"Paranoid Android" as written by and Thomas Edward/greenwood Yorke....
Please could you stop the noise
I'm trying to get some rest
From all the unborn chicken voices in my head
What's that?
What's that?

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

Ambition makes you look pretty ugly
Kicking, squealing Gucci little piggy
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

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


Lyrics submitted by piesupreme, edited by Paymaan, TheEmu, 23Tonality

"Paranoid Android" as written by Edward John O'brien Colin Charles Greenwood

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Paranoid Android song meanings
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  • +22
    Song Meaning"when i am king you will be first against the wall
    with your opinion which is of no consequence at all "

    this phrase is coming from hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, like song's name.
    you probably know that song's name is coming from Marvin The Paranoid Android, who is a character in this book. in story, Marvin (paranoid android) is the first robot that is created by a Sirius Cybernetics Corporation. And marvin hates this Corporation, because they created him.

    And; in Guide, this Corporation is defined as "a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes".

    so, in my opininon, thom yorke speaks to God when he says "when i am king you will be first against the wall, with your opinion which is of no consequence at all".

    thanks.
    yekalkanon August 31, 2012   Link
  • +18
    General CommentA better song has not been made.
    OwnPersonalDemonon January 08, 2002   Link
  • +13
    General CommentI think in tying the lyrics together to mean one thing creates a violent allegory where the victim finally exacts revenge on his tormentors while mocking their beliefs and their traits.
    One interpretation I get from it is the outsider who watches the upper-class born-again jocks with disgust and mocks them until the outsider decides to make them pay for their hypocrisy. The person fears for his safety daily, but still refuses to assimilate and therefore will remain an outsider (I am paranoid, but not an android)...

    So this person comes in with a gun and comes after this tormentor and everyone does what he says because he's got a gun (When I am king, you will be first against the wall). The jock-type tells him, "I do really like you." but his opinion is no longer of any consequence. So then the jock-type begs for his life, a kicking, squealing gucci little piggie. Perhaps this jock-type has called the singer names and never called him by his rightful name, and this angers the singer (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?), but now that the tormentor has a gun pointed at him he is using his name (I guess he does).
    The rain down part would be where you would see in slow motion the victim pulling the trigger or making that final decision to go beyond the point of no return and the second time you hear this is when the victim is actually shooting the person and maybe these are the things that are playing in his head or it could be all of those memories of being tormented flooding back into his mind while he is making that brutal decision:
    (That's it sir, you're leaving) the decision to through with it and take this person's life
    (the crackle of pig skin) pigskin a reference to football, maybe deflating a football (player)?
    (the dust and the screaming) the bullet passing through the person and hitting the wall behind making some plaster fall and the screaming people when they see the murder
    (The yuppies networking) the rest of the people fleeing
    (the panic, the vomit) People panicking, maybe getting sick from seeing the gore or the jock-type's body losing its muscle control or the panic of the shot person causing him to become physically ill
    (God loves his children) mocking this person's religion by saying "How will your beliefs save you now?" or mocking his belief that he is a religious person and therefore one of God's children and now look at him
    -OR-
    This shooter believes he is doing God's work by eliminating this person
    -OR-
    In God's creation he also created ugly things like panic and vomit and so it mocks just how much God loves His children to give them such awful things.

    Of course, I could be wrong.
    Imani110on September 28, 2002   Link
  • +9
    General CommentOkay, other opinions notwithstanding, you could nail this entire song to Marvin from HHGTG as being a part of his mental state. It's his entire life.

    Marvin's demise comes during a rainstorm on a miserable planet whilst reading the last message from God, which was: We Apologise For The Inconvenience.

    Marvin's opinion of the corporation that built him was that when the revolution came, they would be first against the wall.

    In HHGTG there is a breed of pig who can talk and whose sole ambition is to be eaten.

    Marvin, being depressed, never thinks much of other people's opinions, most specifically because he's smarter than everyone else...he has the brain the size of a planet.

    But I think it's the 'rain down' bit that clinches it, or maybe it's a complete coincidence that they have described Marvin's demise, with the last line being, 'God loves his children.'

    From Douglas Adams' pen, Marvin is a sadly comedic creature who is born depressed, lives for about 40 billion years (30 million of which are spent parking cars), and only moments before he dies he has his only positive thought.

