Rust in the mountains
Rust in the brain
The air is sacred here
In spite of your claim
Up on the roof tops
Out of reach
Trickster is meaningless
Trickster is weak
He's talking out the world
Talking out the world
Hey
Hey
Hey
This is only halfway
Hey
Hey
Hey
This is only halfway

I wanted you so bad
And I couldn't say
All things fall apart
We wanted out so bad
We couldn't say
These things fall apart
We're talking out the world
Talking out the world
Hey
Hey
Hey
This is only halfway
Hey
Hey
Hey
This is only halfway

Truant kids a can of brick dust worms
Who do not want to climb down from
Their chestnut tree
Long white gloves
Police tread carefully
Escaped from the zoo
The perfect child facsimile
It's talking out the world
Talking out the world


Lyrics submitted by Vache

The Trickster Lyrics as written by Edward John O'brien Colin Charles Greenwood

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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The Trickster song meanings
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  • +3
    General Comment

    I wish I could help out more, but I have to admit that I'm a bit confounded by these lyrics. Nevertheless, I'll give it a shot.

    I'm working under the assumption that the trickster is the "I" in the lyrics. The "I" in this case is also the song's narrator. Our narrator describes things as being "out of reach" or at a distance or "lost". Feelings of being "Lost in the mountains" or "Up on the rooftops" suggest feelings of isolation or loneliness. As I mentioned earlier, it is the job of the trickster to cause trouble or lead others astray. If the trickster is out of reach and alone, however, there is nobody he can really make mischief for. In other words, a trickster needs other characters in order to function. His whole being is defined by the tricks he plays. Without others to play tricks on, he is rendered "meaningless" and "weak" and is essentially a character for whom there is no role.

    gson December 09, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    one of my favorite rh songs i guess besides the one youtube live video we will never see them play this song live again!!!!

    radioheadsteron February 16, 2023   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    My understanding of this song is a story of a relationship gone bad, as many Radiohead songs are. The first stanza is the narrator speaking from the present about himself after everything has happened that will be told through the song. "Lost in the mountains" - He has become pothead to escape from his emotions. "Rust in my brain" is metaphorical of what a piece of machinery does when it sits and is not used for a long period of time, the brain being this machine. "The air is sacred here In spite of your claim" - she was against him doing drugs and constantly condemned them while they were together. The second stanza is again refering to him being high and because of this out of reach of the girl that left him, the trickster. A preivous post by gs explains well why the trickster is meaningless and weak. Becuase she is not able to have any effect on him anymore, she no longer has any power (at least on him). The first time the chorus comes in it is referring to what it is going to explain in the second verse, which is the literal story absent of the metaphors. When Thom says "talking out the world", he is always referring to the mentioned person is complaining, bitching, or however you want to phrase it. In this case the boy is continually talking about this girl that he is head over heals for and complaining about how he is too nervous to ask her out. The "Hey, hey, hey, this is only halfway" is foreshadowing how their relationship is going to be, half full.
    The first stanza of the second verse is before they are a couple when the guy has a crush on her and is wanting to be IN a relationship so bad it's driving him crazy. The second stanza is describing the end of their relationship when they both are tired of each other that that want OUT of the relationship. The second chorus if you notice says, "We're talking out the world" instead of "He's talking out the world." This is because it is the progression of the story. Now instead of the line being a good type of talking, it is referring to them talking bad about each other (probably to their friends). You know, that friend of yours that is always bitching and complaining about the relationship that they're in. And as I said earlier, the line "Hey, hey, hey, this is only halfway" is referring to the way that they view their relationship, half empty or negatively. They can't be just happy with each other, but instead look at all the bad and annoying things that each other does. The first stanza of the last verse is describing their deviant kids who has also turned to drugs to escape from the situation at home where there is constant yelling and fighting, which you hear of many kids resorting to pot for this reason. The "Chestnut tree" is their safe haven when they are high. As you will notice, Thom always uses places of elevation as places of escape in this song as symbolism to being stoned or just high. "A can of brick dust worms" is referring to the kids environment. They are being related to worms in a can of pure brick dust. Just as worms need healthy soil to develop properly and are not able to survive in such a harsh environment, neither can the childen in this household. The last stanza is about a the result of a traumatic event that happened between the couple, most likely domestic violence. The first two lines are describing this event. The third line is about the kids being taken away from the parents because of the incident that occurred. The house he was in was the "zoo" and the kids were "escaping" it. In the fourth line a facsimile is a copy, or in this case more like a template. Thom is being sarcastic in this line by calling these scared and screwed up kids an ideal image of a child. If you read this explanation and listen to the song again, the instrumental mood is very fitting. This song has a very similar sound and message to most of the songs from "she wants revenge." In fact one song, killing time, is very similar to this, but more from a high school point of view. If anyone has any comments or revisions for my idea, I am open for suggestions.

    kronueon January 22, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    kronur - and GS I feel like has got a lot of it very right.

    Mythical characters in many cultures who are Trickster gods are also responsible for upsetting things off balance as stated - also referenced by "Rust in the mountains Rust in the brain" That is the act of Entropy - the returning of all things to their natural state of balance in this case. Steel to IronOxide (rust) as a metaphor for the total exhaustion of a thing.

    The missing pieces round : "Long white gloves Police tread carefully Escaped from the zoo The perfect child facsimile"

    The trickster is a girl, "child facsimile" as in young hot girl and is also "Escaped from the zoo" perhaps a bit of a beast as the 'Trickster,' the tease (This is only halfway) in "Long white gloves," looks like a lady but isn't.

    Check out this reference to understand the possible type of girl with an "Electra Complex" who can be quite the trickster.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electra_complex

    ECHion February 18, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song is so goddamn amazing

    noneedfordavon October 11, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I feel like that sometimes, wanting something so bad it hurts and then it fades and turns into some kind of braindamaged feeling...

    operative11on March 18, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    After "Just", probably my favorite Radiohead song.

    ubermaxon May 06, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    who/what is the trickster?

    liv85on October 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    The trickster is a common archetype in literature. Usually this is a character who causes trouble/mischief and leads the main characters astray.

    gson November 10, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    and in this context?

    liv85on November 29, 2004   Link

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