"How to Disappear Completely" as written by Thomas Yorke, Edward John O'brien, Colin Charles Greenwood, Jonathan Richard Guy Greenwood and Philip Selway....
That there
That's not me
I go
Where I please

I walk through walls
I float down the Liffey
I'm not here
This isn't happening
I'm not here
I'm not here

In a little while
I'll be gone
The moment's already passed
Yeah it's gone
And I'm not here
This isn't happening
I'm not here
I'm not here

Strobe lights and blown speakers
Fireworks and hurricanes
I'm not here
This isn't happening
I'm not here
I'm not here


Lyrics submitted by shut

"How to Disappear Completely" as written by Thomas Yorke, Edward John O'brien, Colin Charles Greenwood, Jonathan Richard Guy Greenwood, Philip Selway

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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How to Disappear Completely song meanings
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226 Comments

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  • +20
    General CommentIf you ever get the urge to shut all of your friends out of your life and just work a job and come home to play counter-strike all night and listen to CD's....This song is absolutely not good for that. And speaking of, get the hell out of your house.

    Comfortably Numbish...I believe Radiohead is the Pink Floyd of our generation. Good song, chilling, lonely...

    thisboyon January 31, 2002   Link
  • +15
    General CommentTo me this song is the very definition of the word "existential". Yes, I know this is a term overused by pseudo-intellectuals, but I feel it's the best single word to encapsulate this song. "I'm not here, this isn't happening"... this song is so deeply based on the concept of 'me'. Who am I? What am I doing on this earth? Am I at all significant?.... No, I am not. I'm simply observing the events around me. Events created by a conglomeration of efforts by many others: fireworks, strobe lights, blown speakers. Any and every moment I've held dear (to myself) has passed like a blown firework.. but I find comfort in being small. Perhaps Thom wrote this song after singing for a stadium full of adoring Dubliners to find humility in being one human amongst billions.

    The musical base of this song consists of simple open chords strummed on acoustic guitar with complex cascading orchestral melodies swirling around them.. kind of like each of us trying to live our own simple lives amongst the combined influences of all the people around us adding complexity (and confusion). I think the most beautiful moment of this song is towards the end (5:25) when Thom is holding out one of his reverb-laden falsetto notes in a brief moment of solidarity before the strings kick back in. This song is almost 6 minutes long, but somehow it seems to pass so much more quickly.
    rainsong86on April 15, 2012   Link
  • +7
    General CommentThom said an in interview that this was one of the only songs he really wrote for kid a. Almost all the others were basically drawn from a hat and pieced together cause of writers block. Just piecing together what was in his mind, otherwise he said he would of just thrown what he wrote away. He goes on to say this song was the mantra for the time during the ok computer touring when they were touring themselves stupid and on the verge of breaking up (thank god that didnt happen). And it makes a lot of sense when you look at it this way, they were being bled dry by the media and having their arms twisted. I get a lot of anger from this song, but also a sadness. sad that this is the way the world is but angry that there's nothing you can really do about it except put yourself somewhere else in your own head. It sounds like he is trying to convince himself that he's not here. In the beginning it sounds like it's working for him, it isn't so bad, but the more it carries on the more difficult it is to keep this state of mind.
    wyguyon April 26, 2012   Link
  • +7
    My InterpretationMy feeling (only my own interpretation rather than Yorke's) when I listen to this is that he is done with this life, tired, exhausted, ready to "throw in the towel" as such. For me at least, there is no lower feeling you can experience than when you are truly connecting with this song. To me it's about being stuck in a hole so deep you don't feel you'll ever escape from it, out of it and back up into the real world. By "real world" I mean to fit back into society as a happy, functioning individual with goals, aspirations, a future in sight. The idea of such an existence seems foreign even if it was once your reality, so you want out. You want to disappear.
    sjukhus01on December 30, 2012   Link
  • +7
    My InterpretationThis sums up a pretty big period of my life for me. It started back when I was about ten and didn't know songs like this existed, and it hasn't fully stopped. Finding this was bittersweet in a way, I didn't feel alone, but it hit home pretty hard, I didn't really know what to make of it.
    There are still days in which I kind of pretend to be missing.
    Sometimes I just want to be somewhere, anywhere but here, to be anyone but me. So I kind of start drifting away, lose myself in a book, a song, a daydream. In painting or sad attempts at making music. Because I can't deal with things, so I escape. That is what the dreamy quality of this song makes me think about.
    But no matter how hard I try, it's not real, it's not enough. I still feel reality looming over me, And the song is dream-like, yes- but with a dark atmosphere, with a hint of fear, of desperately clinging to the fantasy because the real world is scary and unfair and everything you ever cherish at some point in your life dies.
    I bet most will huff and smirk, then roll their eyes and keep scrolling before reading more than a handful of words, but I still wanted to share this, not sure why.
    Zekhmeton July 01, 2013   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThis song is one of my favourites. It really just makes you forget anything that's been bothering you. It's just one of those songs. Can't really be described, and everyone has a different opinion about it.
    Misheson February 17, 2002   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI have dissociative identity disorder, and to me, this relates a whole lot. This might not be Thoms intention, but that's definitely what it's about to me.
    wheniamkingon July 03, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThis is what it feels like when you're living a life you don't want to live, just going through the motions of something you would never choose on your own. Especially when you're doing it on little sleep.
    JohnTheSavage1on December 01, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI have to disagree with so many of you who think this is a depressing song. This song is about depression, but it is a song of hope. The key is in the lyrics:
    In a little while I'll be gone
    The moments already passed
    Yeah it's gone
    The song then guides you through that period of dissonance with the string section at the end. Thom's voice (sounds like a cry) is barely audible throughout the period of dissonance, yet it is there. Then it rises out of the dissonance and is clear and loud again as the song closes. In essence we go through the moment of dissonance with him and then we are with him as it passes and is audibly gone. The lyrics set up the moment for us and then we audibly experience the moment and its passing. It just feels so personal to go through it with Thom, that is why this song is so meaningful. If you are depressed or have ever been depressed there is so much hope in the realization that it is truly just a moment in your life, and it will pass. The song is filled with hope and is brilliant!
    nightswimmeron May 29, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song has such a mysterious beauty. I love listening to it late at night, it just shuts everything else out. I interpret this song as being about when the world becomes unbearable, and you just want to look at everything in a different way. 'That there... thats not me' reminds me of regret and looking back on something you did that you later find absurd and ridiculous. You just want to shut out everything and get away from that- 'i'm not here, this isnt happening'
    tommy91on April 15, 2009   Link

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