    That's Adams' part. Radiohead have seen Marvin as the perfect metaphor for trying to live the quiet life, just get along, but is constantly placed up against life and all of it's messiness.

    Anyway, that's my take.
    Kleinyon August 30, 2005   Link
  • +7
    General Commenti dont think there is any definitive meaning in this song, more of a collection of feelings and thoughts.

    "Ambition makes you look pretty ugly
    Kicking, squealing, Gucci little piggy"

    i think refers to clubgoers,yuppies and general people who hide from reality behind materialstic , self possession, self status lifestyles.

    "Rain down, rain down, come on rain down on me
    From a great height, from a great height, height
    Rain down, rain down, come on rain down on me
    From a great height, from a great height, height "

    someone who has led an un human life , hiding from reality, living behind shadows, but finally comes to realize what he has become and wants the rain from above to wash his sins away and cleanse his spirit

    "When I am king you will be first against the wall
    With your opinion which is of no consequence at all
    What's that, what's that?"

    maybe refers to people who have put him down through life and told him he wasn going to be anything and he wasn going to succeed

    On the other hand thats only what i think, what i relate to. I think different people will find different meanings and somewhat personally relate to the lyrics and so come the conlusion on what they think the lyrics mean.
    Really interesting though looking at other peoples analogies.
    alangolding25on December 16, 2008   Link
  • +7
    Song Meaningthe "rain down" section doesn't have some obscure meaning. in the original, pre-record version, the "rain down" sections lyrics were "rain down, rain down, come on rain down on me, from a great height, from a great... hallelujah, hallelujah (repeat)" and ends with "amen"

    it is a desperate prayer by a desperate man. how this section is structured and sung also provides meaning. the choral background vocals are to give the feeling or represent munk/religious choir vocals, and thom yorke wails the lyrics, almost as though he's crying or on the verge of breaking down.

    it is the emotional climax of the song; the narrator is desperate and making a plea to a god that doesn't appear to be real. the final lyric "god loves his children, yeah" is sung with a very sarcastic/biting tone, alluding to the disenchanted and skeptical nature of the narrator.

    i believe the "rain down" section is one of the best pieces of music ever recorded.
    entropathon November 29, 2012   Link
  • +6
    Song Meaning“Paranoid Android”, by Radiohead, is a rather straight-forward song about sorrow; the kind which develops from isolation. However, because the song uses abstract imagery and manages to tell two, overlapping narratives with only one set of lyrics, the song is ripe for lyrical analysis. Literally, this is a classic tale of insanity. Figuratively, and the meaning you’re more likely to connect with, “Android” is a requiem for the outcast; for the leftfield perspective.

    The notion of wanting to get some rest in a noisy environment is something we all can relate with, but the outcast of “Paranoid Android” is pleading; begging to fall asleep, because his head is filled with “unborn chicken voices”. This can seem confusing until the line is read literally – imagine that there are actually chickens inside this man’s head. “Unborn,” in this context, is a clever way of saying “non-existent”; not actually real. He simply hears noises in his head, and the syncopated call of a chicken is a perfect image to express the chaos of auditory hallucination.

    In another sense, these voices in his head are not in his head at all, but actually the sounds of the world around him (with which he feels such disconnect). The outcast cannot view society as a screaming success because his senses are overwhelmed with the literal screaming of the oppressed; the crack of the metaphoric whip, keeping everyone at work (“the crackle of pigskin”); overwhelming gluttony (“the crackle of pigskin” i.e. bacon); the panic of the chased; the vomit from those who witness it all and of course, those too busy making money to care (“the yuppies networking”). The outcast begs it all to stop, because he’s simply trying to get some rest.

    As if a nagging reminder to his insanity and his disconnect, the promise of a peaceful sleep is lost; replaced by literal paranoia (“What’s that?”). Already so broken-down, the only way this outcast can cope is to escape to a dreamlike state; to imagine an alternate reality where he is in command, persecuting everyone who has ever wronged him (“When I am King, you will be first against the wall — where your opinion is of no consequence at all”).

    Unfortunately, due to what’s been bubbling under the surface, what should be a pleasant daydream turns into a manic episode. Rather playful, optimistic longing is replaced with aggressive force. As if he’s shaking the collar of society itself, he screams, “You don’t remember! You don’t remember my name!” Now, he’s in control and is using his power to get back at his enemies – “Off with his head now; off with his head!!”

