I'm stuck in the Tardis
Trapped in hyperspace
One minute, snake charming
The next in a motorcade

All the right moves and in the right places
Watch me dance, I'm a puppet
You can almost see the string

Give me an answer
Give me a line
I've been climbing up this ladder
I've been wasting my time

Up on the ladder, we're all tied to a stake
Up on the ladder, we wait for your mistake
Up on the ladder, trying to call out your name
Up on the ladder, you're all the fucking same


Lyrics submitted by ruben, edited by Paymaan

Up on the Ladder song meanings
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45 Comments

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  • +6
    General Comment"T.A.R.D.I.S. or TARDIS" not "Tardis"
    Time And Relative Demensions In Space

    it's good to see people know about Doctor Who.
    Koyaanisqatsion December 31, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General Commentisn't "stuck in the tardis" a doctor who reference?
    silentpropheton December 06, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think it's about being used and knowing it and the resentment that goes along with it.

    The lines "Watch me dance, I'm a puppet" and "Give me an answer, give me a lie" (I think it's lie but either way it's the same general point) suggest that he's being used and knows people aren't being honest with him.

    One of my favorite songs, it's definitely very personal for me.
    Whiskycloneon August 22, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOK the lyrics are definitely wrong here, just listened to the 93 feet east recording on youtube (youtube.com/…) the first verse definitely contains references to the Tardis (from Doctor Who) and hyperspace, and a motorcade for that matter. All those references are about seeing things from a distance, much like being up on a ladder (see how that connects?!?!?!) and in my opinion the song is about Tony Blair (much like You and Whose Army?) hence the line "You let your people down" and "You're all the fucking same" Macaque has the right lyrics
    charliereayon January 27, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Commentmacaque's lyrics are closest although one thing is that, the first line of the last four verses is this, "up on the ladder out of time to escape" or possibly it is as screenvalue writes it. In any case you are missing those lyrics.

    I do feel that it is possilby about Tony Blair, or perhaps is more general towards a few of the worlds current leaders which all appear to be puppets. The ladder is what they had to climb to get where they are today(in power). Now that they are where they wanted to be, it seems useless, and they perhaps feel powerless just puppets. All people on the ladder are the fucking same, they are all disconnected from the people.
    jocularjoshon January 31, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentSeems like a stab at the average man all on the ladder trying to get higher and higher in society.
    joslin01on October 06, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI LOVE this song. Love it. Its perfect. Amazing. Damn. only Radiohead can make me feel this way.
    ThomBjork225on June 27, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentGiven Thom's interest in socio-political and environmental issues - not to mention his disillusionment with world leadership during the Blair/Bush era - I have NO DOUBT that Up On the Ladder was originally written from this persepective. It seems to be a statement about the nature of politics/politicians... as well as a kind of lament from an ordinary citizen's POV that neither we, nor our elected politicians have been able to bring about effect change. ("I'm a puppet"... "I've been wasting my time"... "You're all the fucking same" etc).

    However, the song's inclusion on the 2-disc edition of In Rainbows causes to me to view its meaning in a very different light. Think of UotL as the evil twin brother to Faust Arp if you will.

    Looking at it this way, the lyrics seem to suggest a man who's in emotional torment because the object of his infatuation will not give him a straight answer regarding where their (non)relationship is heading. In other words, he's losing patience and starting to see her as a prick-tease ("you're all the fucking same") - though he seems equally angry with himself, and is beginning to lose it big-time.
    Lantaon June 23, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe Tardis is the the spaceship/time ship used by Dr Who in the popular BBC show of the same name. If you have never watched the show you should give it a chance. It plays on the SciFi Channel in the US.
    fightforlaston October 13, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentim stuck in the tardis
    trapped in hyperspace
    one minute snake charming
    the next in a motorcade

    all the right moves
    and in the right places
    watch me dance im a puppet
    you can almost see the strings

    give me an answer
    give me a line
    ive been climbing up this ladder
    ive been wasting my time

    up on the ladder
    im tied to a stake
    up on the ladder
    we wait for your mistake

    up on the ladder
    trying to call out your name
    up on the ladder
    youre all the fucking same
    macaqueon December 05, 2007   Link

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