I will lead a wallpaper life
Or run away to the foreign legion
I will lead a wallpaper life
Or run away to the foreign legion

And as the tanks roll into town
As the tanks roll into town
A little bit of knowledge will destroy you
A little bit of knowledge will destroy you

As the tanks roll into town
As the tanks roll into town
A little bit of knowledge will destroy you
A little bit of knowledge will destroy you

I don't know why I feel so tongue-tied
I don't know why I feel so skinned alive

Run until your lungs are sore
Until you cannot feel it any more
Run until your lungs are sore
Until you find an open door

I build you up to pull you down
Tie you to your feet, and watch you drown
A little bit of knowledge will destroy you
A little bit of knowledge will destroy you
I build you up to pull you down
Tie you to the stake and watch you burn in hell

I don't know why I feel so tongue-tied
I don't know why I feel so skinned alive

I'll find another skin to wear
I'll find another skin to wear


Lyrics submitted by shut, edited by smallwonderrobot

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

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Cuttooth song meanings
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  • +6
    General Comment

    As I just posted on the 'Life In A Glass House' page, this song along with the rest of the 'Knives Out' single is an aversion and fear of people, of communication, of connecting with strangers or friends.

    Leading the wallpaper life is watching life pass you by as you do nothing, because of your insecurities. Your insecurities eventually overwhelm you and you run away.

    The tanks are you, destroying yourself and those around you because you cannot just get over your insecurities. A little bit of NOISE will destroy you, if you would just make an effort to speak and communicate you could get past all of this.

    The chorus is stating the problem, you feel skinned alive because of all the damage you cause yourself from just constantly having these insecurities and not overcoming them.

    Run away until you get tired of running and your ready to face your fears, or you find a way.

    The build you up to pull you down is playing games with people, starting something with them, engaging them and then just ignoring them, throwing them away. Its a shitty place to be, to put yourself out there and receive nothing from the other person because they are so insecure.

    You find another skin to where when you get tired of indulging in your fears and playing these games. Knives Out is essentially saying you have to sever all of this shit from yourself because it will get you nowhere, you have to forget your past and move on.

    skinnedaliveon August 27, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    In response, Thom stole his own lyrics from this and put it in Myxamatosis. "I dont know why I feel so tongue tied....alive." I love how he keeps saying "A little bit of knowledge will destroy you." It hurts.

    periwinklebydayon April 09, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    Agreed that the above lyrics by deadeye are correct(er). Why are all the RH websites so wrong on this song? Anyways. It's a brilliant song. BRILLIANT. About wanting to be invisible (blending into the wallpaper), escaping yourself and your thoughts/worries (joining the foreign legion; running away; finding another "skin to wear"). A most amazing song.

    smallwonderroboton April 14, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I'd have to say this as the correction to the lyrics:

    I will lead a wallpaper life Or run away to the foreign legion I will lead a wallpaper life Or run away to the foreign legion

    And as the tanks roll into town As the tanks roll into town A little bit of knowledge will destroy you A little bit of knowledge will destroy you

    As the tanks roll into town As the tanks roll into town A little bit of knowledge will destroy you A little bit of knowledge will destroy you

    I dont know why I feel so tongue-tied I dont know why I feel so skinned alive

    Run until your lungs are sore Until you cannot feel it any more Run until your lungs are sore Until you find an open door

    I build you up to pull you down Tie you to your feet, and watch you drown A little bit of knowledge will destroy you A little bit of knowledge will destroy you I build you up to pull you down Tie you to the stake and watch you burn in hell

    I dont know why I feel so tongue-tied I dont know why I feel so skinned alive

    I'll find another skin to wear I'll find another skin to wear

    I'm gonna have to say that I cannot stop listening to this song. It ... ahhh, the indescribable harmonies and melodies...just awesome...

    I just wish I knew what the heck it is supposed to be about.

    deadeye093on May 05, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    This is a love song. A wallpaper life is metophoric to leading a dull and simplistic life. The tanks and war are metophoric to building someone up (as they run away from you) towards a greater appreciation. "I build you up to pull you down/tie you to your feet, and watch you drown." In a sense both parties are building eachother up, one by running away and one by hurting the other for running away. "A little bit of knowledge will destroy you." The knowledge is knowing that someone loves you that much and having to live with it.

    thebiddleron May 10, 2003   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning

    This is my favorite song. I've listened to it several times every day for over a year, sometimes listening to it for hours at a time. I've even written a short story inspired by it. I doubt that my interpretation was intended by Radiohead, but it seems to make sense. Here we go.

    "I will lead a wallpaper life" I will spend my life trapped by walls, doing nothing of significance.

    "Or run away to the foreign legion" Or I could go on an adventure to keep from wasting my life.

    "As the tanks roll into town " He chose to go on an adventure by joining a military, which involved him and others in tanks wreaking havoc on a town.

    "A little bit of knowledge will destroy you" The knowledge that he's destroying people's lives will destroy him.

    "I don't know why I feel so tongue-tied I don't know why I feel so skinned alive" He sees the misery he's spreading, and this knowledge is destroying him with guilt. Intellectually, though, he doesn't know why he feels guilt because he's been trained to not value his victims' lives.

    "Run until your lungs are sore Until you cannot feel it any more" Keep running to a new adventure until you can't feel your guilt anymore.

    "Run until your lungs are sore Until you find an open door" Keep running to a new adventure until you find a way out of your misery.

    "I build you up to pull you down" I build an enemy up in my head to turn them into evil subhumans so I can torture them and feel like a hero.

    "Tie you to your feet, and watch you drown" "Tie you to the stake and watch you burn in hell" He tortures people he's deemed as evil subhumans in order to feel like a hero.

    "I don't know why I feel so tongue-tied I don't know why I feel so skinned alive" Even after only harming people he believes deserve to be harmed, he still feels immense guilt.

    "I'll find another skin to wear I'll find another skin to wear" I'll see things from inside someone else's skin. Seeing life from another person's perspective gives him empathy. This understand of why people do the things they do teaches him to forgive people who've done horrible things, including himself. So the line, "A little bit of knowledge will destroys you" also refers to the knowledge that other people's well-being is as valuable as his own will destroy "you", meaning his ego. By finding "another skin to wear" he has gained the empathy required to be a compassionate person.

    AdamKadmonon August 04, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Don't you wish you knew the real lyrics to this masterpiece?

    thom yorkeon May 03, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    what does this song have to do with myxomatosis?

    Jondude11on June 24, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    "In response, Thom stole his own lyrics from this and put it in Myxamatosis."

    but wait...was myxomatosis written before cuttooth then? or is myxomatosis stolen from cuttooth?

    varicose_veinson July 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    hee hoo ha hey.

    Why is there no Amnesiac B-Side EP. I want this song, but the cheapest I can find Knives out Single is £2.90 from amazon. Anyone seen it cheaper elsewhere?

    Wallamanageon September 15, 2005   Link

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