I'll drown my beliefs
To have your babies
I'll dress like your niece
And wash your swollen feet

Just don't leave
Don't leave

I'm not living
I'm just killing time
Your tiny hands
Your crazy kitten smile

Just don't leave
Don't leave

And true love waits
In haunted attics
And true love lives
On lollipops and crisps

Just don't leave
Don't leave

Lyrics submitted by Vache, edited by Fujina, Mikhailxo, arecolin, Geraldining, headofradio

True Love Waits Lyrics as written by Jonathan Richard Guy Greenwood Edward John O'brien

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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True Love Waits song meanings
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  • +14
    General CommentThis is one of those songs that reminds everyone of someone precious to them. A bit like With or Without You by U2, or Yellow by Coldplay. I think that's the reason everyone loves it. It really gets to your emotions. It's a painful song. To me, Thom really sounds in pain when he is singing "don't leave". But the song is beautiful and special because it's not just about the pain of love but also the joy and the strength of it. It's this very human conflict in the song between joy and pain that makes it so beautiful, and so true to all of us.
    ReActoron July 10, 2002   Link
  • +11
    My InterpretationFirst off, I'd like to say that, for as much freedom of interpretation is allowed for the listener, I still believe that any good artist/singer-songwriter can effectively manage to convey a lucid argument, as well as affecting emotions, through well-written composition. While I acknowledge that no analysis of lyrics, or art in general, can be purely objective it still bugs me when I see interpretations of songs that stretch beyond any indications found within the lyrics themselves. In my opinion, most good songs have concrete meanings, and while the listener often must be flexible in formulating her or his understanding of the song, this is simply the listener's attempt at relating with the artist. What the artist wrote, on the other hand, is not so flexible.

    My spiel aside, Thom Yorke has presented us with some rather keenly distressing metaphors, but nonetheless they can be analyzed with greater objectivity than what I've seen so far on this page. Starting with the aching refrain, "Just don't leave," we can assume that the poetic voice of the song is already with someone as opposed to waiting for someone. Moving back to the first verse we gather from the personal sacrifice ("sacrifice my beliefs), commitment ("have your babies") and humiliation ("dress like your niece") she or he is willing to endure that the poetic voice has strong feelings of attachment to this particular person.

    Attachment, and more specifically the loss of one's identity, dignity and autonomy out of fear of ending a relationship, in my opinion are the key themes of this song. Thom reminds us when he writes "I'm not living, I'm just killing time" that when we stay with someone solely because we're too afraid of not having her or him in our lives, we sacrifice our hopes and dreams, which couldn't be any more true once you have someone's children and act as their foot-washing servant. And what would anyone do all of this for? For the true love that we dream of as kids sucking on lollipops? You can't make true love happen with everyone as Thom suggests pessimistically in his ironical and sobering statement, "True love waits in haunted attics." Sometimes we just need to end the relationship and move on, lest we should spend the rest of our lives in haunted attics waking up next to someone with a "crazy kitten" smile.
    rthmjohnon May 14, 2012   Link
  • +10
    General CommentThom, when asked how he came up with the line lollipops and crisps, "cause it meant a lot to me that out of all the things in the world to choose you chose those two items i read an article about a child who was between 5-8 yrs old who was left on his/her own for a week in a house when his parents left on hoilday and he lived on lollipops on crisps. true." (01/04/00)

    Thom also commented on the meaning of the line "I'll dress like your niece," saying "the difference between young and old when people start to dress sensible and act their age. this person is offering not to do that to keep the other. alles klarr?"
    bellevedetteon May 25, 2002   Link
  • +7
    General CommentThis is one of the most beautiful songs. The lyrics are so nice. Even my non-radiohead liking friend liked this one.

    Best line, in my opinion "I'm not living, I'm just killing time." It's so true. Sad, too.
    Misheson March 02, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Commenti love this song :)

    ...according to thom, the line *true love lives, on lollipops and crisps* [true love wins in some performances!] was based on a newspaper article he read about a little boy left at home alone for a week, and he manged to survive on lollipops and crisps...awww

    this is my fave song.ever.full stop.



    ...beautiful angel, pulled apart at birth...
    ikkle_pikkleon May 06, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis is one of the most sorrowful-sounding songs ever recorded. He's basically saying: I'll do anything in the world for you, just don't leave me. Don't leave me all alone.
    DeathRockBoyon July 03, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Commenti just think
    'true love waits in haunted attics'
    an attic is the right at the top of a house
    so, haunted attic may be like a haunted mind, meaning even people with broken minds can find true love :)
    bryony.on October 14, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Commenthow beautiful does one song want to be?
    thisGIRLon May 25, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is so beautiful, and could be interpreted to be relevant to several states of love, but I think that it's most about someone who knows that he is in love with a girl and is waiting for her to realize it too because he knows the day will come when his love will no longer be unrequited. One time my friend played it on the guitar and sang it for me and i was totally mesmerized.
    goodbyeskyharboron May 27, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis songs makes me cry like a baby, in a weird, sad, happiness. A mix of all of this contraddictions. He's telling that love lives in hopeless dreams of youth but he's still asking her not to leave and find the truth about it together.
    Spaceman93on January 29, 2015   Link

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