"Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" as written by and Thomas Edward/greenwood Yorke....
In the deepest ocean
The bottom of the sea
Your eyes
They turn me
Why should I stay here?
Why should I stay?

I'd be crazy not to follow
Follow where you lead
Your eyes
They turn me

Turn me on to phantoms
I follow to the edge of the earth
And fall off
Everybody leaves
If they get the chance
And this is my chance

I get eaten by the worms
Weird fishes
Get towed by the worms
Weird fishes
Weird fishes
Weird fishes

I'll hit the bottom
Hit the bottom and escape
Escape

I'll hit the bottom
Hit the bottom and escape
Escape


Lyrics submitted by saturnine, edited by Arialaxe, violetmav, 23Tonality, skaffen, AtomicCEO

"Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" as written by Edward John O'brien Colin Charles Greenwood

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Weird Fishes/Arpeggi song meanings
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  • +19
    My InterpretationThis is an amazing song, simply for its imagery and vocals. Here's my take on it:

    In the deepest ocean
    The bottom of the sea
    Your eyes
    They turn me

    ^^ ...This is referring to one's character/self esteem. Being at your personal low, feeling that life has no purpose, until something comes along that sparks your interests. The eyes is a metaphor for anything that has such a property of inciting interest, in this case, Seduction.

    Why should I stay here?
    Why should I stay?

    ^^... questioning himself. Asking himself why should he stay depressed and at this low point and not take a step, but there's a reason why he's asking himself this question...Its like he's been here before, and took that step before, and know all but well how it ends, but still, Love is worth taking the risk... again. Seduction is the driving force behind his decision.

    I'd be crazy not to follow
    Follow where you lead
    Your eyes
    They turn me

    ^^... by saying "follow where you lead", it implies that he knows exactly where he's going to be, but he's willing to take the risk. He'd be crazy not to follow is proving the point that with all experiences, especially Love, logic and sanity isn't important, but its more about how you feel, and experiencing that feeling again. But is this love? No, I think we all know what this is.

    Turn me on to phantoms
    I follow to the edge of the earth
    And fall off
    Everybody leaves
    If they get the chance
    And this is my chance

    ^^... this is probably the strongest verse in the song. "Turn me on to phantoms" is a clear indication that what he is feeling has no physical reality. The way Yorke sings it also, gives me the idea that its a norm, and he's expecting everything that happened to happen. There's no love, there's no relationship, but his seduction and eagerness to feel appreciated. To feel "Something", "Anything", is overwhelming his conscience. This is his chance, and he's going to take it, no matter what. Also, the fact that he regards the earth as flat (follow to the "edge"), is a clear indication that what he is feeling and what he is in, isn't "real".

    I get eaten by the worms
    And weird fishes
    Picked over by the worms
    And weird fishes
    Weird fishes
    Weird fishes

    ^^... Listen to the way Yorke sings this bit. Its quite obvious that this has happened to him many a time before, so much now that he's accepted the conclusion to his illusion. There's a direct link between this bit and the previous bit, and I personally think the true driving force behind Yorke's character action is Hope. Hope that "this time", his seduction would be more than an illusion, and that it would be real. A real relationship, but again, he falls back into the depths, picked over by the worms and weird fishes; everything that surrounds depression and failure. Its very sad the way he depicts it.

    This can also be a change in setting. It can imply that the experience of taking that chance and finding out it was just an illusion can be "picking" and "eating" away at his conscience. He's starting to come to grips with reality, and realize that he was just being played, and blinded by Seduction.

    Yeah I
    I'll hit the bottom
    Hit the bottom and escape
    Escape
    And I
    I'll hit the bottom
    Hit the bottom
    Hit the bottom and escape
    Escape

    ^^... Acceptance of failure, but willingness to try again and again, in the hope that some day he'll take that jump and succeed at Love, but as long as you follow the "eyes" and not the "heart", you'll never succeed.

    This can also mean that the character has found his solace, and has come to grips with reality, so much that his mind is in a full state of consciousness; escaped from the illusion that drove him "over the edge".


