"The Bends" as written by and Thomas Edward/o'brien Yorke....
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh

Where do we go from here?
The words are coming out all weird
Where are you now?
When I need you
Alone on an airplane
Falling asleep against the windowpane
My blood will thicken

I need to wash myself again
To hide all the dirt and pain
'Cause I'd be scared
That there's nothing underneath
And who are my real friends
Have they all got the bends?
Am I really sinking
This slow

My baby's got the bends
Oh, no
We don't have any real friends
No, no, no

Just lying in a bar with my drip feed on
Talking to my girlfriend, waiting for something to happen
And I wish it was the sixties, I wish I could be happy
I wish, I wish, I wish that something would happen

Where do we go from here?
The planet is a gunboat in a sea of fear
And where are you?

They brought in the C.I.A
The tanks and the whole marines to blow me away
To blow me sky-high

Baby's got the bends
We don't have any real friends

Just lying in a bar with my drip feed on
Talking to my girlfriend, waiting for something to happen
I wish it was the sixties, I wish I could be happy
I wish, I wish, I wish that something would-

I want to live, breathe
I want to be part of the human race
I want to live, breathe
I want to be part of the human race, race, race?

Where do we go from here?
The words are coming out all weird, where are you now?
When I need you


Lyrics submitted by piesupreme, edited by eloso, Paymaan, pete116128

"The Bends" as written by Edward John O'brien Colin Charles Greenwood

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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The Bends song meanings
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  • +5
    My InterpretationThis song leaves a lot of room for interpretation. It's written in an abstract way so that anyone can sort have a different angle from which to understand the meaning.

    That being said, in its abstraction, it's very straightfoward, sending a clear message.

    Radiohead explores dark themes and this song is no different. Don't get confused with the pretty arrangements, genius melodies and expert composing.

    What do Radiohead to best? They reach your soul ! Not many artists can do this, nowadays. But they reach it not to corrupt it, but to illuminate it. It sounds weird and esoteric, but it's true. Listen to karma police, paranoid android, 2+2=5 and you'll get the general picture.

    They are humanists, but realists. Cynics, but believers.

    Now to the song.

    The bends? Someone having "the bends" is someone having an existential crisis. Why am I here? What is my role in the world? Who am I? Someone having the bends is someone having an overhaul in his life, trying to figure it all out.

    But what crisis? What problems? We're talking here about world problems. Look at the state of the world in the last 20 years. The wars, the media manipulations, the big-brother control freak nations, the satanists (listen to 2+2=5), etc. It's about waking up to real state of the world. How corrupt and evil it is.

    Who do you think Radiohead is talking about with "They brought in the CIA". They is the symbol in todays music and pop culture term to explain the people behind the scenes that manipulate and control everything. Conspiracy much? CIA are master conspirators. Hard to believe? Do a fact check off all the things the CIA has done undercover in the last 20 years. You'll get nightmares. And in this case, the CIA represents secrecy.

    "The planet is a gunboat in a sea of fear" ???

    Don't look very far for this. It pretty much means what it says. How do you think the good people of this world are being manipulated? With fear! Fear control nations. Fear makes people sick. Fear is an unspeaken poison. Check it out. There are two universal base emotions in the world. One that liberates and heals, love and the other that controls, manipulates and kill, fear. There are new scientific research done on these emotions and how they deal with people's minds and bodies. 9/11? What did the media do afterwards? War on terror? Create enemies that don't exist to create fear in a population of idiots who believe anything that their being told! Why do you think this song is all about? Why do you think people have their wills and souls "bent" by the control moguls at top?

    "I need to wash myself again
    To hide all the dirt and pain
    'Cause I'd be scared that there's nothing underneath"

    This is about his soul. His soul, mind, empty of meaning. Empty of understanding. He just found out about how much the world is a shitty place at times, and it scares him of getting rid of all the bullsh*t that he has been told to believe. And it's not even to get rid, its to "hide".

    "Where do we go from here
    The words are coming out all weird
    Where are you now, when I need you"

    "Where do we go from here" This is a wake up call to all the ignorant people who don't know whats going on in the world. Hey, you know that it's hell in some places of the earth, you know the evil that lurks in the shadows and even in open sight. So where do we go from here? What do we do? Do we hide like cowards or do something about it?

    "The words are coming all weird" There are many people that are trying to explain the real nature of this world, and what is REALLY going on. But their words don't sound right. Its coming all weird, thus we don't listen. We turn our heards and accept to ignore the truth.

    "Where are you now, when I need you" A friend? NO! Girlfriend? NO! This is God he's talking about. Calling for help. Don't we all do that atleast once in our lifes? "Oh God Whyyy`?!?! Why me?!?!" Yeah, well, this is desperation. You feel powerless, like there is nothing you can't do. Where are the good people when we need them? Where is God when we really need him? In all the pain, and suffering that is going all around the world, where is God?

    "I want to live and breathe
    I want to be part of the human race"

    This part at the end, with the massive build-up and explosion of Jonny's guitar with Thom's anguished voice, screaming for a resolution, taps on all our feelings of alienation from our basic needs of love, respect, dignity, understanding and acceptance. These our the things that make people grow, live and be happy. These are the things for which great men and women have fought over the years, in the "sixties". Who was a great man fighting for the freedom of a whole race in America? Martin Luther King. The civil rights movements for black people, for example. The counter-revolution mouvement. People demanding new things, demanding to respect their rights.

    Living, breathing, are what we all want. We don't want to live in a sea of fear, but one of love and respect.

    This song is very deep and taps into many base core emotion we all feel during our lifes.

    The radio controls our music in many ways and that is why Radiohead is not very radio friendly, because it sends another message the "establishement" doesn't want the population to hear. Population control.

    People, wake up. Radiohead is telling you all that in this song, but it's "abstract", so there is a lot of room for interpretation, but its bottom line very straightfoward when you "know" where they are coming from and what they are trying to convey.
    BlazinYogion November 26, 2012   Link

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