Lyric discussion by DanielKim 

I'd say that rather than reading the song from a political perspective the song should be read from the 'Amnesiac' album's subject matter. At that time, Thom Yorke was fascinated by Greek and Egyptian mythologies, more precisely in the abyssal dimensions of their netherworlds. I claim that the song is about the art making process which can sometimes turn to be an ordeal for the artist. The netherworld or art making process should be regarded in this sense as an unbearable and impossible void where the humans or art work are stripped of all of their notions of identity and also where the artist should go through a tortuous trial before transforming or being reborn into a new art form.

It is important to remark that the song itself is composed of 'negative' parts of the song "I Will" and the lyrics were meant to sound 'backwards' as well. Out of the frustration of not achieving a satisfying outcome, the band members played it backwards providing an unexpected but pleasing melody. The parallelism here is that of Duat or egyptian netherworld where the dead have to pass gates guarded by grotesque spirits or in another words which directly alludes to the unsymbolizable aspect of exhaustive process. This is why Yorke sings 'i'm being cut to shreds' and 'feed to the lions'; we cannot help but feel victims of oppressive demands. After passing this stage comes a more spiritual trial with the 'Weighting of the heart', in which Anubis weights human hearts against the weight of a feather in order to pass, therefore having to reach a 'delicate balance' in order to match the weight of a feather. We see that in order to continue that tedious distilling process one is forced by an otherness that can almost make you feel 'like spinning plates' in order to live up the expectations.

At the end of the song he says "my body is floating down the river" which alludes to Lethe or the Greek mythological river of forgetfulness which Yorke connects to the gnostic notion of being stripped from memories of perfection to evade the trauma of the material world. Whether arriving to a hell or being reincarnated into our world, the dead has been 'reborn' in strict sense in the same analogous way of "I will" being reborn into a dark and abyssal "Like spinning plates".

Likewise in Laurent Briet's unpublished music video the spectator is taken to a journey through a panning in a dark abandoned parking like place, resembling the journey in the river to the netherworld which waters are claimed to erase all of your memories if drunk..After a passage of light painting mythological motifs and anthropomorphic shades we finally arrive at the destination in which a materialised version of those shadows is standing. Almost like things emanating from a pure world of ideas we are finally able to witness the sublime negativity of Radiohead's art making process.


@DanielKim I don't really think it has to be separated from the political, since so much of life is intertwined. It made me think of the Myth of Er and the Spindle of Necessity (spinning plates) from Plato's Politic (aka The Republic). The Myth of Er, which deals with the afterlife and rebirth, also has a highly political dimension, dealing with war, virtue and tyranny.

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