"All I Need" as written by and Thomas Edward/greenwood Yorke....
I'm the next act
Waiting in the wings
I'm an animal
Trapped in your parked car
I am holidays
That you choose to ignore

You are all I need
You are all I need
I'm in the middle of your picture
Lying in the leaves

I am a moth
Who just wants to share your light
I'm just an insect
Trying to get out of the night

I only stick with you
Because there are no others

You are all I need
You are all I need
I'm in the middle of your picture
Lying in the leaves

It's all wrong
It's all right
It's all wrong


Lyrics submitted by black_cow_of_death, edited by mcpadson, RainySun9, richie182, violetmav, Heroicphantom, williamhoy, SeaGreen, Radiohead123

"All I Need" as written by Thomas Edward/greenwood Yorke

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind


All I Need song meanings
Add your thoughts

195 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +14
    General CommentWow, the lyrics to this song are everchanging. The version I listen to seems to be a little different (and the most finished). Not to mention it's the clearest version I could find; almost as good as a recording. Listen for yourselves: myspace.com/…. Here's the revision of the lyrics as I hear them, along with my interpretation of the song, line by line:

    1.) I'm a next act
    Waiting in the wings

    2.) I'm animal
    Trapped in your hot car

    3.) I only stick with you
    Because there are no others

    4.) You're all I need (x2)
    I'm in the middle of your picture
    Lying in the leaves

    5.) I am a moth
    Who just wants to get out the night

    6.) I'm an insect
    Who wants to share your light

    7.) I am all the things
    That you choose to ignore

    8.) You're all I need (x2)
    I'm in the middle of your picture
    Lying in the leaves

    9.) It's all right (x4)

    10.) It's all wrong
    It's all right
    It's all wrong
    It's all right
    It's all wrong
    It's all right

    In short, I think eatenbytheworms had it right that this love is one-sided. The song is about a lonely guy (or girl, but for generalization's sake i'll keep it masculine) in a friendship with a girl that he has come to love more than just a friend.

    1.) This first line I'm not too sure about -- lyrically or interpretation-wise. But, I think he is comparing himself to a "next act waiting in the wings" as another way of saying that he has potential. Basically, he's waiting for his chance that he so desperately wants.

    2.) Like an "animal trapped in a hot car" he's truly helpless and cannot live without her. He needs her just as badly as animal needs its owner to open the car door.

    3.) Here's where the loneliness theme really shows. I believe when Thom sings this line, he sincerely means that there "are no others". A beautiful line that nicely accomodates the previous one about the trapped animal.

    4.) He's content with just her in his life. I believe the picture is a metaphor for the girl's life, and the leaves signify other people in her life that she has just bunched together indifferently. But the guy is saying, "Hey, I'm right here ('in the middle of your picture'). I love you most and am ready do anything for you."

    5.) This line further pushes the lonliness theme. If you know anything about moths, you know that they only mate at night. Meanwhile, butterflies mate during the day. Basically, he's saying that he's lonely ("in the night", the darkness) and wants to be with her.

    6.) Samething here. He wants to share in her love.

    7.) This takes me back to line 4 with the picture metaphor. He's been indifferently bunched together with everything and everyone else in her life. OR, his advances don't mean anything to her and she just ignores him. Same difference I guess.

    8.) Read my line 4 interpretation please. :-)

    9. and 10.) I believe this is the voice of someone who is being tortured by unrequited love. He's lonely but he has her. He's in her life at least and he should be content with that, right? ("It's all right") Wrong. He loves beyond friendship and he can't help what he feels ("It's all wrong"). He's in a dilemma and doesn't know what to do ("It's all right, it's all wrong").

    It's possible I may have delved a little too deeply in this song. But this is what I got when I listened to it. =-/
    RadioKoRnon October 30, 2006   Link
  • +5
    General Commentunrequited love... one of the most popular song subjects I thinks...

