Karma Police

Ecriture de la chanson : 1996
Travail en studio : été 1996 ? (Canned Applause)
Premier live : 14 août 1996 (Great Woods)
Travail en studio : septembre 1996 (St Catherine’s Court)
Sortie sur album : 21 mai 1997 (OK Computer)
Sortie sur single : 25 août 1997
Clip : août 1997

Les années où la chanson a été jouée :
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Le moment du concert où la chanson a été jouée :
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Rien d’officiel, mais la chanson a de très fortes ressemblances avec “Sexy Sadie” des Beetles… comme si un sample avait été utilisé.

Voici une description très précise de la structure musicale de la chanson, sur Wikipedia :
[quote ]”Karma Police” is in a 4/4 time signature and played in standard tuning. The first half of the song is in the key of A Dorian, and the second half (starting with the line “For a minute there”) is in B minor. Acoustic guitar and piano are the most prominent instruments in the song, and the chord progression these instruments follow owes an audible debt to The Beatles song “Sexy Sadie”. The structure of the song is unconventional in that it has nothing resembling a typical chorus. Instead, the song progresses from the intro into a mid-tempo section which alternates between two verses. The first verse begins with the line “Karma police”, and the other begins with the line “This is what you get”. During the second section the drums drop out and an analog synthesizer imitating a choir is featured. After this section cycles through twice, the song switches into a second section which is based around the line “For a minute there, I lost myself”. During this section of the song, Yorke’s voice is put through an echo effect and a sliding melodic figure serves as a counterpoint to Yorke’s vocals.[9] In the outro, Ed O’Brien plays a few notes on his guitar, which are distorted by overloading an AMS rackmount digital delay unit and turning the delay rate knob down.[/quote]

[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’]  en 1996  [/button]
« Karma Police » est une sorte de formule que le groupe a inventé pour rigoler et qui les aidait à faire abstraction des gens déplaisants.

Jonny, Melody Maker, 31 mai 1997
[quote ]« It was a band catchpharse for a while on tour — whenever someone was behaving in a particular shitty way, we’d say, ’The karma police will catch up with him sooner or later.’ You have to rely on something like that, even though we’re probably just kidding ourselves. But it’s not a revenge thing, just about being happy with your own behaviour. »[/quote]
L’inspiration est plus orwellienne donc que « karma » pop à la Boy George… quoique, pour Humo en 1998 qui lui demande d’analyser la chanson, Thom dit :
[quote ]« Thom :Karma is important. The idea that something like karma exists makes me happy. It makes me smile. I get more sympathical. ’Karma Police’ is dedicated to everyone who works for a big firm. It’s a song against bosses. »[/quote]
Et c’est Ed qui a l’idée d’en faire une chanson
[quote ]Thom : « Karma is an important idea. I like it. It makes me nicer to people. It fills me with joy. This song makes me laugh. It was Ed’s idea. » (Melody Maker idem)[/quote]
A propos de « he buzzes like a fridge », une explication de Thom en 1998 pour Ray Gun :
[quote ]When you are driving around america in your car or whatever, and you have the alternative stations on in the backround. It’s just like a fridge buzzing. That’s all I’m hearing. I’m hearing buzz[/quote]

[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’]  en 1996  [/button]

Début 1996, le groupe commence à enregistrer pour un futur album (réclamé par EMI !) au studio mobile Canned Applause.

C’est assez inconfortable, comme le raconte Colin, mais le groupe y enregistre 35% de l’album (on apprendra qu’il s’agit en fait de 4 chanson : « Electioneering », « No Surprises », « Subterranean Homesick Alien », et « The Tourist »… mais étant donné que « Karma Police » sera jouée en août, on peut se dire que le travail sur cette dernière avait du au moins bien commencer…)

Circus, 1 août 1998 :
[quote ]« We had this mobile-studio type of thing going where we could take it all into studios to capture those environments. We recorded about 35% of the album in our rehearsal space. You had to piss around the corner because there were no toilets or no running water. It was in the middle of the countryside. You had to drive to town to find something to eat. »[/quote]

[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’]  le mercredi 14 août 1996  [/button]
Le groupe a commencé à expérimenter la chanson en live sur le public quand il tournait avec Alanis Morissette en août 1996. Les paroles étaient alors un peu différentes, et Thom disait ’This is what you get’ avec octave de différence…

Karma Police est jouée pour la première fois à Great Woods.


