Radiohead - Paranoid Android - 1997

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Radiohead - Paranoid Android - 1997


Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" from 1997: An Exploration

Radiohead, a prominent English rock band, released "Paranoid Android" in 1997 as a single from their third album, "OK Computer". This song is known for its complex structure, dark themes, and unique sound, which marked a departure from the band's earlier style.

Background and Composition

The song was inspired by a night out lead singer Thom Yorke had in Los Angeles. The title "Paranoid Android" is a nod to Marvin the Paranoid Android from Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series.

Musical Structure

"Paranoid Android" is notable for its four distinct sections, each differing in tempo and style. It begins with an acoustic guitar part, then transitions into a heavier rock sound, followed by a quiet, organ-led interlude, and culminates in a hard rock finale.

Themes and Lyrics

The lyrics of "Paranoid Android" are cryptic and have been subject to various interpretations. They reflect themes of alienation and despair, resonating with the album's overall exploration of modern societal issues.

Reception and Legacy

Upon its release, "Paranoid Android" received critical acclaim and is frequently listed among the greatest songs of all time. It also showcased Radiohead's experimental approach, which would influence their subsequent work and the wider music industry.

For more detailed exploration, visit the Wikipedia page on "Paranoid Android".

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

What was the inspiration for "Paranoid Android"? (A night out in Los Angeles) (!A science fiction movie) (!A dream Thom Yorke had) (!A book about androids)

How many distinct sections does "Paranoid Android" have? (Four) (!Two) (!Three) (!Five)

What does the title "Paranoid Android" reference? (Marvin the Paranoid Android from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy") (!A character in a science fiction novel) (!A personal experience of Thom Yorke) (!A famous painting)

In what year was "Paranoid Android" released? (1997) (!1995) (!1999) (!2000)

Which album features "Paranoid Android"? ("OK Computer") (!"The Bends") (!"Kid A") (!"In Rainbows")

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

What is the name of the lead singer of Radiohead? (Thom Yorke) (!Chris Martin) (!Damon Albarn) (!Matt Bellamy)

In which country was Radiohead formed? (England) (!United States) (!Australia) (!Canada)

What is the genre of Radiohead's music? (Alternative Rock) (!Pop) (!Hip Hop) (!Electronic)

Which Radiohead album is known for its departure from the band's earlier style? ("OK Computer") (!"The Bends") (!"Kid A") (!"Pablo Honey")

What year was Radiohead formed? (1985) (!1990) (!1979) (!1995)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

Which theme is most prominent in "Paranoid Android"? (Alienation and despair) (!Love and happiness) (!Political activism) (!Space exploration)

The lyrics "Please could you stop the noise, I'm trying to get some rest" suggest what? (A desire for escape from chaos) (!A request for quieter music) (!A person talking in their sleep) (!Instructions to a roommate)

"Paranoid Android" contains references to which type of character? (Angels) (!Politicians) (!Celebrities) (!Scientists)

What type of imagery is frequently used in the lyrics of "Paranoid Android"? (Dark and surreal) (!Bright and optimistic) (!Historical) (!Nature-oriented)

The line "You don't remember, you don't remember, why don't you remember my name?" implies what? (Feelings of being forgotten) (!A happy reunion) (!Loss of memory) (!Celebrity fame)


"Paranoid Android" Release Year 1997
Lead Singer of Radiohead Thom Yorke
"Paranoid Android" Album OK Computer
Song's Main Theme Alienation and Despair
Inspiration for the Song A night out in Los Angeles

Open Tasks


  1. Research more about "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and write a short essay on how it could have influenced "Paranoid Android".
  2. Listen to "Paranoid Android" and draw a picture or create a collage that represents your interpretation of the song.
  3. Find and listen to two other songs by Radiohead from the same album, and compare their themes to "Paranoid Android".


  1. Write a review of "OK Computer", focusing on how "Paranoid Android" fits within the album's overall theme.
  2. Create a timeline of Radiohead's musical style evolution, with "Paranoid Android" as a central point.
  3. Analyze the lyrics of "Paranoid Android" and discuss the possible meanings behind them.


  1. Compose a song or piece of music inspired by "Paranoid Android", using similar themes or musical structure.
  2. Conduct a survey to understand people's different interpretations of "Paranoid Android" and present your findings.
  3. Write a detailed report on the impact of "Paranoid Android" on modern music, citing specific examples and influences.

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Oral Exam

  1. Discuss how "Paranoid Android" reflects the social and cultural context of the late 1990s.
  2. Explain the significance of the song's structure and how it contributes to its overall impact.
  3. Analyze how Radiohead's music, particularly "Paranoid Android", has influenced contemporary artists.
  4. Explore the role of experimental music in mainstream media, using "Paranoid Android" as an example.
  5. Compare "Paranoid Android" to another song from a different era that also addresses themes of alienation.

OERs on the Topic


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