What does Paranoid Android mean?

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Radiohead: Paranoid Android Meaning


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Song Released: 1997

Paranoid Android Lyrics

Please could you stop the noise, I'm tryin' to get some rest
From all the unborn chicken voices in my head

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

When I am king, you will be...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    May 24th 2010 report

    I dont' know the book of Douglas Adams, but it makes perfect sense that the title to the song is related to Marvin.

    In my opinion, the song refers to a severely depressed individual who feels that he is starting becaming paranoid and is excibiting psychotic symptoms ("from all the voices of unborn chicken in my head"). He is finding it difficult to bear reality, with all the injuctise and materialism which makes him feel disgusted.

    Like Marvin, he is asked to live like an android, without judjement, without opinion, well below the level of his real intellectual capabilities. Just living and following like a robot. However, his is not willing to do so ("I may be paranoid but I am not android"). In his fantasy, in a world where he will be the king, reality will be reversed and the people which he now hates will be the first to be executed.

    Maybe in a way, his "paranoia" gives him an excuse to express his opposition, in a way no sane man would be allowed to do, without facing consequences.

    In the last two paragraphs, he asks for a solution to all the confusion and madness which surrounds him. "God loves his children" and He will either relieve them from their sufferings or understand and forgive for whatever they do because of them...


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Jan 16th 2006 report

    Phew, it's hard to give a straight interpretation on this. It seems clear that the lyrics were written while reading the mentioned Douglas Adams Book. (The hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy Part I-V, the BOOK, not the movie) Maybe it is about what is going on in Marvins' head. He is a really depressed robot, his emotion chips are malfunctioning and he seems to bear the tragic of the whole universe. The "rain down" sequence is a dream of being released from existence. The backing vocals in this sequence remind me of a stewardess talking to flight passenger, a theme that also occurs in the mentioned book. Like if somebody leaves life and everything that torured the person is mentioned again. Or like you die and your life which consisted of nothing but depression passes you by in a short sequence, in this case not as a movie but satirically being spoken by a stewardess. "God loves his children" to somebody like "Marvin" must mean that life is not eternal is a proof for the love of god (who in the book is the cat of the universe's regent). In the book you also find god's last message to his creation. It's like a message to those who only suffer from life. "We apologize for the inconvenience". The first part gives a few examples on how "Marvin" gets treated and what he thinks of the world and the beings around him. Actually this is really great stuff, lots of double and triple satire. If you know the books of Adams you will understand what I mean...

  3. anonymous
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    Oct 3rd 2011 report

    To me this song is about how technology, specifically the internet (The yuppies networking) can make a human lose his humanity and send him into madness. The technology gives the man a false sense of power and entitlement, represented by all the references to King and God. The man at first thinks that he is in control, but then he realized that it is actually the technology controlling him. The technology is God, the technology is King. This control leads to the man losing his sanity and eventually dying. This might be totally wrong though, as this song's lyrics are so complicated and crazy. For me though, I have to believe that somehow this song relates to man's relationship with technology.

  4. anonymous
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    Feb 13th 2011 report

    I believe this song is about the fall of the Roman Empire.

  5. anonymous
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    Jul 26th 2010 report

    Most of the other people have answered the interpretations to these lyrics, but I heard something(probably a rumor) that Radiohead held a project in which they observed what people would say in a bar and twisted it around a little to match their style of this particular song.

  6. jtg08
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    Oct 12th 2008 report

    Yes the first thing I thought about was Douglas Adams marvin android. So it sounds right. If you don't understand the song read the books hitchhikers guide to the galaxy.

  7. anonymous
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    Aug 17th 2008 report

    I think this song is about the strange things you see in the world around you that are so hard to understand and so hard to deal with, that they make you feel like you are not a part of the human race. Every line in this song (except for the rain part, I have no explanation for that, except that Thom Yorke really has a thing for rain, it is in a lot of his songs) reads like a glimpse of the world through someones eyes who is, indeed, paranoid, and has trouble relating to the world around them. Have you ever seen a Thom Yorke interview? It fits him perfectly.

  8. anonymous
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    Jan 14th 2006 report

    I think this is about all the obnoxious people who piss you off in everyday life, that you would have eradicated if you were the king.

  9. anonymous
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    Oct 20th 2003 report

    I have a theory regarding paranoid android, that it was inspired by douglas adams' "hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy" serial. first of all, the title references the character marvin, who is often referred to as a paranoid android. secondly, there are the lines, "when i am king you will be first against the wall," which is very similar to a passage in, i believe, the book "the restaurant at the end of the universe" where some company or other is said to have been "the first ones against the wall when the revolution came". more obscure, and probably more false is the "unborn chicken voices in my head" line, which i think refers to the one remaining survivor of a famine-ravaged planet who had tons of fried eggs dropped on him by the infinite improbability drive...that one's probably wrong, but the others seem pretty clear cut.

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