"The Clock" as written by and Thomas Edward Yorke....
Time is running out for us
But you just move the hands upon the clock
You throw coins in the wishing well
For us
You just move your hands upon the wall

It comes to you begging you to stop
Wake up
But you just move your hands upon the clock
Throw coins in the wishing well
For us
You make believe that you are still in charge

Lyrics submitted by black_cow_of_death

"The Clock" as written by Thomas Edward Yorke

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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The Clock song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI'm pretty sure I heard Thom say in an interview that this song was about global warming and the fact that world leaders recognize it's a problem but just sort of ignore it. So with the line "But you just move the hands upon the clock throw coins in the wishing well for us" he's saying that our leaders waste time with talking and half-assed "solutions" to make the public think that they're actually doing something when in reality "Time is running out for us". I think he's also saying with the line "throw coins in the wishing well" that they are trying their luck and eventually its going to catch up with them.
    black_cow_of_deathon June 24, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI thought this song was about Nuclear Annihilation and the "Doomsday Clock". The doomsday clock is a device used to illustrate the threat of nuclear arms and other things of destroying the human race/causing major upset. The arms are moved closer to the hour to illustrate greater threat and moved further from the hour to show lower threat.

    Just recently it was altered so that Global Warming and the environment was included. That was after the release of The Eraser though so I think it's about nuclear threats and the Iraq war and how politicians throw money at the problem and "make a wish" that it sorts itself out.

    I love this song. So true. I love the whole album, it makes me shudder. I wanna play it full blast to the world and see the effect it has, which according to the lyrics of other songs, would be negligable. Such a pity. Start doing something about it!
    DanSharkeyon February 04, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Commentits about global worming- "it comes to you, begging you to stop-wake up!"
    its about how time's running up and we keep saying things like "god, we godda do something about it..." but doing nothing but talking. talking, being useless- throwing coinds for luck...moving our hands upon the clock and making believe we are being helpful, making believe we are still in charg, but it's all just talking.
    amazing song btw.
    aldrrian lunsfelton May 15, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentexactly. they push the issue to the side and leave it up to someone else to fix and that someone leaves it up for someone else and the cycle has turned into a big shameful mess of lack of leadership. keep on pushin thom!
    whysogreenandlonelyon July 18, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Move the hands upon the clock"
    Like being horribly late, but saying 'thats ok, I'll put my clock back a few hours"
    The common attitude at the moment is that if you ignore something for long enough it will go away.
    ZA81on February 11, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSoConstantine-- it's because it is the most important thing of our age. Of any age. Think about how the population keeps growing, arable land becoming scarcer, trees (oxygen providers) being cut down, ozone depletion- thus hotter, thus drying up water (already happening in Darfur) and melting glaciers, killing eco-system supporting plankton (which depend on ice to insulate them from sun), and people being oblivious to all of it. I think I would write about that as well. It's difficult to set aside and forget about.
    Jballer32on March 30, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentnot much to add to this, think jballer n black cow pretty much nailed it. there is also the small hint of nukes "make believe that you are still in charge", man controls man, but nature is ruling, mother earth fighting back through global warming. and governments are starting to notice, trying to turn back the clock on the environment with climate change bills that are too little too late, and throwing coins making wishes, coz its too little too late. good accoustic version too.......
    wanderin bobon July 17, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Hands of the Clock"
    In my opinion, it's about the Federal Reserve. The way they prop up bad banks with bailouts, is them moving the hands of the clock. Eventually the American economy will collapse, but the FED pushes back that day with bailouts.

    "Coins in the wishing well"
    The FED inflates the American dollar by printing currency, "coins", into the economy and "wishing" this will solve the economies issues by encouraging spending. Stupid Keynesians.

    "Move your hands about the Wall"
    The FED is consistently in bed with Wall street. Moving hands upon the wall is shady dealings on Wall street.

    "Make believe you are still in charge"
    The FED thinks they can control the market with price fixing, interest fixing, and the fiat currency, but eventually, a free market must emerge.

    This is my interpretation. I'm sure Thom is aware of these issues.
    xdereksmithxon May 05, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHmmmm.... is it about big corporate donations to charities/good causes, thinking they can pay off the blame? "Throw coins in the wishing well for us."

    Example: BP's disgusting advertising campaign telling us how much they're doing for sustainable energy research. THANKS BP, YOU ENVIRONMENTAL HEROES!
    nishadhamon June 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"You make believe that you are still in charge"

    Climate change is out of control. We can't stop it now, but we can stop it happening 100 years from now. Except we won't, because people want sports cars and swimming pools and walk in refrigerators.
    Black Sativaon July 25, 2006   Link

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