"Morning Bell" as written by and Thomas Edward/selway Yorke....
Morning bell
Morning bell
Light another candle
Release me
Release me

You can keep the furniture
A bump on the head
Coming down the chimney
Release me
Release me
Please
Release me
Release me

Where'd you park the car?
Where'd you park the car?
Clothes are all over the furniture
Now I might as well
I might as well
Sleepy jack the fire drill
Run around around around around around

Cut the kids in half
Cut the kids in half
Cut the kids in half

A glass, a gun, a bullet for us will make
Everybody wants to be a ?


Lyrics submitted by Vache, edited by dazzac, Dani990, eloiser, guitaristcj, banstyle, Rivfruifv

"Morning Bell" as written by Edward John O'brien Colin Charles Greenwood

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Morning Bell song meanings
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  • +8
    General CommentOoh, sory i forgot something important. As i was saying, Radiohead are a band with an anticapitalist sentiment, yet they realise that they cannot escape capitalism (They need to sign to a record label in the music industry, and we need to pay money to buy their music).

    The lyric 'Where'd you park the car?' epitomises this. Although the father doesn't care about the furniture and will freely give it to the mother, he is still extremely concerned with another material posseion; the car. Without the car, he cannot escape and survive for very long, and he cannot help his children.

    In short, the father needs a bit of capitalism in order to escape capitalism. Realizing the catch-22 situation (you cant escape capitalism if you use it, but you need to use it in order to escape it, but you cant escape it if you use it, and so on and so on,) is the problem at the heart of the album of Kid A. It is also why the album cant find an answer to the problem. In any case, listening to Kid A is a damn good mental excersize, and is says something quite complicated that needs to be said.

    I didn't get a full appreciation of Kid A until i came back to it after i was a teenager and a little smarter.

    But i think everyone will back me up here when i say that even if you don't fully understand what a Radiohead song is about (and i dont claim to by the way, hell i'm almost definitely overanalysing!) you still feel the moods and emotions that are at the heart of the music, and it is those moods that encaptulate the feelings of anxiety and isolation and hopelessness we feel as disenfranchised members of western society (not unlike Winston in George Orell's 1984 (2+2=5)).

    Above anything, Radiohead reassure us that we aren't alone in thinking what we think and feeling how we feel, and that is why they are my favorite band.
    BlakeNewlandon November 20, 2007   Link
  • +7
    General Commentif its put simply, it seems this song is about divorce. i mean "cut the kids in half" and "you can keep the furniture" and "whered you park the car?" just show that so easily. but theres no way of telling; this is radiohead.
    ParaniodAndriodon April 12, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Commenti don't see the amnesiac version of the song to be so lighthearted, but it has brighter sonorities, and its in 4/4 time as opposed to the kid a version which is in 5/4, i love both, or rather every noise ever emitted from thom yorke and jonny greenwood
    youenjoymyselfon September 24, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIt's about a marriage gone sour (reminds me of a Harry Enfield sketch about an unhappily-married couple, with the poor kid stuck in the middle).
    'Where'd you park the car?" is quite funny, actually. I can picture the scene: man and woman arguing bitterly, with intense loathing in their eyes. It's like when your partner even breathing or eating (or both at the same time) annoys you intensely, so that you know the game's pretty much up.
    richeyeon November 08, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's interesting, in the context of Amniesiac, it appears to be about divorce, but in context of Kid A, it's quite different.
    (Speaking of Kid A) Morning Bell represents (to me) the aftermath of the catastrophe of Idioteque. We cannot wallow in despair, and have to face up to the monotomous pain of living ("walking, walking, walking"). Maybe it's a kind of divorce, a detachment from reality and a full life, simply staying alive out of habit, like a zombie.
    Another interesting slant on this is a quote from Thom:
    "It's very, very violent. Extremely violent. The really weird thing about that was I wrote the song with all the words pretty much straight away, which is basically the only one I did that with. I recorded it onto MiniDisc and then there was a lightning storm, and it wiped the MiniDisc and I lost the song. I completely forgot it. Then five months later, I was on a plane, knackered for 24 hours, I was just falling asleep, and I remembered it. It was really weird, I never had that before. It's gone in and took a long time to come out again. The lyrics are really... they're not as dramatic as they sound, you know? Except "Cut the kids in half", which is dramatic no matter which way you read it".
    The fact he describes it as "violent" suggests against the idea of divorce.
    whapcapnon February 25, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"I was told the part about "Cut the kids in half" is a direct quotation from the Bible. Moses (maybe someone else?) gets approached by 2 prostitutes claiming they're both carrying his children. He tells them to "cut the kids in half"."

    i think it was a little different than that.

    it was more like king solomon was a judge as well as a king. two women came to him fighting over possession of a baby that one woman claimed the other stole from her. to solve it, king solomon told a guard to take a sword and cut the baby in half. the false mother agreed, but the real mother was all "no no don't do it, give it to her if that's what you'll do", and that's how king solomon knew who the real mother was.

    i'm not sure if that line is any reference to that, however.
    kelaron April 22, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOn the base level, yes, the song is about divorce. But we all know radiohead are cleverer than that. The reason most of us like them is that most of their songs are extremely difficult to find the exact meaning of, it generates conversations like this!

