I slip away
I slipped on a little white lie

We've got heads on sticks
You've got ventriloquists
We've got heads on sticks
You've got ventriloquists

Standing in the shadows at the end of my bed
Standing in the shadows at the end of my bed
Standing in the shadows at the end of my bed
Standing in the shadows at the end of my bed

The rats and children follow me out of town
The rats and children follow me out of town
Come on kids

Lyrics submitted by Vache

Kid A Lyrics as written by Edward John O'brien Colin Charles Greenwood

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Kid A song meanings
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  • +10
    General CommentWow i have read over a lot of these interpretations of this song (and the album as a whole) and i think that EVERYONE is right. I also think that is what the band was going for! As Radiohead fans we all know that the band has had some major influences on their work by other artists, musicians, and authors. One of these being Thomas Pynchon who is the author of The Crying of Lot 49 (for christ sake Radiohead named their merch and email site W.A.S.T.E.!). Anyway, in the book Pynchon deals with the complexity of the mediums of communication (radio, TV, Books, Art, Film, etc.) and how people can become lost and misguided by what they, their senses, interpret. How the 'mis'communication of mediums affects them. As Radiohead became more popular they, Thom especially, became more and more agitated by the media making assumptions about the band, their lyrics, their business practices, and how they were reaching out to their fans (remember Napster?). So the band decided to make Kid A (and im talking about the album not just the song). The reason why the lyrics are so hard to decipher is because the lyrics are just part of the music. The band has left the meaning of the songs up to you, the listener! Thom Yorke especially, is a guy who i feel would say, "people need to think for themselves. they need to decide how something makes them feel and how it affects their life. Dont let some asshole with a microphone and record contract tell you what to think. the meaning of the album Kid A is completely up to you listeners.".......any thoughts on this??
    Peet08on May 01, 2008   Link
  • +5
    General Commentits about growing up
    slipping away from childhood, from innoncence
    on a subconscious lie
    the image that we strive to create for ourselves
    a white lie
    its about withdrawal
    about realizing lost innocence
    about hating who you've become
    about missing childhood
    zoomjooon September 01, 2009   Link
  • +4
    General Comment"We've got heads on sticks/You've got ventriloquists" is referring to revolutionaries (executing the ruling classes and displaying their heads) and political masters (using media-friendly puppets to convince us they have our best interests at heart.
    derykon November 09, 2004   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI WANT TO PUT TO REST THIS WHOLE IDEA THAT THE ALBUM IS ABOUT A CLONE! Thom did say you could make that connection, but it's only an afterthought of why the title was chosen as Kid A. He initially said he likes the non-meaning of the title KID A and when you name an album so specific it creates too much of a 'this is what its about and where its going' mentality to the listener. He also said there is no story in mind. How can everyone be so stuck on a clone story when the reason he chose the title was because it had no meaning?

    Every song is a seperate topic but they all do tie together in theme. he says something traumatic is happening in Kid A and he said Amnesiac is about not remembering the events that took place in kid a but slowly piecing them back together. they come from different places. the story of morning bell is that he had the demo on mini disc and it got erased and on a plane in japan 6 months later it just came to him...and that the song is about amnesia....bop on the head? where'd you park the car? it makes sense along with the album being called amnesiac. anyway...look online for the song meanings and quotes...every song has a real meaning behind it not these clone stories...1st song was about his inability to speak and being in a 3 year bad mood and when the band stared this album, everything was coming together...kid a, im still working on a meaning but its not a clone, its more about corruption and control but he says the subject matter is 'horrible and brutal'...optimistic is about how we as a society only care about ourselves and we are doomed...the whole album is strongly political, apocolyptic, personal, observational, dooming....no clones tho
    sms1888on May 27, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General Commentsorry, but i just can't see thom and his cronies skinning up, i cannot conjure up that image. i bet everyone who says radiohead lyrics spring entirely from drug induced trips is on drugs.
    SnapHappyActiviston June 22, 2003   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI personally feel the song is about Thom as a kid who begins those years in every persons life where a different life style comes into play. It's about him, but it's about me.... It's about everyone using himself as an example..The entire song is defined in the first 2 lines "I slipped away, I slipped on a little white lie" This is the first time when kids try something new/bad... It could be drugs, crime, lies, or just breaking the rules. The first lie to yourself is tiny but leads to a much different life. Convincing yourself one ciggeratte wont hurt can lead to a pack a day which could lead to anything from there.
    greenstarslighton April 16, 2004   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationI might be wrong, but I think the lyrics of this song refer to Thom's increasing sense (post- OKC mega-success) that he is somehow a fraud - albeit, a scarily influential fraud.

    The line "we've got heads on sticks" refers to Radiohead suddenly being perceived as "the voice of a generation" (or similarly, as mere puppets/talking heads of the music industry) - while the line "you've got ventriloquists" accuses the music media of putting words in Thom's (and the other band members' mouths) in order to cement an image of him as a melancholic (possibly doomed) prophet of rock - ie: the next Kurt Cobain.

    In the song, Thom himself recognises that this is a false image, built on the (mis)interpretation of his lyrics/personality and the band's collective intent.

    In the darkly humorous (or ominous, depending on your take) last line, Thom cajoles the "rats and the children" to follow him out of town ("c'mon kids"), aware that many people (music journos, fans?) may eventually feel as if they'd been lead astray or deceived by the band they'd previously seen as the "saviours of rock" when they encounter the new musical direction taken on Kid A, the album.
    Lantaon February 13, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General CommentKids Eh?
    dexterslabradoron December 03, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me it's about trying hard to do the right thing, but he messed up and he realizes how fake everything is and his failure is "standing in the shadows at the end of my bed" haunting him... Oh, what the hell, it's gotta be the drugs...
    kaisuteon June 12, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI like this song and Radiohead. Lots and lots. Freaky song.

    Oh...get two copies of Kid A, and fire up this song. About--what is it?--13 seconds, start up the other copy of Kid A on this song. It blends together very well...very strange. I dont know if I got the times right or anything, but something like that. It's cool.
    deadeye093on July 11, 2002   Link

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