Originally titled "An Airbag Saved My Life," a headline that Thom read in an Automobile Association manual that came in the mail, the song is "about the wonderful, positive emotion you feel when you've just failed to have an accident; when you just miss someone and realize how close it was and stop the car and just feel this incredible emotion." The title is also a play on the 1983 Indeep song "Last night a DJ Saved My Life."
The song reflects the influence DJ Shadow has had on Radiohead, as the band made the track with a drum loop based on a three-second sample of Phil's drumming.
Thom in Select: "Has an airbag saved my life? Nah...but I tell you something, every time you have a near accident, instead of just sighing and carrying on, you should pull over, get out of the car and run down the street screaming, 'I'm BACK! I'm ALIVE! My life has started again today!'. In fact, you should do that every time you get out of a car. We're just riding on those things - we're not really in control of them."
Colin: "We wanted it to be like 'Planet Telex' off' The Bends' -a start that's not really anything like the rest of the album. It's quite dancey. That's cos Phil's been attending drum'n'bass nights."
Phil: "I told you, I thought it was a line-dancing evening! It was actually DJ Shadow who inspired it-the way he cuts up beats is amazing. The end result doesn't really sound like what we were aiming for, but that's probably a good thing."
Ed: "It's about the wonderful, positive emotion you feel when you've just failed to have an accident; when you just miss someone and realise how close it was and stop the car and just feel this incredible elation. There's something joyous about it- life suddenly seems more precious."