Electioneering

Album: OK Computer (1997)

Songfacts®:

  • Thom Yorke explained in an interview in 1997 that "Electioneering" was inspired by the writings of the media critic Noam Chomsky. He said: "Like a lot of songs I write, it came from two places at once. I had this phase I went through on an American tour where we just seemed to be shaking hands all the time, and I was getting a bit sick of it and upset by it. So I came up with this running joke with myself, where I used to shake people's hands and say, 'I trust I can rely on your vote.' They'd go hahaha and look at me like I was a nutcase. But the phrase sort of carried on. It was like a mantra. "As well as that, I had been reading a lot of Chomsky, and I had that feeling when you read Chomsky that you want to get out and do something and realize, in fact, that you're impotent."

    Eventually after scribbling pages and pages of lyrics about the third world and wars and world politics, Yorke thought of Chomsky's writings and ended up summing it up with the phrase: "Cattle prods and the IMF" (International Monetary Fund, a global financial monitoring agency). "There's no other way to say it, really," he added.
  • OK Computer was recorded at a time when the Conservative party had been in government for 17 years. Their time in power was coming to an end and Tony Blair's Labour party was soon to replace them. Yorke has said since that his lyrics were affected by journalist Will Hutton's book about this period of Conservative government The State We're In: Why Britain Is In Crisis And How To Overcome It.
  • Guitarist Ed O'Brien (from Humo magazine July 22, 1997): "When you have to promote your album for a longer period, in the United States for example, you fly around from city to city for weeks to meet journalists and record company people. After a while you feel like a politician who has to kiss babies and shake hands all day long."

Comments: 1

  • Michael from Tucson, AzOne of the faster and crazier songs on OK Computer. Beautiful, love it all.
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