When it's cold, it come slow.
It is warm, just watch it grow.
-- all around me.
It is here. It is now.

Just a little bit of it can bring you up or down.
Like the supper it is cooking in your hometown.
It is chicken, it is eggs,
it is in between your legs.
It is walking on the moon,
leaving your cocoon.

It is the jigsaw, it is purple haze.
It never stays in one place, but it's not a passing phase.
It is in the single's (sic) bar, in the distance of the face.
It is in between the cages, it is always in a space.
It is here, it is now.

Any rock can be made to roll,
if you've enough of it to pay the toll.
It has no home in words or goal,
not even in your favourite hole.
It is the hope for the dope.
When you ride the horse without a hoof.
It is shaken, not stirred;
cocktails on the roof.

When you eat right fru it you see everything alive.
It is inside spirit, with enough grit to survive.
If you think that it's pretentious, you've been taken for a ride.
Look across the mirror, before you choose de cide
it is here. it is now.
It is Real. It is Rael.

'Cos it's only knock and knowall, but I like it.


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae, edited by zenfajita

It song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +1
    General Comment

    "It is chicken, it is eggs, It is in between your legs." I think that IT is life itself, and as Rael is in a state of metamorphosis and is becoming one with IT, he's trying to describe the unfathomable entity of life itself, as he is becoming it. Hence: "It is Real. it is Rael."

    The Knock and Knowall to me sounds like Hide and Seek or some kind of child's game, and Rael and John truly does seem to play a surreal game of cosmic Hide and Seek.

    TyrantSunon September 07, 2014   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning

    The album is the story of a fantasy trip (some say via LSD, thought getting high is not essential to the whole thing), interpreted through the philosophy of a 70s enlightenment movement called the EST training. The final song, IT, is light on the fantasy – heavy on the EST. In fact, the song's meaning is, literally, the point of EST.

    The climax of the est training is “getting it”. “It” is the experience of enlightenment. As such, the experience can be overwhelming; some say it feels religious, some that it's trippy, some happy, some sad, some very obvious and straightforward, some painfully obscure... the gamut. “It” is completely individual, everybody's experience of getting it is individual. Lol... yes, I did the training. And no, it's never been easy for me to put into words.

    But Gabriel does, with a series of this-and-that opposites. It is hot, while it is also cold. It is the chicken, it is also the egg. It never stays, but it doesn't leave. It is in us, it is between us (the cages). Along with 'truisms' about it – it is here and now. It is not wimpy. You can't accumulate it. My favorite: “If you think that it's pretentious, you've been taken for a ride.” :-) It doesn't make you better than anyone else.

    The last line is so simple, yet all encompassing. It is available to every individual (knowall), you just have to look (knock). It's only knock and knowall. I like it. :-)

    e103464187on May 13, 2019   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    In Freud's theory 'id' (latin for "it") is the source of libidinal, sexual ("it is chicken, it is eggs") energy and desire, manifesting itself in every action ("it never stays in one place, but it's not a passing phase", "it is here, it is now", "it has no home in words or goal").

    IpiLaion January 11, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I'm not going to disagree that there are some sexual overtones here, but I think the song is better understood as a pantheistic anthem of enlightenment. "It" is everything. And it is real. And it is Rael. It's the conclusion of his spiritual quest in which he sees himself as one with the cosmos.

    Fourtoeson April 08, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    There is a little mistake in the words, as far as I remember Gabriel repeats "'cos it's only knock and knowall, but I like it..." but he changes the words a bit in the end of the song singing "It is only rock and roll but I like it, it is only rock and roll and I like it" in the fade-out.

    Rusoron October 01, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    An unfairly forgotten and under-rated track from them, coming at the end of the fourth side (vinyl-speak). It could be a lot of things, but I think I hear Gabriel's good-bye kiss to Genesis and their fans here. I think it's about his Muse and where it's taking him.

    As for the music, there's actually a pretty rocking song buried in the mix beneath the vocals and synth fills. Mike and Steve (and Phil) must have been pissed, they sound like a hell of a party three blocks away.

    tpksummerson October 14, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I agree that the song is just an abstract you make IT what you want IT to be. Perhaps IT is as simple as IT is life?

    As for the Knock and Knowall part. I think it's simply him just trying to sound like the stones. Sort of how in the first song you hear the Broadway song and in In The Cage you hear Raindrops are Falling On My Head, and My Little Runaway. It sort of if Rael is actually dreaming the whole time with his radio on and every once in a while the sound of the music pokes in. Why did he change the words? Probably copyright issues.

    dansebaharon March 22, 2013   Link
  • 0
    Song Meaning

    Just a thought, but has anyone else noticed - look across the mirror, before you choose decide.....it is here , it is now One could read this as look a cross, the mirror in other words religion versus self-examination as the means to enlightenment - its up to you to decide your own path. One of the many themes within the Lamb , I think.

    jonarceeon February 25, 2016   Link
  • -1
    General Comment

    I keep hearing this as Peter Gabriel referring to the album itself, encouraging fans to form their own theories about its meaning while at the same time laughing over its obvious incomprehensibilty (I imagine him thinking "They'll never know what it's actually about, but I will, hah!"). I think "knock and knowall" could be dismissing the work as something less than a work of art, something less than rock and roll. "Know-all" sounds like "know-it-all," so it could be acknowledging that yes, this album can be considered pretentious (but it also says in the song "if you think it's pretentious, you've been taken for a ride."). This is also, in terms of the story, where Rael and John integrate into one being and then become a part of... well, everything and anything. Pretty trippy. But really I hear this song as breaking the fourth wall more than anything else.

    EnduringChillon February 11, 2013   Link

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