Cause and effect. That’s the primary rationale behind the concept of karma.
According to the Cambridge online dictionary, karma is “the force produced by a person’s actions in one life that influences what happens to them in future lives.”
This belief comes primarily from Eastern religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism. However, Western culture incorporated it as well later on.
Some believe that consequences are paid after death in a different life. Others state that karma applies in this lifetime on Planet Earth.
Whether one or the other, this curious concept didn’t escape the eyes of the artists, who made interesting songs with karma’s nature.
Check these 15 examples and comment on which one’s your favorite!
1. Karma Police – Radiohead
According to singer Thom Yorke, the concept of karma makes him happy. Maybe because it’s a form where people can work together towards a more respectful future?
After all, if karma is real, and people know about that law, then no one would behave badly or commit any crime or misdemeanor.
Karma Police comes from an inner joke between the members of Radiohead.
They think twice before doing something mean or wicked; otherwise, the “karma police” will go after them.
Maybe Cheap Trick’s Dream Police is under the same security department? Or are both band members paranoid?
2. Head Like A Hole – Nine Inch Nails
“Bow down before the one you serve / You’re going to get what you deserve”
Whether Head Like a Hole’s theme is about karma on its whole or not, it’s undeniable that those lyrics reflect the concept of karma flawlessly.
3. Karma Chameleon – Culture Club
One of the most cheer-up one-hit wonders contains a dark connotation.
It’s quite a surprise to find out this song is about fear. However, it’s not in the way you might expect.
This has nothing to do with a pathological phobia or with the feeling itself. Rather, it’s about fear of rejection.
Karma Chameleon is a critique of people who are not true to themselves, either by following someone else’s dreams, changing tastes because of fashion, or blending with others’ opinions just to be accepted.
Singer Boy George believes that behaving like a ‘chameleon’ has its own karmic nature.
Sooner or later, you’ll face that rejection you’re so afraid of experiencing. Not to mention, you’ll barely know who you are.
As Dostoevsky said: “Your worst sin is that you have destroyed and betrayed yourself for nothing”
4. Karma – Alicia Keys
In this song from the 2003 album The Diary of Alicia Keys, we discover a heartbreaking love story.
The singer’s lover always returns home late, not giving explanations on where he has been.
It’s a constant struggle and a continuous disappointment.
Finally, Alicia Keys had enough of it and takes the brave and healthy decision of putting an end to the relationship.
Karma hits her ex when he comes back crying to her.
5. Karma Killer – Robbie Williams
Karma Killer is from Robbie William’s 1998 album I’ve Been Expecting You.
It’s not the most famous William song, not even within the album (unlike Millenium, or No Regrets).
The track is a powerful one, with potent electric guitar chords and epic keyboards. Not to mention, Robbie Williams pours his voice out on this one.
If you ask me, the song’s energy is sufficient for anyone to start out at the gym on Monday morning; and that’s saying a lot!
6. Bad Karma – Miley Cyrus feat Joan Jett
Miley Cyrus released Plastic Heart in 2020.
The album contains collaborations with memorable musicians, including Dua Lipa, Billy Idol, and Joan Jett, the last one singing the track Bad Karma.
Oddly enough, many expected a more punk-pop-like song. After all, we’re talking about the Queen of Punk rock Joan Jett.
Funnily enough, Night Crawler with Billy Idol was more punk-oriented than Bad Karma.
One way or another, the Jett-Cyrus team-up is a wonderful one, and the song is catchy enough to go back to it over and over again.
7. War Pigs – Black Sabbath
Let me clarify this: War Pigs is not exactly about karma per se.
It is about the atrocious war crimes committed by warheads.
However, there’s a karmic punishment for these wicked leaders. When God calls upon Judgment Day, the war pigs end up meeting their fates at the hands of Satan.
Now, I’m not sure whether an eternity in Hell could be considered karma. Isn’t it too much?
I mean, maybe some years in Hell should be okay, but for the entire eternity? That goes beyond karma…
Anyway, the answer’s up to you.
8. Bad Blood – Taylor Swift
Bad Blood is about betrayal.
According to Swift, another famous pop singer tried to sabotage an “entire arena tour”, so she wrote Bad Blood thinking about this female singer.
It’s believed that the song’s dedication is to Katy Perry, but so far, there is no way to prove it.
But in case it was indeed Ms. Perry, do you think karma paid her with her own medicine?
One interesting fact about Bad Blood is that its music video hit more than 20 million views on day one, which is quite an achievement.
9. Instant Karma (We All Shine On) – John Lennon
Add this one to your playlist of “songs made in a single day”.
Yes, you read it right. Not only Lennon created this song within 24 hours but recorded it as well.
According to Lennon, one morning he sat in front of the piano and wrote Instant Karma down.
After singing it over and over again, Lennon booked the studio and recorded it in about three or five takes.
The magic of being a Beatle (or better still, the magic of a lifetime of thorough practice and dedication to music)
10. Karma – Opeth
11. Happy Karma Christmas – Sufjan Stevens
12. Karmagedón – Attaque 77
13. You Get What You Give – New Radicals
14. What You Give Is What You Get – Ratt
15. Outrunning Karma – Alec Benjamin
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.