Les paroles, au début, sont aussi quelques peu différentes :
[quote ]

Karma police arrest this girl
She stares at me As if she owns the world
and We have crashed her party

On entend 3 fois la chanson en 1996, avec des paroles qui bougent un peu à chaque fois.

Dans la version du 19 août, par exemple :
[quote ]karma police, arrest this man
he talks in maths, he buzzes like a fridge
he smells of air conditioning

karma police, arrest this girl
she talks at me as if she own’s the world
and we have crashed her party[/quote]

[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’]  en septembre 1996  [/button]

Maintenant que Radiohead a rempli l’obligation de faire 13 dates avec Alanis Morrissette, les voilà de retour en studio. Mais cette fois, ils choisissent un superbe lieu : le manoir « St Catherine’s Court » (ça les changera de la promiscuité vécue au début de l’année !).

C’est là, dans différentes pièces, que le groupe enregistre presque 80% de l’album. Chaque instrument est traité séparément et tout le monde est très content.

Peu d’info concernant l’enregistrement de Karma Police, si ce n’est ce qu’en raconte Thom dans Guitar World en avril 1998 :
[quote ]Also like The Bends, many of the more interesting sounds, like those at the end of ’Karma Police’, which features O’Brien’s AMS digital delay unit feeding back on itself, were recorded with a sense of abandon. « We said, ’Put down the headphones and just go’ », says Yorke, « and so he made weird noises, and we taped that a few times. Sometimes the best stuff happens when you’re not even Iistening at all. Once we get to a studio, we either do it together live at the same time, so we can hear what we’re doing, or we do the exact opposite, so we don’t know what’s going on at all. A lot of the time you have to either make it really random or really calculated. There’s no middle ground. »[/quote]

[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’]  en octobre 1996  [/button]
Les 20% restant de travail sont achevés à Canned Applause. A Noël, la tracklist des 14 chansons d’OK Computer est prête.

[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] en janvier 1997  [/button]

Les cordes sont enregistrées en dernier au studio Abbey Road de Londres. S’en suivent deux mois de mixage dans différents studios.

[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] le mercredi 21 mai 1997  [/button]

Sortie de l’album OK Computer


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] le lundi 25 août 1997  [/button]

Sortie du single ’Karma Police’


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’]  en août 1997  [/button]

Lancement du clip de « Karma Police » :

Quelques souvenirs sur son tournage dans Spin, en janvier 1998 :
[quote ]Of course, because of his job, Yorke has to ride around in cars all the time. He even got inside one with a remote-control driver to shoot the video for Radiohead’s latest single, ’Karma Police’. And as he sat in the backseat, lip synching, something went wrong, and carbon monoxide fumes began pouring into the car. Yorke was terrified. And as he started to feel faint, he thought, « This is my life…. » In June, Yorke met Jonathan Glazer, the director responsible for their earlier clip ’Street Spirit (Fade Out)’, on a deserted lane three hours from London, to shoot the chilling, Orwellian video for OK Computer’s second single, ’Karma Police’. For his part, Glazer thinks ’Karma Police’ is about retribution, but he’s not sure if that even matters. « Radiohead are all about subtexts, about underbellies, » he says. « Thom thinks about music in the same way that I think about film—he thinks it’s a dialogue. That’s why in the video he just sings the choruses, because the verses mean whatever we want them to mean. »[/quote]
Quelques mois plus tôt, Glazer avait essayé de vendre le même concept à Marylin Manson, qui n’a pas aimé. Du coup, l’idée a été refilé à Radiohead !
[quote ]Something seemed familiar the first time Marilyn Manson saw Radiohead’s “Karma Police” video. Actually, a lot of things. It turned out director Jonathan Glazer had pitched him the same concept months earlier and he passed. “Manson was like, ‘F— that,’ ” recalls Randy Sosin, who has worked with Manson on his videos for years. “But you know, a good idea is a good idea.”[/quote]
(MTV 2004)