    I like to think of morning bell in the context of the whole album (kid A). So firstly I'll talk about what I think Kid A is all about. Skip further down if you just want to know what i think of Morning Bell.

    Kid A is a concept album, borne out of Radioheads abivalent feelings towards their own success after Ok computer; they didn't just want to churn out another similar sounding album and gradually fade away, churning out album after album, each slightly worse than the last, until nobody likes their new stuff any more.

    Kid A in my opinion is an experiment conducted by radiohead to see if they can escape this type of decaying popularity so many bands suffer from.

    Also, thnk about their music as a whole. Generally speaking, it is about the worries and anxieties created by a capitalist society that is fully in control of the world, but not in control of itself, to the extent that it will eventually destroy the planet and all of us along with it.

    Take for example idiotech: (we are not scaremongering, this is really happening! Women and children first etc.) Women and children first being a reference to the titanic, this is a metaphor that suggests living on earth is like being stuck on a sinking ship; hopelessly inescapable. Yet Kid A i think is about somehow trying to escape it, just like their own success.

    So, take these two things into consideration:

    1-Radiohead wish to escape their own success. (this doesen't mean they want to be unsuccessful, but rather, they are worried that the future of their band if they carry on like they have been doing)

    2-Their music (from the bends onwards) is generally about trying to escape a capitalist system which will destroy the earth.

    OK. BACK TO MORNING BELL.

    'Cut the kids in half', as a few of you have suggested, refers to the well-known story about the two women claiming to be the mother of one child. I agree with you. However, notice the difference between this story and the lyrics in morning bell.

    In the story, 'cut the kids in half' is a test to find out who the real mother is; and the real mother' sentiment is that she would rather give her child to the other woman than allow her child to be cut in half.

    In the song however, the narrator (the father) is addressing the mother when he says 'you can keep the furniture'; and he is adressing her throughout the whole song. So 'cut the kids in half' is a way of saying 'you care more about the furniture than our children, and if we were tested (like the two women) I would be the one that really cared about them.

    The song in my opinion therefore , although about divorce, is more about the differences between the father and the mother.

    The father is the antithesis of capitalism; he wants to escape it. However, the mother is an embodiment of capitalism; she cares more about her material possessions than her children. And as the mother is an embodiment of capitalism, the father wants to escape her too.

    I like the comment about father christmas coming down the chimney. For me it further shows the mother's obsession with capitalism (christmas being the retailers favorite time of year). 'Bump on the head' for me symbolizes that father christamas (symbolic of her material possessions) have confused the mother to the extent that she is a slave to it.

    'Nobody wants to be a slave' suggests more anxiety in the father's mind: he doesen't want to be a slave, he realizes what is important, being a friend to people, being there for his children. He believes that the mother is a slave to capitalism without even realizing it. He isn't, he tells her 'you can keep the furniture'.

    'Release me'; well, after everything i've already said i think you see my train of thought on what this means.

    However, as I said before, the divorce, the mother and the father are metaphorical. The 'father' is somebody who thinks there are more important things in life than capitalism, while the 'mother' is a slave to capitalism, while the 'divorce' signifies a split between the two.

    THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION TO ASK ABOUT THE SONG!!! WHO DO THE KIDS REPRESENT?

    They represent us!

    We have a very grim choice; either we can go and live with the mother (capitalism), indulge ourselves in material posessions and contribute towards the destruction of the planet. OR we can go and live with the father (anticapitalism) and realise the truth; that friendship and humanity (and great music) are more important than material things. But then we come to a problem, how the hell are we going to do be independent from capitalist society, really?

    Radiohead face the same problem with their music; how can they write music with anticapitalist sentiments when they are signed to a record label, and we, the fans, escape capitalism when we need to buy their music?

    This is the main problem that Kid A tries to solve. But it can't. It tries to get away from itself (im not here, this isn't happening) And suceeds for a while in 'treefingers'. The struggle is born again in 'optimistic' with a new answer to the problem (you can try the best you can, the best you can is good enough). But too soon we find ourselves 'In Limbo', and then the original problem arises in idiotech and morning bell. And at the end, the only answer we get is 'i will see you in the next life'.
    BlakeNewlandon November 20, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentto me this song is all about consumerism, and how people tend to sort of blend in and do all the same things as the rest of society, even if they don't really want to. "light another candle," meaning mourn whatever the media says to mourn. then everybody still celebrating christmas, even if they're not in anyway religious, because it's become a consumer holiday. everybody worried about the same material stuff, shopping, clothes, furniture, cars. cut the kids in half is a reference to making more identical consumer clones, because they're identical to their predecessor, so it's like they've just been split in two and then regrown into two identical beings. the last verse (the mumbled bits from the live shows) is talking about how everybody's functioning, but nobody's thinking about what they're doing. also about how everyone wants to blend in, but nobody wants to feel like they're just clones or slaves to the media. everybody wants to...nobody wants to be a slave.
    setsunamudou732on January 15, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGeneral suburban misery? Growing up in a broken home?
    janeireon December 07, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDivorce was the first thing I thought of while listening to the song. Especially the "cut the kids..." business. But what the shit does "Sleepy-jack the fire drill" mean? There-in lies the enigma. An angry song set to an almost quiescent musical backround. Radiohead at their best!
    radiocakedoveson June 11, 2002   Link

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