I'd tell all my friends but they'd never believe me
They'd think I've finally lost it completely...
Subterranean Homesick Alien is the third track on Radiohead's OK Computer. It runs 4:39, putting it in as about average length compared to the other songs on the album.
This song is a little out of character compared to the other tracks on the album, in that it is not outwardly negative or aggressive. In fact, I feel it is the most passive and relaxed track on OK Computer; however, this does not mean that it is powerful in its own right. It carries a very distracted, dreamy air to it, which is also in contrast to most songs on OK Computer.
The song tells a personal narrative from what I assume to be Thom's point of view. He has become tired of the grind of modern life, and the steel and metal that accompanies. He goes on to fantasize about aliens watching over the Earth, recording these weird creatures who "drill holes in themselves" and "live for their secrets." He wishes that they'd take him away, and let him see the world from the air, every inch. He believes that his friends, however, would be unlikely to believe him. In his fantasy, they even go to the point of locking him up for insanity, despite (or due to) his sharing of intense secrets of the universe.
The chorus of the song laments that those on Earth are all "uptight." However, the second repitition of the chrous states that he himself is uptight, as a surrendering to those of Earth, throwing away his fantasy. In fact, "Uptight" was the original title of this song before it was changed to its current incarnation.
This is a very subtly depressing song (as opposed to other tracks, such as Fitter Happier or Let Down). It's also one of my favorites on the album, aside from Electioneering. This is one of the few Radiohead songs that I listen to when I'm down, and for some reason it brings me up again. I highly suggest a listen for any fan of Radiohead who somehow hasn't heard this song. Though of course, I also recommend the rest of the album.
Source for lyrics snippets:
green plastic radiohead