Airbag Lyrics - Radiohead

Review The Song (22)

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 again

In a fast german car
I'm amazed that I survived
An airbag saved my life

In an interstellar burst
I am back to save the universe

In an interstellar burst
I am back to save the universe

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reaction to billreynolds | Reviewer: some human being | 12/5/12

Why can't the song be about it all, and maybe even more? Why narrow it down? Why not also include all the subjective meaning people include in the song, which is also a kind of truth because it directly relates to their own experience? It's not science you know, where there is a question and only 1 anwer possible. Lastly I want to point out that you clearly restrict your perceptional observation on technical aspects, a focus on how the album is produced.

I think you got a point but fail to see how ironic Thom must clearly feel that what he despises saved his life, and how this might be seen as a philosophical logical paradox but maybe is a practical universal reality, what eastern philosophy for example hints at. It's a whole different perspective on the quest of overcoming one's ego.

Radiohead | Reviewer: abby | 6/15/12

Everytime I listen to this song I remember that car crash we had wo it was terrifying and I actually started thinking what if Thom died, god! I'll probably kill myself right after him. :(

Correction- meaning of airbag | Reviewer: Mk | 5/14/12

Airbag is indeed about a car crash thom and his girlfriend experienced. This explains his intense fear of cars.
So yes, the lyrics, " I'm amazed that I survived... An airbag saved my life"..

If you listen to the the song, the beginning sounds like a car wreck...which is what he wanted to come across... Just like how "No Surprises" intro sounds like a lullaby.

Mixing it up | Reviewer: billreynolds | 4/15/12

Though I know very little about what Radiohead have said in relation to this song, there seem to be several main themes present. Firstly, the band have stated that OK Computer is loosely a concept album based on The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, so this accounts for the futuristic feel to some of the lyrics- 'In the next world war..', 'an interstellar burst, Im back to save the universe'.

Secondly, surely there is a religeous undertone to the lyrics? 'I am born again', 'In the deep, deep sleep of the innocent' 'Im back to save the universe'

Lastly, I very much doubt this is a song about a car crash. 2 of the 4 'verses' bear no reference to car crashes, lucky escapes or near death experience. I would suggest also that Thom Yorke despises the kind of consumerist that brags about having a 'fast, german car' (this is much more plainly stated in the following song on the album). An airbag could be a metaphor for anything that you perceive has saved you-perhaps, religeon saving the soul of the business man in the fast german car.
This theory is based on the idea that Thom actually wanted a theme behind the lyrics, or just wanted the lyrics to have a certain feel to them.

nt | Reviewer: weavehole | 1/15/12

There's a line in The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (after a character's near fatal crash) that links quite well with the intended meaning of this song:

The fact of being alive compensated for what life did to one

What if | Reviewer: Yatin | 9/19/11

everyone is saying that yorke himself quoted that this song is about a car crash. Okay what if he is fucking with us. And probably he wants us to find the real meaning. What if his hint is actually a hurdle. Overcome that and there you go, musical bliss.

You're all wrong! XD | Reviewer: Screamadelica x | 3/23/11

This song is a very hard one, isn't it? (Giggidy) This song is about (As quoted by Thom Yorke <3) "The wonderful, positive emotion when you have just failed to have an accident..." So yeah...Fuck you <3

RadioDread | Reviewer: raffa | 4/9/09

I adree with radiodread, the easy star allstars version is nice one of the previous writers states i also had an accident in a volkwagen polo, about 4 years ago, no airbag deployed but my car flipped and rolled after tryin to avoid a little girl on a country lane. when u survive a nasty crash u get a greater sense of ur mortality and appreciate life

Hear it live | Reviewer: Music Fiend | 11/14/08

If you think the recorded version of this song is good then you've GOT to hear it live. There is a recording of it when they performed at the BBC theater 1/4/08. If you google it you might be able to find the download of the whole concert.

After hearing Airbag live the recorded version sounds inferior. The harmonic chaos in the live version is f*cking brilliant!

Especially Personal | Reviewer: Anonymous | 8/20/08

I am a new listener to radiohead and I just heard this song for the first time. The part where he talks about the fast german car and the airbag...I drive a small VW and just yesterday I was involved in what could have been an easily fatal car accident. I forced to swerve off the road to avoid another driver and the first thing i hit was a mailbox, which went through my windshield and came inches from me. Then I hit an embankment and the car went airborne over it, but the airbag deployed and helped keep me in the car (along with my seatbelt). This song just hits a little too close to home. Trust me, if you've had a truly mortal experience, everything afterward takes on a new meaning. That is what is song means for me.

gala | Reviewer: Anonymous | 7/8/08

Thom Yourke on "Airbag"-

"We had a great time doing Airbag. There was a party going on for like three days in a row. By the end of it the studio was just a fucking pit of all sorts of disgusting things -- half-finished bottles of wine and beer spilled on the desk and ashtrays everywhere. It was great. We do play cards and bridge and shit like everybody says we do all the time. But then, we go smoke crack in the bathroom afterwards."

Metaphor of metaphors | Reviewer: Danish Brethren | 1/31/08

Beyond the obvious metaphor of surviving a car crash, and from one who was pronounced dead at the scene after flying through a windshield, I can appreciate the song as such. I was born again. This phrase, repeated over and over, along with "I'm back to save the universe" suggests a purpose, the one that Christians would acknowledge as Christ's purpose in returning at the end of days. There are several references to the Book of Revelations: "In the next world war, In a jackknifed juggernaut..." like the failed attempt at resolving world conflict among nations referenced in the BOR just before Christ shows up to sweep all the armies away. Pretty crazy stuff but it's in there. Also the line "In a deep deep sleep of the innocent, I am born again..." could reference the part where all the martyrs, saints and innocents will rise from there early graves to walk with "feet like light" through the Heavenly City (Thomas Merton). "In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the universe..." Yeah...

New life | Reviewer: Matt | 11/27/07

All but two lines in the song are a metaphor for feeling on top of the world after surviving a crash, or narrowly escaping death. First, the narrator's a jackknifed juggernaut (pretty powerful image), then he's a bright neon sign. The chorus takes it up to the highest level when he screams that he's "BACK TO SAVE THE UNIVERSE!"
Finally, since on first listen it's pretty confusing what all these great images mean, Thom explains that an airbag saves his life. The lyrics are really breathtaking when you think about the immense emotion that floods the survivor of a crash. These feelings are usually indescribable, but this Radiohead song captures the moment peeerfectly.

A thought | Reviewer: Participant | 11/20/07

I love reading other peoples thoughts on Radiohead. I hear this song and think of heros/heroines swooping in at the last second. Of car wrecks where even though it seems impossible to survive people do. Amongst the twisted metal and broken glass motor oil seeping into the black top like spilled blood people just walk away. Get in your car; turn it way up get on the motorway and drive and as you accelerate feel free. Flawless!!!!!!

life | Reviewer: darkstar | 10/4/07

this song works on two levels the real and the metaphysical. the real is that thom survived a car crash and from his near death experience he felt rejuvinated and grateful for being alive.
the second is that he narrowly missed a metaphysical car crash. that his life was heading to a cross roads that would have spelt doom. but something saved him and reinstated and reaffirmed his life for him.
that he shouldnt take for granted what he has and that there is a higher purpose. that the universe interviened as it wasn't his time.
its purpose could be this song. that with all the safety of a german car or what ever you read that as being, money, mental barriers, a facarde it can not prevent you from the juggernaut and what that entails for you.
so take heade of the moment and make a difference whilst you still can.


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