"Planet Telex" as written by Thom Yorke and Ed O'Brien...
You can force it but it will not come
You can taste it but it will not form
You can crush it but it's always here
You can crush it but it's always near
Chasing you home

Saying, everything is broken
Everyone is broken

You can force it but it will stay stung
You can crush it as dry as a bone
You can walk it home straight from school
You can kiss, you can break all the rules

But still, everything is broken
Everyone is broken
Everyone is, everyone is broken
Everyone is, everything is broken

Why can't you forget?
Why can't you forget?
Why can't you forget?


Lyrics submitted by piesupreme

"Planet Telex" as written by Edward John O'brien Colin Charles Greenwood

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Planet Telex song meanings
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58 Comments

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  • +7
    General CommentThis song isn't a love song, it's about how reality is unchangable. We've been doing the same for thousands of years and not much has changed since. So basically this song is telling you to be smart about things. Yelling and screaming won't get you what you want.
    Eatcarpeton November 10, 2004   Link
  • +7
    General CommentThis song is really the start of Radiohead's greatness in my opinion
    TheUniversalSighon March 21, 2012   Link
  • +6
    General CommentThis is probably simplifying things too much and too obvious, but for me this is purely about depression. No matter how you try to force happiness or crush unhappiness, you can't change how you feel. 'Everything is broken' is like the ultimate summary of feeling permanently crap.
    hypernovacandyon March 09, 2005   Link
  • +4
    Song MeaningIt's about printers.
    LargeCornon October 18, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentLet me first say I'm no religious fanatic - believe me on this one. I believe Eatcarpet came the closest in his interpretation. My interpretations are usually long, so i'll try to get straight to the point. The subject is hard to describe with words, but I think the "it" in the song refers to something that's been with humanity since the beginning. You could call "it" the soul, or even God (I believe it's the latter). It's the impulse of creation ("you can taste it but it will not form") - the very thing that drives mankind into progress. Progress into what? To put it simply, to transform planet Earth into "Planet Xerox" - mankind's material (or rather physical) copy of heaven. "Everything is broken" refers to how things are not yet at their full potential, or form. "Everyone is broken" refers to how people aren't who they think they are; they belong to something... "more", something that's been hidden from us (we hide it)but we can't forget about it. The original title of the song was "Planet Xerox", but had to be changed to "Planet Telex". I believe the decision for "Telex" supports the idea, since the two titles have roughly the same meaning and are both appropriate for the song (look up the definitions for telex and xerox to better understand). The "it" refers to gifts God "communicates" to humanity. It could be intelligence, love, wisdom, or all three in some odd way. It's what brought us from the Stone Age to modern times, and it will eventually bring us to something wonderful. Basically, the "it" in the song is God's love for humanity.

    By the way, the same thinking can be applied to Airbag also.
    RadioKoRnon June 13, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti kinda agree what ppl have been saying but this is deffinately not a love song! i believe its about the fact that there is always going to be some negatives in your life, you can never attain perfection. you can do what all the movies say and you can live your life the way your told to, but if you have some intelligence you will always come back to the fact that "everything is broken"

    "why can't you forget" means why cant you get rid of this idea in the back of your mind and be completely ignorant, completely happy and forget this gut feeling that no matter what you do, nothing will be right

    rather depressing
    no_one69on December 08, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYou can force it but it will stay stung
    You can crush it as dry as a bone
    You can walk it home straight from school
    You can kiss it, you can break all the rules
    But still
    Everything is broken
    Everyone is broken

    Everyone is, everyone is broken
    Everyone is, everything is broken

    Why can't you forget?
    Why can't you forget?
    Why can't you forget?

    The first verse is about fear and rejection and doubt. All those dark feelings. Could be any one of them.
    'You can taste it but it will not form' - i think here he's trying to form words but can't express what he really wants to say.
    'Chasing you home' supports this.

    The second verse seems to be about love. 'You can walk it home straight from school, You can kiss it'.
    'It will stay stung' perhaps reveals that he has 'stung' someone in the past causing them to break up with him and though he would do anything to take it back, he can't.
    -----------------------------------------------------------


    Many interpretations. But basically, Thom's saying that people on this Planet want what they can't have. Always. Whether thats love, happiness, to turn back time, to change regretful events etc etc.
    Everything is broken because we look at what we don't have instead of what we do. Thom's saying that it shouldn't be this way. We will never be completely satisfied and surely this is a malfunction in the human race.
    corduroy_boyon July 12, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment...original sin...
    ...for all have sinned...
    ...there is no one who is righteous, no not one...
    ...the whole creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will... the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now...
    ...radiohead may be unaware of these classic Christian doctrines or verses to a very deep extent, but as the great artists they are have been quite attuned to some of these truths
    steveproston September 14, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYou can force it but it will not come (I think he's talking about achieving happiness)
    You can taste it but it will not form (Still trying to achieve happiness but failing to do so)
    You can crush it but it's always here (He's talking about a deep seeded state of depression)
    You can crush it but it's always near (Still talking about depression)

    Chasing you home saying (Depression is always with you and follows you everywhere)
    Everything is broken (His dark views on life: Everything is broken, everyone is broken)
    Everyone is broken

    You can force it but it will stay stung
    You can crush it as dry as a bone
    You can walk it home straight from school
    You can kiss it, you can break all the rules
    But still
    Everything is broken
    Everyone is broken
    Everyone is, everyone is broken
    Everyone is, everything is broken

    (At the beginning he lists various methods for trying to cope with depression but in the end he's still hurting and is stuck in a dark gloomy misery).

    Why can't you forget?
    Why can't you forget?

    Pleading with his mind to forget the dark hurtful thoughts stuck in his head. No matter what he does he can't escape them.

    That's what I think this song means and I can relate in so many ways!
    ThatDude297on January 28, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have to say that I agree with XThrowingmusesx2. Thats the most accurate interpretation I've heard yet.

    I think that it points to how everything we see and measure is inaccurate, our descriptions of reality are, "broken". I have that feeling very palpably right now even as I write this. (There is no way I can accurately account for the depth, beauty, and meaning that Radiohead is conveying here.) They go further saying that this state of affairs is all encompassing, and that it's our nature to try to squash this subtle sense that something is wrong. "why can't you forget?" We even break the rules to try and put this suffering at an end, but it still persists. For me there is a great catharsis when I realize that everyone is feeling this same thing, that being broken is okay. It's even an ideal state in a strange way, to know the truth about our situation without flinching. To embrace it with love, it moves me to tears with compassion about our state of affairs as humans.
    ActraiserIIon June 22, 2009   Link

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