was leaving his body, because he was dying...
    and the 3rd is the body
    so when you LEAVE the body you leave the 3rd dimention
    (an interstellar blast)

    i am back to save the universe.

    "I AM" is the most powerful thing you can ever say, by the way.

    and a fully conscious, fully self-aware being who just came back from the source says exactly what he feels and knows exactly what he feels...non biasly

    and this non biasness is the love you hear and feel when you listen to airbag

  3. puffetee
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    Dec 7th 2008 report

    One interpretation could be the exploration between the link on context and action. The resulting action (being born again) is the same in three contexts. The first context is the next world war, the apocalyptic leitmotif is a recurrent one in Radiohead songs, at least Thom’s voice of desparation leads us to believe as much. The juxtaposition of jackknifed and juggernaut creates as curious effect: jackknifed, as a verb as it is put in the past tense here, means being bent in a bent up or doubled over position, being bent into a V-shape, it is also a way to perform a certain kind of dive. Jackknife is an obvious reference to the carcrash that the song is about as one meaning is the result of an uncontrolled skidding motion like a jackknife being closed over. The idea of a jackknife evokes harm, to ones self or to others but also utlity, like the utlity of an airbag. The duality of harm and security is mirrored to a greater extent in “juggernaut” which orinigally meant the form of Krishna worshiped in Puri, Orissa, where in the annual festival his image is dragged through the streets on a heavy chariot; devotees are said formerly to have thrown themselves under its wheels. There is security in the idea of Krishna, the Hindu God, but also the threat of this overbearing force, which is the more common sense of juggernaut. This overwhelming force could be that of gravity and inertia of the car crash. The link with Hinduism is blatant is the theme if rebirth. This apocalyptic view is in highcontrast with the more prosaic “neon sign” but equally evokes the idea of the future in a retro sort of Blade Runner way. A neon sign could also be what distracted or led to the car crash. “Up and down” mimics the motions of a car before a crash. The thrice repetition of “born again” hints at the idea of rebirth. The sonorities of the term “burst” mimic the idea of a carcrash, an instance of breaking or splitting as a result of internal pressure or puncturing; an explosion. The interstellar bit lends itself to the image of this being in the future, again pressing on the theme of rebirth. There is something egotistical and god-like in the line “I am back to save the universe.” This could be a comment on the ridiculous status of popstars or referencing the Hindu Gods. The “innocent” could be babies, again pressing on the idea of rebirth.


    Krishna is one of the most popular Hindu gods, the eighth and most important avatar or incarnation of Vishnu. He is worshiped in several forms: as the child god whose miracles and pranks are extolled in the Puranas; as the divine cowherd whose erotic exploits, esp. with his favorite, Radha, have produced both romantic and religious literature; and as the divine charioteer who preaches to Arjuna on the battlefield in the Bhagavadgita. Vishnu is a god, originally a minor Vedic god, now regarded by his worshipers as the supreme deity and savior, by others as the preserver of the cosmos in a triad with Brahma and Shiva. Vishnu is considered by Hindus to have had nine earthly incarnations or avatars, including Rama, Krishna, and the historical Buddha; the tenth avatar will herald the end of the world.

  4. Matt
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    Mar 24th 2007 report

    Originally titled: "Last Night an Airbag Saved My Life" which gives you an idea of the literal meaning of the song, but there is also metaphorical meaning.

  5. Bstrap000
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    Jan 4th 2007 report

    this song was written about thom's near death accident in a car.

  6. anonymous
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    Apr 24th 2006 report

    This song is about a near-death experience, perhaps metaphorically in reference to musical innovation. Radiohead thought that their music was dying and almost went off the edge but decided that they would come back with new ideas and musical abilities. The end.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway

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