Des souvenirs encore bien plus précis, racontés par Denise Sheppard pour Details Magazine, en septembre 1997 :
[quote ]It’s clear that Radiohead will need a great video to conquer America. Which brings us back to Cambridgeshire, the English equivalent of upstate New York. Yorke is here to work on a two-night video shoot for « Karma Police, » the new album’s third single. (The band’s already made an animated, MTV-approved clip for « Paranoid Android » and a stop-action video for « Let Down. ») Radiohead have a reputation for strikingly innovative videos, but no amount could possibly Justify the strategy for the new album. Tonight’s shoot is the third project in a grandiose, if ill-advised, plan to turn the entire disc -twelve tracks-into videos. It’s a move of Michael Jacksonian proportions, more in keeping with a superstar than a « sensitive » alternative outfit. « It’s financially suicidal, » Yorke admits, with a twisted smile on his face. « This video alone would cost us a really nice house somewhere. » It’s slightly after I A.M. now, and tensions are high. It’s very cold. The remote-control camera seizes up. Technicians mill around. Suddenly, the director yells « Action, » and everyone scatters. Everyone except Yorke ; he’s still in the backseat, a camera inches from his face. Music pours from a pair of hidden speakers and Yorke begins to lip-synch : « This is what you get / This is what you get when you mess with us.’ » Cut ! ”
Yorke’s nailed the take, but now there’s a new problem : Fumes from the engine are irritating the singer’s lungs. « You can smell it, can’t you ? » the soundman says. A technician pokes his head into the vehicle : « Smell it ? You can see it ! » The British press have long pegged Yorke as a solitary, tortured soul, but neither of these qualities is evident during this long, cold night. A slightly dazed Yorke appears unconcerned. « Ah, well, » he says, « at least I’ll be warm when I die. »
It’s a tale of retribution, kind of a Samuel Becketty psychological tease.« Director Jonathan Glazer is explaining the plot of »Karma Police« to a visitor on the set. »You’re the point of view,« he says, »and Thom is a passive passenger.« Despite the faulty equipment and extreme fog, Glazer is clearly enthused. Preparing the next take, he pauses for just a moment, then turns around. »Great band, eh ?” Later, a climactic shot will require a special-effects man to set the vehicle on fire. It’s a risk : Video-channel censors have a tendency to pass on pyrotechnics. But even if MTV blinks, there’s a plan to take the twelve-clip project directly to the film-festival circuit. It’s possible the entire collection will also be available for purchase later this year, just in time to stuff a stocking near you.
It’s approaching 2 A.M. In spite of the cold, Yorke remains on the set to watch a battered-looking actor run madly from the vehicle. The whole thing is seriously frightening. « Did you see that ?! » Yorke says to no one in particular. « He looked absolutely terrified ! »
Later, the crew and the singer stand around a monitor, reviewing the night’s work. Yorke is particularly pleased with a rather ordinary-looking take of him lipsynching in the backseat. « I could do this for a living, » he says, only half joking. « You just have to get in a car and move your mouth. » The exhausted crew nod, patting both his back and his ego.[/quote]


[button icon=’iconic-cd’ fullwidth=’true’] le samedi 6 septembre 1997  [/button]
Le single « Karma Police » (Parlophone CDODATAS 03) atteint cette semaine son meilleur classement des ventes avec la 8e place.…

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Amatrice du groupe, surtout en concert. Travaille sur ce site depuis 10 ans.


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