Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” Song Review

Hello, I’m MusiCommentator.  I told you in my last post that I was going to review a rock album, but after listening to the album, it was obvious that it was not a rock album.  If anything, it was closer to a pop album.  So, I decided to listen to an actual rock song (requested by DumCheese) and give you rock fans something substantial to chew on.

Radiohead is a band that has been around for quite some time.  They first gained popularity in the early 1990s, and from what I could find, the album this song came from (OK Computer) is their most popular album.  I have yet to listen to the entirety of the album, but I did listen to this song a few times, so let’s stop wasting time and get into the first verse.

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

From someone who suffers from mild paranoia sometimes, I can relate to this line.  Thom Yorke, the lead singer, is singing on how he tries to escape these voices telling him bad things, but like real paranoia, he cannot.  The one question I have about this line, though, is what are “unborn chicken voices”.  I do not believe I have ever heard anyone use that term to describe anything…ever.

What’s that?

If you’re referring to those unborn chicken voices, I am wondering what that is, too.

But in all seriousness, I took this line out of context (obviously).  It really goes like:

What’s that?
(I may be paranoid, but not an android)
What’s that?
(I may be paranoid, but not an android)

This is a great chorus for this song, for he points out that while he may have this human flaw of paranoia, he at least is not a robot with no feelings that just follows the system like an android would.  Sometimes you have to flip a bad situation to be good, I guess.

When I am king, you will be first against the wall
With your opinion which is of no consequence at all

Yorke keeps the ball rolling with great lines.  A common side effect of paranoia is believing that other people talk about you behind your back, and he is addressing those fictitious claims by saying anyone that does this would be killed if he controlled the world.  So far, Yorke feels really connected to these lines, which I think is a reason that makes this so great.

After this, the instrumentals change for a bit, and I think it would be a good times to mention how great they are.  The beginning contains a sorrowful guitar that makes you really want to feel the emotions in the song, then it switches to a catchier beat with a darker guitar.  This changes for the end interlude, but comes back before the song ends.  The guitars and drums just do so much to portray the emotions of the song, making it even more meaningful.  The one instrument I really do not like is the synth piano that appears midway through the song, but it is only there for ten seconds, so it does not bother me too much.

Ambition makes you look pretty ugly

A great line to start off the third verse with, he is now focusing on the others around him that do not have paranoia, but that he has paranoia towards.  This continues with:

You don’t remember
You don’t remember
Why don’t you remember my name?
Off with his head, man
Off with his head, man
Why don’t you remember my name?
I guess he does

Still talking about his paranoia, he is taking the role of the king he played earlier and is saying that those that object him (all in his head, of course) should be executed.  Again, being a bit paranoid, this is really relateable, which makes it very believable that he actually had paranoia.  Being connected to your subject in such a way always makes the song better.

Rain down, rain down
Come on, rain down on me
From a great height
From a great height, height
Rain down, rain down

The title of this song is “Paranoid Android”, and now Yorke is getting into the “android” side of things–if what I am saying makes any sense.  This is now about him dying or wanting to die, because rain would kill a robot.  He is giving into his paranoia and now just wants to escape it.

That’s it, sir, you’re leaving (Rain down)
The crackle of pigskin (Rain down)
The dust and the screaming (Come on, rain down)
The yuppies networking (On me)
The panic, the vomit (From a great height)
The panic, the vomit (From a great height)
God loves his children
God loves his children, yeah!

And this helps paint the picture even better.  Yorke is using imagery here just to amplify that he now is dying.  Great way to end the song.

Overall, this is an amazing song.  I absolutely love it!  There is so much emotion in his voice that it is hard not empathize/sympathize with him.  The lyrics, too, just paint such a great picture with a subject matter that rarely gets talked about in music.  The only things that bother me about this song are a few lines (like the “unborn chicken heads”) and the brief piano section I mentioned earlier.  I would give this song a 4.5 out of 5.  Do you agree?

Thank you for reading my “Paranoid Android” song review. If you liked this review, make sure to follow my website, Twitter, and Instagram, like this post, and be sure to check in to read my future reviews. Also, if you have something you want to see me review, tell me in the comments. Until then, keep on listening to good music! I know I will.


4 thoughts on “Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” Song Review

  1. I enjoy reading your reviews Carter, but if I could make a friendly suggestion: You should consider including a sample of the song (from youtube, soundcloud, spotify, etc.) into your reviews, or at least a link, so we can listen to it. That would give your reviews more impact and make them more meaningful for us readers, in case we aren’t familiar with the song or album being reviewed. Just a thought…

    Liked by 1 person

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