A Christian meme virus like the WWJD bracelets. It seems to have peaked and started to fade again, thankfully. True love waits.. feh. If you want to wait, for religion, for personal reasons, whatever that's great, but don't imply that the rest of us can't have true love becuase we happen to like sex. It's not like Christianity has a monopoly on love.

But true love waits... No it doesn't, dammit! Love is now, and marriage is only a distant blip on the farthest horizon. Live for today, do what you want, and deal with tomorrow when it comes. The loudest proponents of "true love waits" are the ones who have never had to decide whether they want to fuck like bunnies or not.
See: you've never had sex in your life
Song by Radiohead, originally known as Mortigi Tempo (Esperanto for "Killing Time".) It debuted at the Luna Theater in Brussels, Belgium on December 5, 1995 with the introduction "This is a brand-new song nobody's ever heard before." It featured Thom Yorke singing and playing acoustic guitar and Jonny Greenwood playing keyboard arpeggios...

History

...and was never played again. However, a bootleg made it out and quickly spread to fans, among whom it was universally adored. Reading the lyrics to this song on a fan site around 1996 was what really hooked me as a Radiohead fan, and I'd never even heard the music that accompanied them. The song continued to be praised and requested by fans, but the band was stylistically moving away from their The Bends-era recordings onto other things.

However, the fans persisted in asking for the song, and nearly five years later, on July 8, 2000 at the Cinerama in Tel Aviv, Israel Thom played it again, this time solo. His introduction went, "This is an old song called True Love Waits. We've never really known what to do with it except play it, so this is, uhh... me playing it. (laughter)"

It then dropped off the face of the earth for another year. When asked by the BBC if they would ever ever record 'True Love Waits', Thom responded, "We'd love to record that. We'd love to find a way to do it, other than on an acoustic guitar. We have an entire section in our tape store just for 'True Love Waits' versions... That was a song we first did around 'OK Computer'."

The song then resurfaced at Hutchinson Field in Chicago, Illinois, again solo and with a similar introduction. Later, at the first of their two Liberty State Park shows, Thom dedicated True Love Waits to "the increasingly large banners we get for it." (referring to the signs concertgoers bring which read "PLAY *MY FAVOURITE SONG*!") It continued to be played live on their tour in support of Amnesiac, always as an encore by Thom, solo on acoustic guitar.

With the announcement of the I Might Be Wrong Live EP, the band's intention became clear: they had been demoing the song for inclusion on the live record, and the recording from their show at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles had been selected. Many reviewers singled the track out as a high point on the EP, but to me and to many of the fans I've met the version that was released was decidedly inferior to the original Brussels bootleg.

Complete Listing of shows played (to the best of my knowledge and research.) Bootlegs of many of these shows exist if you look hard enough.

December 5, 1995, Luna Theater, Brussels, Belgium
June 30, 2001, Santa Barbara Bowl, Santa Barbara, California
July 8, 2000, Cinerama, Tel Aviv, Israel
August 1, 2001, Hutchinson Field, Chicago, Illinois
August 16, 2001, Liberty State Park, Jersey City, New Jersey
August 20, 2001, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, California
September 10, 2001, the Spectrum, Oslo, Norway
September 14, 2001, Odyssey Arena, Belfast, Ireland
October 2, 2001, Budokan, Tokyo, Japan
July 30, 2002, Teatro Kursaal, San Sebastian, Spain
August 1, 2002, Teatro Kursaal, San Sebastian, Spain
August 7, 2002, Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos, Salamanca, Spain
October 27, 2002, Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, California
May 25, 2003, Shepherds Empire, London, UK (Recorded for MTV UK & Ireland)
June 5, 2003, The Beacon Theatre, New York City (Recorded for MTV's $2 Bill Concert Series)
July, 7, 2003, Las Ventas, Madrid, Spain

Lyrics

I'll drown my beliefs
To have you be in peace
I'll dress like your niece
To wash your swollen feet

Just don't leave, don't leave

And true love waits
In haunted attics
And true love lives
On lollipops and crisps

Just don't leave, don't leave

I'm not living
I'm just killing time
Your tiny hands
Your crazy kiss and smile

Just lonely, lonely...
Just lonely, longing...


Explication

Due to its intensely personal lyrics, the meaning behind True Love Waits has spawned much debate among fans. I will first use firsthand quotes from the band, then offer my own interpretation of the song.

