"4 Minute Warning" as written by Thomas Edward Yorke, Jonathan Richard Guy Greenwood, Colin Charles Greenwood, Edward John O'brien and Philip James Selway....
This is just a nightmare
Soon I'm gonna wake up
Someone's gonna bring me 'round

Running from the bombers
Hiding in the forest
Running through the fields
Laying flat on the ground

Just like everybody
Stepping over hills
Running from the underground

This is your warning
4 minute warning

I don't wanna hear it
I don't wanna know
I just wanna run and hide

This is just a nightmare
But soon I'm gonna wake up
Someone's gonna bring me 'round

This is our warning
4 minute warning


Lyrics submitted by black_cow_of_death, edited by Taloola145

"4 Minute Warning" as written by Edward John O'brien Colin Charles Greenwood

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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4 Minute Warning song meanings
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54 Comments

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  • +6
    General Commentevery day, my mind is filled with an irrational fear and desperation for hours and hours. i don't know what is real and what is not. all my sickest fears seem like a reality. after everything goes away and the screaming becomes whispering i understand its all in my head. but when its happening i can't tell. its a nightmare every day. every time. this song gives me hope. soon i'm gonna wake up.
    thewhirlwindwayon August 03, 2010   Link
  • +6
    General CommentI think it has to be a reference about nuclear bombs/war, but it could be a metaphor about just trying to run or get away from any negative situation in your life. It seems as a lot of radiohead songs have multiple meanings...also, this song is incredible, dark, i love it!
    radioxon December 21, 2010   Link
  • +5
    General Commentin the 60's, the British government estimated that it would take four minutes for a nuclear bomb to reach England from USSR. This is about him (during a theoretical bombing...maybe a dream)running is fast as he can, through the forests, to try to get as far away from the city as possible. running through the forest to save his life
    jjjackon December 04, 2007   Link
  • +4
    General CommentListening to this song is like watching the world end.
    aynon December 30, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis is obviously about how little progress we have made since the cold war. We all I hope know what a 4 Minute Warning was during the cold war and yet today the threats we face give us no warning. We have actually regressed. Sad but beautiful song.
    mlucky9on June 12, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song sounds so pretty, but is so sad at the same time. Classic Radiohead I guess, lol. I really love how the voices in the background start sounding more and more like sirens as the song goes on.
    BlueMondayson October 11, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"stepping over heads" provokes such dark imagery even for thom yorke.
    how much worse could it get than being in a field covered with dead bodies and you're trying to escape?
    derykon February 16, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think the cold war imagery evoking the "4 minute warning" is a metaphor for facing an uncomfortable reality, the moment of clarity when the consequences are inevitable, the hiatus between realising the unavoidable truth and consequences after the time when any action to avert the impending impact is futile. Hence the opening lyric "should've known way back". I think it's irrelevant whether that is a drug addict, alcoholic, criminal looking back on his actions prior to conviction, perhaps a morally wayward person contemplating the ruinous future. Just the literal, historical 4 minute warning seems a little prozaic to me.
    TheGreyGhoston April 03, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment.. this should explain this song ..

    .. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… ..
    elementsofmarson August 12, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhat warnings? What a panic?
    Thank you.Thank you very much.
    It's all we can do...To thank...
    ...blink our eyes...Thank you...
    Drops our tears...Thank you...
    We can do so little...We are a broken dolls...
    Looking for something in the darkness...
    Army of slaves and masters...
    Army of mannequin heads, arms, legs...
    Army of gold-covered plastic...
    Blanks without signatures...
    Unfinished...

    ...Break to possess...
    This is a nightmare...
    ...Possess to break...
    The NightMare...
    RIverXon June 21, 2008   Link

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