    I hate it... but after living with something that hurts you like unrequited love does, you can't do anything but hate it... but if you are experiencing it, all you want to do is cling to the pain, hold on to the misery...

    you hate it but don't wanna let it go, like an tastless peice of gum... you just keep chewing thinking... this tastes like spit... and its not help being told over and over again that everyone is chewing the same type of gum... we all just want juciefruit

    love sucks... I love it
    Ethanbon January 14, 2009   Link
  • +4
    General CommentMine is the last interpretation up there. I will have to recant on what I wrote after a lot of thought. "All I Need" is indeed a love song. One could call it the ultimate love song as it is unconditional, or so it seems. I had previously interpreted the line 'you are all I need' as sarcastic. What I now truly believe is that when Thom Yorke sings 'I only stick with you because there are no others', he truly means it. There is no one else in the world he could possibly love the way he loves her. And he is telling her, quite decisively, that '[he] is all she needs'. Same thing... there could be no one else for her. There are several lines that point to this being a 'real' love song. Obviously, he is singing this to someone new in his life ('I'm the next act waiting in the wings'). It's also clear that he feels neglected and ignored by this woman ('I am an animal trapped in your hot car' and 'I am all that you choose to ignore'). And yet he is asking her to stop denying the reality: that they must be together... they are all each other needs. Also, I've been wondering what the line 'I'm a flash flood running through your ground floor'. I think it represents the way he feels about her... a flood of emotions, of love. Maybe my interpretation sounds corny but this song is not at all like that. It is just about a human being who finally finds the right person and he realizes this and is asking her to do the same. At the end, Thom always ends the lines 'It's so wrong, it's alright' with 'it's alright'. Beautiful song. Probably my favourite out of all of Radiohead's new songs.
    eatenbythewormson August 15, 2006   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI don't think it's a stalker song. I don't think it's necessarily a love song either. I think it's a song about need. Need is not necessarily the result of love, but it can be. It's about the need we have to be with someone, and how we find it difficult to see outside of that vicious cycle when we feel there is no one else we can be with.

    Sometimes this happens as a result of love, but sometimes it's just the result of our insecurities. Feeling like we need to be with someone in order to feel whole is natural when we are in love, but when the love is unrequited, then it's very damaging. I don't think there's enough in the lyrics to be able to tell whether that's the case or not.
    eatenbythewormson November 18, 2007   Link
  • +4
    General CommentWell, the video was made after the song was released, and Radiohead decided to endorse it, but it wasn't made by them.

    The entire album can be interpreted in different ways, of course, but it is primarily about love relationships. It is more than that, though. Most of the songs Thom Yorke writes are not about just one thing, but he did mention in interviews that at the time when he wrote these songs he was trying to get away from writing about politics and climate change. Obviously does issues are always at least in the back of his head so they come out in some of the imagery.

    Trying to find out what a song means is not absolute science. I'm sure that even for the artist who writes something its meaning changes with time. A particular song evokes different responses in us, and there is no right or wrong interpretation.

    I'm afraid trying to get what the artist meant is probably impossible to do 100% accurately. But Thom said it's about obsession. There are many quotes but you'd have to google them to find them.
    eatenbythewormson August 11, 2008   Link
  • +4
    General Commentthis song and this band, is the pinnacle of music. nothing else compares
    Komodoon July 06, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song to me seems to be about a man who is desperately waiting on his chance with this woman he loves.

    The "I'm the next act waiting in the wings" line confirms that he is waiting on her. Perhaps they are only friends but he wants more.

    It is obvious too that he is slightly bitter in the way he feels ignored by his love.

    The line that says "I only stick with you because there are no others" seems to indicate that he believes she is the only one for him. His soul mate.

    "I'm in the middle of the picture lying in the leaves" sounds like a metaphor for how he feels placed in this woman's life. Smack dab in the middle waiting.

    The end climax is the most haunting of the song.
    "It's all right"
    It's all wrong"
    "It's all right"
    Sounds like he is in a lot of pain. Unrequited love.
    WPBgirlon October 14, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think this song is about about a person who knows he is trapped in this world what includes him to have needs and one of his needs is to be with someone.And love is kind of trap too.'Cause youre depending on someone.Thats because Thom says at the end of the song:
    It's all wrong
    It's all right
    It's all wrong
    Its wrong to be with someone knowing it's because you need it but its right 'cause needing someone is something that's part of your being.
    _sarahon October 15, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThom Yorke said this is a song about obsession, so I guess it's about someone who is waiting for a woman to pay attention to him. He feels trapped because she ignores the fact that there could be no one else for either of them. Curiously enough, this song shares a lot of the same symbolism (and the same theme) as Thom Yorke's "Skip Divided".

    The narrator feels trapped waiting for this relationship to materialize. He feels like nothing is worthwhile without her in his life.
    eatenbythewormson December 25, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAnyone who argues "_________ is way too deep to write love songs" is as or more pretentious than the "shallow" people they're criticizing.
    JeremyB1on April 29, 2008   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain