"The National Anthem" as written by Thomas Yorke, Edward John O'brien, Colin Charles Greenwood, Jonathan Richard Guy Greenwood and Philip Selway....
Everyone around here
Everyone is so near
It's holding on
It's holding on

Everyone is so near
Everyone has got the fear
It's holding on
It's holding on

It's holding on
It's holding on
It's holding on

Lyrics submitted by Vache, edited by TheAmazingSoundsOfGreenwood

"The National Anthem" as written by Edward John O'brien Colin Charles Greenwood

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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The National Anthem song meanings
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  • +6
    General CommentThe reason that this song is so good is not cause of the lyrics, but because the music itself captures the essence of the song's meaning. The song's climax of the horns and synthesizer (last min.) and york's screaming of holding on...it builds up to show that the song is now out of control and one big mess (atleast its a beautiful mess)
    DHess7on April 20, 2002   Link
  • +5
    General CommentI think this is more specifically about the culture of fear in our society and how politicians have created it. We are all so close to each other (geographically, socially) and yet we are scared of pulling back and being seen as individuals. The brass section reflects the different noises (soundbites) that we hear from politicians through the media which on their own might make sense yet because they are all contradictory (arguing among themselves) the result is utter confusion.
    I think the title refers to the fact that most of the UK (and elsewhere) is homogenised and therefore the message applies to EVERYONE.
    It reminds me of a Radiohead tee-shirt I have which is the UK map on its side with crying minotaurs all over it.
    derykon November 09, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Commentwoooooooaaaaaaaaahhhh this song is like so SPACY
    makes me all float and stuff
    it takes me to the elfworld
    radiohead rocks
    orange solitudeon April 12, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song is so chill....pretty much like all of KID A best freakin radiohead album, everyone *loves* OK Computer but i like the experimental style much better on kid a.
    bluekitty2on April 16, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe driving bass line in this song has so much violent energy, it gives me the impression of an angry crowd on the brink of rioting. The lyrics seem to support this to me, giving voice to the sort of 'mob mentality' that causes these things in the first place - group confusion and spreading fear reach the boiling point.
    ledzeprulon May 06, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWell, noting the name of the song it's probably about government (national anthem?). "Everyone is so near"-everyone is use to each other, easy to control. "What's going on?"-I don't believe he says this, maybe it's just me. "Everyone has got fear"-either means the citizens suspect something of their government or are ruled by fear (common in most societies). The sudden trumpet is when things start going wrong. Soon other instruments begin to join, and the drums begin to change: riots, mayhem, chaos; people are overthrwoing government. He screams "It's holdin' on" to signify that there is still some control. The 3rd time he is drowned out. the instruments still play and take on their own rythms. Soon the bass guitar stops-government is no longer present. The instruments play freely and horribly. Society has fallen apart. (grin)...maybe there's more to this song, but that's the basic of what I got. And the album version is better. Like the live recording though.
    CutSlanon April 08, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFuck, every countries anthem should be replaced by this. The bass-line is so fucking bad ass. And the brass at the end just...I dunno makes me all disoriented, but in a good way, of course. I can just imagine Radiohead playing this at the beginning of a baseball game or something. That would make my day.
    RadioheadxxSlaveon February 11, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentfear overwhelming people, drawing them close and throwing them into confusion, living a life of confusion and chaos, and not understanding why.

    our lovely national anthem.
    Alcatraz_Escapeeon August 20, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is the sound of the world coming to an end...

    I downloaded an MP3 of the SNL version and have barely listened to the studio version since. f'ing amazing.
    half_duprasson May 26, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment2 things:
    First, I'm pretty sure "what's going on" is supposed to be "and so alone". I'm not a Radiohead expert or anything but the contradiction would be very cool.

    Also, I'm kinda confused about how none of the meanings proposed here have to do with the internet. So far a lot of the stuff I've read about the album (I got it a month ago) has to do with how it sounds computery (e.g. Idioteque, Everything in its Right Place, Kid A) and builds of the 2000, y2k hysteria. The song totally makes sense in terms of internet paranoia. It brings people closer together - but at the same time drives them apart, and takes over our lives and our nations. As in, chaos is the new national anthem.

    Anyway, great song.
    KnightofNion November 13, 2010   Link

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