"Black Swan" as written by and Thomas Edward Yorke....
What will grow crooked, you can't make straight
It's the price that you gotta pay
Do yourself a favor and pack you bags
Buy a ticket and get on the train
Buy a ticket and get on the train

Cause this is fucked up, fucked up
Cause this is fucked up, fucked up

People get crushed like biscuit crumbs
And laid down in the bitumen
You have tried your best to please everyone
But it just isn't happening
No, it just isn't happening

And it's fucked up, fucked up
And this is fucked up, fucked up
This your blind spot, blind spot
It should be obvious, but it's not.
But it isn't, but it isn't

You cannot kick start a dead horse
You just crush yourself and walk away
I don't care what the future holds
Cause I'm right here and I'm today
With your fingers you can touch me

I'm your black swan, black swan
But I made it to the top, made it to the top
This is fucked up, fucked up

You are fucked up, fucked up
This is fucked up, fucked up

Be your black swan, black swan
I'm for spare parts, broken up


Lyrics submitted by black_cow_of_death, edited by lightnlogic

"Black Swan" as written by Ian Alexander Smith Brad Germain

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

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Black Swan song meanings
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  • +6
    General Commenti think it's "what will grow crooked, you can't make straight."
    sebharperon June 02, 2006   Link
  • +5
    General CommentI don't know Thom Yorke's family or professional background, but I think this is a more personal song than political. I think the political connections are kind of weak.

    Cause I'm right here and I'm today, With your fingers you can touch me; I'm your black swan, black swan; But I made it to the top, made it to the top

    Basically, it makes it seem as though someone has tried to talk him in to being someone he's not, and he's told them to get out of town, they're fucked up for criticizing or announcing their regret for giving him the ability to do what he's done, or telling him he should do different.

    He's the black swan that made it when someone thought he shouldn't. And they're beating a dead horse trying to get him to change. And they are fucked up for trying to make him change, they can be their own black swan if they're not happy where they've landed.
    indignationon December 15, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General Commenten.wikipedia.org/wiki/…

    Black Swans can also refer to Statistics Outlier or events outside of our normal expectations, like a swan turning out to be black.
    r5d4on July 21, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentWalk a road crooked
    You can't make straight
    It's the price you gotta pay
    Do yourself a favour and pack your bags
    Buy a ticket and get on the train
    Buy a ticket and get on the train

    refers to to the idea that randomness and unexpected events are an unavoidable part of our universe...yet ironically humans constantly try to impose order on almost every event or thing in the universe. he makes a sarcastic reference to people who insist on imposing logical explanations to random events by suggesting that these people do themselves a favor and pretend to themselves that the path they are taking is actually straight (predictable).

    People get crushed like biscuit crumbs
    And lay down in the bitumen
    You have tried your best to please everyone
    But it just isn't happening
    No, it just isn't happening

    inequity, unfairness, injustice, etc. all are ever present themes in human existence, but many people (possibly most) try to explain this away by arguing that it is all part of a great and cohesiveness plan that will be revealed as expected and "right" sometime in the unknown future. a reference to the nature of some types of religious belief.

    You cannot kickstart a dead horse
    You just crush yourself and walk away
    I don't care what the future holds
    Cause I'm right here and I'm today
    With your fingers you can touch me

    many folks therefore try to argue for this hindsight predictability/order, but it is a vain effort, as no one can convincingly claim to know that an inherently unpredictable event was actually predictable if we just knew more. so just live in the moment, and be a human being to one another.

