You know like the back of your hand...
You know like the back of your hand
Who let 'em in?
You got me into this mess
You get me out
You know like the back of your hand
Your bell jar
Your collection
You got me into this mess
Fools rushing in, yeah
And they know it

The seeds of the dandelion you blow away
In good time, I hope I pray
If I'm not there now, physically
I'm always before you, come what may
And you know it
Fools rushing in, yeah
Well you know it

Who let them in?
Yeah well you know it
Gone with a touch of your
Gone with a touch of your hand

Move through the moment
Though it betrays
Jackals and flames
If I knew now what I knew then
Just give me more time I hope and pray
I mistake all you say
The seeds of the dandelion you blow away

Lyrics submitted by SongMeanings, edited by forsharks, loudcloud, SilentAssassin

"Ingenue" as written by Thomas Edward Yorke Michael Balzary

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

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Ingenue song meanings
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  • +6
    Song Meaning"Ingenue" means innocent young woman. I think this song is about Thom exploring an alternate reality where he isn't the legend that he is. Escaping the madness that he has created around him with the genius of his music. The female dancer represents an escape into innocence.

    Words like "you got me into this mess so you'll get me out" shows he was innocent before radiohead and wants to be innocent again through this escapist dance.

    "The seeds of the dandelion
    You blow away in good time
    I hope, I pray
    If I'm not there now physically
    I'm always before you
    Come what may"

    This is the idea that this fantasy of being innocent will never come true and blows away in good time. Thom is realizing it will never happen, not "physically" so he will always be first to face the world, but he always has this thought to fall back on whatever happens.

    "Gone with a touch of your hand
    Move through the moment
    Though it betrays
    Transformations, jackals and flames"

    This part of the verse demonstrates Thoms view of what will happen once he has stopped thinking about this other reality. When he goes back there are transformations, jackals and flames which reinforces how comforting the fantasy of being a Ingenue is compared to reality.

    Overall the song is about Thom confronting his fear of fame, through the alternate reality of being an Ingenue, and dealing with it in an artistic and poetic way.
    tkol88on March 04, 2013   Link
  • +6
    General CommentFrom rapgenius
    "According to Dandelion Folklore, it is said that if you can blow all the seeds off with one blow, then you are loved with a passionate love. If some seeds remain, then your lover has reservations about the relationship. If a lot of the seeds still remain on the globe, then you are not loved at all, or very little.

    Yorke is saying to the girl that the seeds of her dandelion blow away, meaning that he is still in love with her"
    WeirdFish1on March 16, 2013   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationI believe it's significant that Thom mentions a "bell jar" in this song, because in Sylvia Plath's famous novel of the same name, the bell jar was symbolic of the main character's sense of alienation.

    This woman, "Esther Greenwood" was more or less an alter-ego of the author's - a virginal young writer (an "ingenue" in other words) who suffered from depression and was plagued by feelings of dissociation and an inability to fit into the socially-acceptable roles prescribed for women of her day.

    What's more, I think the Bell Jar reference (alienation, insanity) alludes to the breakdown Thom suffered post- OK Computer and his manic-depressive tendencies in general.

    In the song Ingenue, the singer blames himself for allowing various distractors and demons to torment him, while simultaneously recognising that he alone has the power to get himself out of the (emotional) mess he's in - a minor revelation of sorts, and one that offers hope that the power to trump his demons rests within his own hands these days.
    Lantaon March 14, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is a plea from whichever of the following (which I'll simply refer to as X hereafter) you prefer to bear in mind while reading my interpretation below: God, Earth, Mother Nature, the Universe, etc.

    A bell jar is an apparatus often used in laboratory settings to establish a vacuum state in which, for example, certain physics experiments can be conducted. Our bell jar, metaphorically speaking, is our planet and everything entailed within it. It's evident that we're in a bit of a mess at the moment, and the future of mankind is in our hands and our hands only. Listen to your heart and understand that X will always be one step ahead, unless, of course, we continue to deprive X of its medium here on Earth. Hopefully, with time, we can collectively learn how to reciprocate the innocent and passionate love of X.
    Release191on May 07, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI didn't reflect a lot about the song meaning but a thought just came to me. I think he's talking to God/god about life and dead.

    when he says "You know like the back of your hand
    Who let 'em in?" I think he says that god knows everybody , god knows "them"

    when he says" You got me into this mess
    You get me out", i think hes sayng that god gave him life e He can take it away.

    When he says "The seeds of the dandelion you blow away
    In good time, I hope I pray" i think hes talking about the wind( god/nature) that blow away the seeds( at this moment hes having a contact with nature, with god, then he says " I hope I pray".

    "Just give me more time I hope and pray" I think he's "asking"(prayng) god to dont take his life away

    "Gone with a touch of your" I think it means that god can take people life away easyly
    Iaraon April 09, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI completely see the meanings in a love relationship context.

    She let in her ingenues men under her bell jar. He is the opposite, a man constantly tortured by dark thoughts, so is she. He can cope with the fact that he rushed into the relationship with the woman who knew from the start that he cannot take place in her collection built from her wish to transfer herself to an ingenue character.

    Yet, she showed him affection because they have the same dark persona.
    The seeds of the dandelion are blown. It cannot be undone.
    He hopes and prays for the timing to be right, but knows it isn't.
    He will always be "before her", in case the "come what may" brings the possibility of togetherness. The idea comes from him knowing that she will not succeed in the transformation into an ingenue, wich gives logical hope she will come back to the dark side again, or him. Trough this he acknowledges again being a fool for giving her even more advantage by reserving a part of him for her. And she knows it.

    She is the one that let them in. She knows it.
    She led to this state. She is in control.

    He knows now that the movement brings transformation trough which the possibility of them being together as one body, as one persona (as shown in the video) is impossible. Jackals eat the carcass of their relationship, and flames burn the skeleton. Nothing more is left of them.
    He wishes, back then, he had insights where the relationship leads, with the thought of possible prevention.
    Now he knows it, hoping with time, he can forget about the blown dandelions and her completely.
    Qualeon July 15, 2017   Link

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