    The entire song is a continuous process of falling into the curse of Seduction, and separating fiction from reality. "Everyone leaves if they get the chance" is a clear indication of taking that step and that risk to fall in love, but you'll always be picked over by worms and weird fishes when you look for love in all the wrong places, and this picking over can lead back to Depression, or you can embrace it and emancipate yourself; Escape, like the song suggests.

    Just my opinion :)
    DReppin2009on March 05, 2009   Link
  • +13
    General CommentI listen to it again and again, can't help falling in love with this song, and I think that's what this beautiful song is about:

    falling in love and leaving the dreary bottom of the sea where worms and weird fishes eat you up - a metaphor maybe for being stuck in a sad or life-denying mood, letting oneself being eaten up by pessimistic morbid thoughts) following the new love up to the edge of the earth, even if you risk falling off, as is here suggested.
    don't you think this is a highly addictive song? those eyes in the song turn me too !
    farfelueon July 29, 2008   Link
  • +10
    General CommentSorry if this has been brought up b4 - just read old Rolling Stone piece on In Rainbows; they called this song "depressing, even by Radiohead standards". While I can't express my feelings about this song, I find it entirely uplifting. It's about a turning point. Something that really changes your life.
    kaaton August 11, 2009   Link
  • +8
    General CommentAccording to someone in the band, this is a song about finding love, hoping that things will materialize, and then feeling self-doubts that make it difficult to carry things through. The ocean is a symbol of the subconscious, so this is perhaps a journey of self-discovery and self-healing inspired by love. The oceanic imagery in this song is also related to how an artist first becomes inspired to create; also by going into his subconscious.
    eatenbythewormson January 23, 2008   Link
  • +7
    My InterpretationHas anyone reading this ever nearly drowned or suffocated due to any reason?
    This song gives me that feeling. It is somewhat more literal than the other interpretations in that the sea is actually drowning the protaganist slowly by suffocation.
    It is the feeling when you are at the bottom of the ocean and after seeing something or someone beautiful, you have two choices.
    -swim back up and survive.
    -follow the mysterious thing and die.

    It represents the rationality that one would rather die while looking at something beautiful than live in their own dull world.
    'I'd be crazy not to follow
    Follow where you lead.
    Your eyes,
    they turn me.'

    It is the feeling that you are suffocating, and yet the pure beauty of this thing is masking the fear that should be present, and replacing it with happiness and love.
    I also believe that the arpeggios and overall mood/texture that is used throughout the song really reflects n it's meaning, whether my interpretation is correct or not.

    'Everybody leaves,
    when they get the chance,
    and this,
    is my chance.'

    This may represent the knowledge of the person drowning that their time is running out, and if they are to escape, that this moment is their last chance.

    Even if my interpretation is pointless and stupid, (Although, no interpretation is ever wrong) I still believe that this song holds immense power and an attitude toward dying that is unfathomable and yet so deeply human.

    'I get eaten by the worms.
    And weird fishes.'

    This stanza is different in that the texture of the song changes, highlighting the vocals. These lines most certainly attain some beauty and perfection to a death at the bottom of the ocean. Not decaying in a wooden box or being burnt and spread etc.

    The last line, (I hit the bottom and escape etc) is perhaps the only stanza that supports the suicide theory more than mine, in that if he were hoping to survive, hitting the bottom of the ocean would probably make him even more screwed than before, although, nevertheless, i love the change in texture and the way Thom sings these last lines.
    BenHurlson November 28, 2012   Link
  • +5
    General CommentIn my opinion, I see escape as the more relevant theme in this particular song than anything. I still acknowledge the theme of love being of some significance, though it is not necessarily the driving force. Thom deliberately constructed the lyrics to be ambiguous; so, if love is what you see, love is what you get. Here are two of my interpretation.

    1) To me, the person being spoken of is someone being used as an escape from reality. Comparable to deep sea fishes, the characteristics of this person is as much peculiar as is interesting and alluring. It is not necessarily love which guides the speaker in this song, but utter fascination. The speaker basks in ecstasy every time he learns something new about this interesting person. So much so that he begins to question the quality of his own life. "Why should I stay here?" he beckons. The speaker has become so intrigued that he will toss aside his life to follow this person to even the deepest, darkest ends of the world. None more so than the mysteriously frightening abyss of the sea. This weird, significant other has just become a form of escape from his current shit-hole of a life.

