It will shine and it will shudder
As i guide it with my rudder
On its metaled ways
It will cut the night before it
As it leaves the day that saw it
On its metaled ways
Nobody passes us in the deep quiet of the dark sky
Nobody sees us alone out here among the stars
In these metal ways
In these metal days.
Through a fault of our designing
We are lost among the windings
Of these metal ways
Back to silence back to minus
With the purple sky behind us
In these metal ways
Nobody hears us when we're alone in the blue future
No one receiving the radio's splintered waves
In these metal ways
In these metal days.

Lyrics submitted by floating_eye

"No one receiving" as written by Brian Eno

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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No One Receiving song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentThe song opens with Eno piloting some sort of metal craft (most likely a car) through the countryside as night approaches. The sense of isolation is palpable. The metal seems to isolate him from his environment or his own life -- the days themselves have become "metal," and the "ways" of his existence are also "metal."

    Man contructed machines of metal, and the metal became his master, it seems. Technology and the wonders of science lead to the restriction of our imagination -- "hard facts" and pre-mapped pathways predetermine humanity's responses as processes and minds become streamlined to fit the demands of a fast-paced and relentless culture.

    Eno prophesies a future where we return "back to silence" from our current "metal" state. Inaction, being (rather than becoming), and calm acceptance without analysis may once again hold sway. Images of twilight (purple sky) and transition (day being left behind, approaching night) abound in the song, representing the endless cycles of life and death that humanity is a part of (but pretends to have escaped via his transient "metal ways").

    The last original couplet is important -- everyone is talking in our "blue future" (the alienated present), but no one is receiving; the radio waves echo into nothing because everyone is too busy creating, generating, ejaculating, to stop and listen, receive, accept, take in, be passive, be responsive, or just be (and yes, I am aware of the masculine/feminine connotations of the two opposites; this duality is key throughout the album, I think).

    As the first song on "Before and After Science," this song establishes the alienated present -- the current era of Science. Eno prefers imagination and the unplanned, uncontrolled creative impulse -- he knows that everything we observe and think is just another wave an endless ocean.
    msmoxwilliamson April 25, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA warning to the technological era?
    RealityRippleon April 11, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAlso has strong connotations of space traveling. Actually, the whole song can be read as a description of this activity. Of course, this theme cannot be dissociated from the general pattern referred to in msmoxwilliams' comment.
    bVon October 10, 2015   Link

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