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Airbag is the first song from Radiohead's third album, OK Computer, and the title track from the Airbag/How Am I Driving? EP, released in 1998.

History

The concept for Airbag was born from an experience Thom Yorke had when he was younger. He had been involved in a car crash with his girlfriend, emerging unharmed due to the airbag installed in the car. This incident also inspired some of Radiohead's other lyrics, such as those from Stupid Car, and Killer Cars.

Thom said in an interview about Airbag:

"I was really frightened of cars back then, but “Airbag” was almost the opposite of that. If you get into a crash or a potentially disastrous situation and walk away, you feel a thousand times more alive regardless of what that is. It’s more about that. I was also sort of experimenting with the way that Michael [Stipe] wrote lyrics where you’ve got this thing of semi-nonsense, but when you add them together, it has a cumulative expression of something."

The song uses a drum loop created by Thom and Phil, which was then run through Jonny's Pedal Board by Nigel Godrich to make it more "exciting sounding". The three resulting takes were then used on the final track.

Lyrics:

[Verse 1]
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

[Chorus]
In an interstellar burst
I'm back to save the universe

[Verse 2]
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

[Chorus]
In an interstellar burst
I am back to save the universe

[Chorus]
In an interstellar burst
I am back to save the universe
In an interstellar burst
I am back to save the universe