    I'm your black swan, black swan
    But I made it to the top, made it to the top
    This is fucked up, fucked up

    the title of the song is most likely a reference to the theory of the "black swan". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    he (the song author possibly?) is refering to himself as an example of a 'black swan'. its 'fucked up' possibly because it contradicts all previously assumed things about himself by other people -bias'- (thus he is a 'black swan'). Perhaps its the idea that you cant pigeon hole/stereotype/prejudice anyone, they may turn out to not be what you assumed they were all along. The song is probably about the black swan theory, but interpreted by the songwriter according to what it means to them.

    this would be my interpretation of the song, based on what i know.
    marcusrpon October 02, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General Comment"what will grow crooked...buy a ticket and get on the train"
    We are born doomed as a human race and there is nothing anyone can do about it. its best to just pack your shit and get on a train.
    "Cause this is fucked up..fucked up" realizing that since the beginning of time that humans were doomed all along and how its just all fucked up.
    "People get crushed like biscuit crumbs...no, it just isn't happening" People in the grand scheme of things are no more significant that biscuit crumbs and humans as a whole will never be happy.
    "This is your blind spot...but it isn't" Hindsight is 20/20 and it would be so easy to point out a timeline for the fall of man.
    "You cannot kickstart a dead horse...with your fingers you can touch me" Theres no point in dwelling on what you can't change and it doesn't matter if the world ends tomorrow because i am here now and im real because you can touch me.
    "I'm you black swan, but i made it to the top" Black swan is in reference to Black Swan Theory is used by Nassim Nicholas Taleb to explain the existence and occurrence of high-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations.
    "Be you black sawn, I'm for spare parts, broken up"
    vampireXon March 08, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOk, felt I had to comment. Maybe the dead horse is Britain...formerly THE world superpower, now nothing more than America's bitch. Anti-Blair song then:

    "Buy a ticket and get on the train"...fuck off Blair you ain't doin your country or the world no good. This fits in with the rest of the lyrics...

    "And lay down in the bitumen": blood for oil, conspiracy theorists claim the war in Iraq is mainly to do with getting a huge pipeline built to give the West greater control of world oil supplies, bitumen is a compound found in petroleum and can be used as fuel as well as in other areas.

    "People get crushed like biscuit crumbs"...huge death tolls in Iraq, including increasing numbers of British soldiers.

    "You have tried your best to please everyone, But it just isn't happening": reference to how Blair is a complete coward who rarely does anything other than follow the leader, in this case Bush?

    I don't know if I'm right on any of this buI thinkt it is an interpretation worth considering
    badgeon July 17, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe kickstart a dead horse line is like the phrase 'flogging a dead horse' you just can't do it, so its saying stop trying to do impossible things.
    The song sounds like its saying, im right you're wrong
    bloc_party15on July 10, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentemergic.org/collections/…

    "Nassim Taleb goes on [in Edge] to ask and discuss some very important questions: 'The puzzling question is why is it that we humans don't realize that we don't know anything about the significant brand of randomness? Why don't we realize that we are not that capable of predicting? Why don't we notice the bias that causes us not to realize that we're not learning from our experiences? Why do we still keep going as if we understand them?'"
    r5d4on July 21, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentfrag - ok. i actually agree with you that the song isn't about bush, as such. but on the other hand the suggestion that someone who doesn't live in america has no reason to have an opinion about bush struck me as kinda ludicrous. america being the most powerful country in the world and all of that jazz does have the side effect of giving everybody living in said world some stake in what actions it takes.

    a specific example: thom's position on, say, global warming is well known. the US is responsible for - i believe - about 25% of global carbon emissions. yet bush continues to act as though nothing is happening.

    i mean even if you think bush is right and yorke is wrong, you have to admit, it's a reason to have an opinion.

    and hippie morons are in the majority because we're awesome. it's ok, though. we love you.
    r5d4on July 30, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentUnfortunately "hippy morons" are not in the majority except when it comes to groups such as "fans of left-wing, socially-conscious musicians/bands" (that shouldn't really be in quotation marks but it helps to define the sentence).

    And I don't see how someone is a "hippy moron" if they are merely concerned with the fact that the human race is unlikely to be in existence in 20 years time if we keep going the way we currently are. I prefer the term "sensible, logical people" to the term "hippy morons" as it is far closer to the truth. So take some acid and chill out with a big spliff man, that way you can at least momentarily forget about the ticking time-bomb that is this planet.......(!!!) ha, blah...spa
    badgeon July 30, 2006   Link

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