    Unfortunately, the mania subsides and is replaced with a calming, static depression. He’s back to the real world and his fantasy is just that – a fantasy. The difference is, there’s no going back. Perhaps in the intensity of his manic episode, he has broken a law or two, for now passersby are scorning and ridiculing him for his insanity. “Off with his head now!!” is both a mantra yelled at society and the actual response of society to the outcast’s madness.

    A crowd draws and he’s told, “That’s it now — you’re leaving,” but he refuses to give-in; instead fighting back and running away (“the dust and the screaming”). The police presumably catch him, but not before he is beaten (“the crackle of pigskin”), shrieking in terror as the walls of his world cave-in (“the screaming”). All the while, this is taking place in public, with businessmen and women rushing past, far too busy making phone calls to stop and observe (“yuppies networking”).

    It is here where Yorke sings with a cruel jest, “God loves his children.” It is here where the literal story of a man going crazy and the casual observations of the modern cynic merge. In the literal narrative, this line is a delusional self-assurance, muttered by the outcast as he’s hauled away. In the figurative narrative, the cynical observer is mocking the idea of “God” with a bitter sarcasm: “God loves his children,” as if to say, why would anyone Godly waste their attention on this hellish world? Regardless atheistic implications, this line is important because it shows how both the outcast and the observer have lost all hope.

    In the chaos of literal arrest (or the figurative personal disconnect felt towards society), the outcast gives in. The reason we know the outcast is too tired to fight is because the song starts off with “I’m trying to get some rest,” as if to imply that if protagonist does not recover soon, he will not have the will to continue. With no hope in sight, the outcast proclaims, “let it all rain down on me — let it pour from a great height, far up in the sky.” As if lithium intravenously entered into his bloodstream, our lonesome friend has found peace (even if in defeat).

    “Paranoia Android” holds up a mirror to our world and asks us if we’re okay with the resultant image. As if to justify the abstract nature of this song, we hear a robotic voice chanting, “I may be paranoid, but I’m not an android.” In other words, the outcast might have been seen as eccentric; perhaps even paranoid for no reason, but at least he was feeling something.

    houseofxen.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/lyrical-analysis-paranoid-android-by-radiohead/
    AndrewVSon November 20, 2013   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI've been thinking of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in relation to this song actually. Not only does the book have a character MArvinthe Paranoid Android, but there is also a line where the Guide descibe's a company whose opinion is not at all acurate, saying they will be "first against the wall when the revolution comes" anyone know if they are douglas adam's fans, or am I just reading too far into this?
    BlackEyedAngelson March 04, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song obviously can be split into three parts (that were to be three seperate songs, but this just seemed to work)

    "Please could you stop the noise I'm trying to get some rest?
    From all the unborn chicken voices in my head
    What's that, what's that

    When I am king you will be first against the wall
    With your opinion which is of no consequence at all
    What's that, what's that "

    Being the first part, this is where the title gets the "Paranoid" part. Easy enough, the voice speaking talks of great paranoia and aspirations of that far surpassing his/her capabilities.

    "Ambition makes you look pretty ugly
    Kicking squealing gucci little piggy

    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"

    This portion, although very different and supposedly unconnected to the first, creates an antagonist to the first character. This one openly states his/her feelings, and beliefs. This is everything the first one isn't.

    "Rain down, rain down, come on rain down on me
    From a great height, from a great height, height
    Rain down, rain down, come on rain down on me
    From a great height, from a great height, height

    (repeats 3rd time, underneath vocals are:)
    That's it sir, you're leaving,
    the crackle of pig skin,
    the dust and the screaming
    The yuppies networking
    the panic, the vomit,
    the panic, the vomit
    God loves his children,
    God loves his children, yeah "

    Now, and this is a stretch, I believe this one is the android. Also paranoid, this one feels the whole world is on it's shoulders. Does Marvin ring a bell? (here comes the stretch...) In the book, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, there is a character, Marvin, the Paranoid Android. This character feels it is given the most demeaning tasks, considering it's large mental capacity.

    This is one of my personal favorite songs (the reason I bought OK Computer, my favorite CD) and yet this song fills me with so much dread.
    WileyOtison February 24, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Comment"first against the wall"

    you know how they used to line ppl up against a wall to be shot by the firing squad?

    my guess
    deathbearon July 10, 2002   Link

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