The Strokes – “Call It Fate, Call It Karma” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

Glimpsing into The Strokes’ “Call It Fate, Call It Karma,” the song dives deep into a contemplative space, touching on moments of yearning and connection. This dreamy ballad seems to dance around memories and moments of introspection. At its core, the song embodies themes of longing, the search for understanding, and the timeless nature of specific connections, even as they drift apart. Whether it’s a friend, a lover, or a part of oneself, there’s a palpable sense of reaching out and wanting to comprehend that connection again.

Ever wondered how some songs just touch the heart? Dive in to unravel the layers of a poignant tune by The Strokes.

“Call It Fate, Call It Karma” Lyrics Meaning

As the lyrics open with “Close the door, Not all the way,” there’s a sense of intimacy but also of distance. It feels as if two people are on the verge of a conversation, one that holds a lot of weight, and yet there’s hesitation. Perhaps this is a discussion they’ve had before or one they’ve avoided.

“He don’t understand, We don’t understand” emphasizes mutual confusion. There’s a shared lack of clarity between the two. Yet the recurring line, “So, don’t you wanna remind me?” hints at the past. There’s an urge to revisit memories or feelings that once made sense but have now faded.

“I don’t know a thing” comes across as vulnerable. Here, the songwriter, possibly Julian Casablancas, voices the feeling of being lost, of trying to grasp something elusive.

The lines “Can I waste all your time here on the sidewalk? Can I stand in your light, just for a while?” paint a vivid picture. They suggest an attempt to reconnect, to be in someone’s presence, even if it’s for a fleeting moment. There’s desperation and earnestness in wanting to be close to someone, even as they drift apart.

“I’ve waited around to wait in a room, Having a hard time watching you,” these lyrics depict patience and underlying pain. Watching someone from a distance can be agonizing, especially if there was once closeness.

Towards the end, “I need someone” is a plea, a raw admission of needing connection, understanding, and love.

The Story Behind “Call It Fate, Call It Karma”

The Strokes have always been known for their introspective and often cryptic lyrics. At the time of penning this song, there seemed to be a transitioning phase in the band’s career and in their personal lives. Many artists use songwriting as a therapeutic tool, a way to navigate the mazes of their own minds. Julian Casablancas, the frontman, has a knack for capturing universal feelings in a unique way.

Given the ethereal and complex nature of “Call It Fate, Call It Karma,” it’s challenging to pin down a specific inspiration. The Strokes, particularly Casablancas, have always maintained a shroud of mystery when it comes to their songwriting process. However, diving into the band’s history and the context surrounding this track offers some insights.

The album “Comedown Machine,” where this track is from, was a departure from the band’s earlier sound, indicating a time of exploration and transition. This transitional phase could also be seen in their personal lives, with members growing older, exploring other musical ventures, and navigating the challenges that come with long-standing relationships, both within the band and in their personal lives.

“Call It Fate, Call It Karma” stands out with its jazzy and ambient tone, a sound quite distinct from the band’s usual style. This divergence might signify a contemplative state, a moment where the past, present, and future blend.

The beauty of “Call It Fate, Call It Karma” lies in its ambiguity. Whether it’s about an old friend, a past lover, or the band’s journey itself, the song’s essence remains universal. It’s about moments that linger in the heart and mind, even when they’ve faded from view.

In wrapping up, the journey through “Call It Fate, Call It Karma” offers listeners a space to reflect, to feel, and to remember. In the intricate dance of lyrics and melody, The Strokes once again prove their mastery in connecting with the human experience, making the song a timeless piece in their illustrious discography.