    2) The speaker is questioning his relationship with his significant other. He was so wrapped up and moved by her charm that he was willing to give up his awareness to submit to her. The speaker accomplished this goal, and now wakes up to the realization that his dignity is at rock bottom. He makes the ironic comment, "I'd be crazy not to follow where you lead," knowing that doing it is, in fact, pretty fucking crazy. The state of his relationship is that he irrationally gave up his own life for this significant other. He might as well be dead. Figuratively speaking, the corpse that is his life might as well be devoured by deep sea fishes and worms. The burden of the relationship has rendered him unthinking, lifeless, and life-deprived. The optimistic solution to this predicament is to escape.
    freakintrickon May 29, 2011   Link
  • +5
    General CommentWhat if... the weird fishes are notes? Like music notes, they have little tails and look like fishes. I always took this to be a love song as well, but maybe it's about using music to escape when love doesn't work out. Arpeggi are note structures radiohead use a lot on their music, the title of the song suggests weird fishes / arpeggi are interchangeable.
    millivanilliscoopon July 03, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThis song is fucking bonkers. It's so vivid and beautiful and intense and rich and....etc. He is seduced by this person's eyes, a metaphor for pursuing this person that he loves, but they are only phantoms and they lead him off the edge into a deep ocean meaning that she leaves him. He then enters a deep depression getting picked over by the worms and weird fishes of the ocean but when he finally hits the bottom he is able to escape and start anew.
    debaser247on November 22, 2007   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationThis is an allusion to deep sea animals, obviously, but the metaphor it contains, in my opinion, is about love. Unconditional, stupid, obsessive love.

    "In the deepest ocean, the bottom of the sea, your eyes, they turn me."

    --No matter how shitty my life is, no matter what is on my mind, this girl's eyes are the thing that capture me. Also an allusion to a worm or fish that is attracted to a light designed to attract prey- "your eyes".
    In the same way, he's metaphorically insinuating that a beautiful girl's eyes are infatuating, captivating, and, once you're lost, can lead you to wherever- to "the bottom", looking for an "escape."

    "Everybody leaves if they get the chance." "I'd be crazy not to follow, follow where you lead."
    -Basically everyone wants love, and to be loved.

    "I'll hit the bottom and escape..."
    -Even if he follows, thinking that this thing (animal, light, girl, whatever) will set him free, he's going to find himself alone in the abyss, or, even worse, be "eaten by the worms and weird fishes."

    In short, love seems great until it turns into madness.
    bubblegumanimalson December 04, 2011   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationFor me, I've always related this song to my own personal feelings of being stuck in a town and situation I hate. I think that the "deepest ocean/bottom of the sea" is this inescapable place that seems impossible to leave. It's the bottom of the ocean, where there is no sunlight or any outside influences to set you free.

    The "Your eyes, they turn me" is some person or some thing finally giving the person a wake up call and hope for a life outside of the ocean floor. For me, I always picture it as a woman who comes from "the surface" or lives at the bottom and tells him stories of life outside. He contemplates "Why should I stay here?", realizing that these people and this location will never fulfill his desires in life. He gives all his trust to her and decides to "follow where you lead".

    I think that the "phantoms" that she is "turning him on to" are the abandoned dreams that he once had hoped to achieve, but was held back by his own inhibitions. Her arrival has reawakened his determination and he is ready to "follow to the edge of the earth".

    "Everybody leaves, if they get the chance, and this is my chance" - I think that all of this person's past friends have already escaped long ago, while he has been left behind at the "bottom of the sea". This girl, whose eyes have reminded him of everything he lacks, is his last chance at escaping/being happy.

    Unfortunately, something goes wrong and he misses his last chance. Somebody outside force, or perhaps his personal fears, keeps him from making that jump to the other side. He lets her get away while he gets "eaten by the worms and weird fishes", which are the people who reside at the bottom of the sea. He now knows that it is only downhill from here, and that the only thing that will free him is the day when he finally loses everything and realizes how much time he has been wasting. "I'll hit the bottom and escape"

    tl;dr - It's about being trapped and then seeing a way out, only to let the opportunity slide by.
    FishHead56on August 28, 2012   Link

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