Exhibit A comes from the band's official site, www.radiohead.com, circa 1995-96.

are you a virgin? every night we are haunted it paces up and down outside my room, it talks to me in its sleep. its in the tape going round and round. it stops and starts the tape machine. goes into record when it feels like it. we just let it happen. just dont leave. dont leave. it waits patiently. mum left her 8 year old locked in for a week with lollipops and crisps. she had to work or forgot or something. stanley says. you, like everyone else need to feel important.
When asked how he came up with the line "lollipops and crisps," Thom elaborated on the band's official messageboard, "cos it meant a lot to me that out of all the things in the world to choose you chose those two items i read an article about a child who was between 5-8 yrs old who was left on his/her own for a week in a house when his parents left on hoilday and he lived on lollipops on crisps. true."

On the line "I'll dress like your niece," Thom wrote, "the difference between young and old when people start to dress sensible and act their age. this person is offering not to do that to keep the other. alles klarr?" (01/26/00)


A small note on the use of gender-specific pronouns: I am going to stick to having the singer be male and the sung-to as female, since this in the reality of lyricist Thom Yorke's relationship with his girlfriend Rachel. However, I believe one of the best things about this song is that the lyrics are gender- and orientation-neutral, so don't let my words influence they way you identify with this song.

Above all this song is about someone looking for lifelong love, and their willingness to do anything necessary to find it. Codependent? Desperate? Hopeless Romantic?

The title is borrowed from a Christian movement whose goal was to have teens save sex until marriage, preaching that if a person truely loves you, he will wait until you are ready. The song, forgetting all sexual connotations, suggests that true love is waiting, and it is the job of each individual to go out and win over their love.

In the first stanza, the person is saying he will let go everything they believe in in order to placate the person he desires. "I'll dress like your niece", as was noted, refers to the person's willingness to act as a child in order to keep his love happy, probably alluding to the childlike qualities of innocence, openness, and trusting. To wash a person's feet is the symbol of servitude to one's master, or a gesture of complete humility, as Jesus did to his discples at the last supper.

The term "haunted attics" suggests that the absence of true love is like a ghost, a negative presence that won't let you alone. Not having someone to love can be very emtionally disturbing thing. Yorke identified the line "true love lives on lollipops and crisps" as referring to one of the numerous stories of small children being left alone for extended periods by neglectful parents. Perhaps Yorke is suggesting that he feels he is neglecting his true love by not being with it.

The line "not living/just killing time" comes from the film version of Fahrenheit 451. Guy Montag directs the accusation at his wife and her friends, when confronting them about how they spend all their time watching television. Taken out of context, I believe the line simply means he knows he will never feel alive until he has his love, but he will go on "killing time" until he has her. The "tiny hands" and "crazy kiss and smile" are the endearing qualities the person in the song sees in the person he loves.

Music

The hook for this song is based around constantly playing a B as a pickup note into a C, over top of the basic chord progression (C-Em-Am-G). (Incidentally, Thom Yorke uses this same device on How To Disappear Completely.) For the guitar, this means playing the B string open on the first downstroke of each measure and hammering on to the first fret on the upstroke. I've notated this as a chord change from Cmaj7 to C, etc., but really the first chord is only played for an eighth note and the change only involves putting a finger down.

Intro
Cmaj7 C  Em Em6  Asus2 Am  G# G#add9 (at some concerts played as add6,
                                                  also played as sus4)

Cmaj7 C                  Em Em6    
        I'll drown my beliefs
Asus2 Am                    G# G#add9
        To have you be in peace

I'll dress like your niece
And wash your swollen feet


 Cmaj7 C Fmaj9 Em6 Cmaj7 C Fmaj9 Em6 Asus2 Am G Gsus4
Just         don't leave,      don't leave


(here play normal Cmaj7 to C hammer-ons, etc. but add e|-3-3-1-0-| )

Cmaj7 C C5 Csus4 Cmaj  Em Em6 Em6b9 Em6
  I'm       not     living
Asus2 Am Am7 Amb6 Am  G#add6
  I'm just killing time

Your tiny hands
Your crazy kiss and smile


 Cmaj7 C Fmaj9 Em6 Cmaj7 C Fmaj9 Em6 Asus2 Am G Gsus4
Just         don't leave,      don't leave

(once through verse with e |-3-3-1-0-| on each chord)
Cmaj7 C     Em Em6    
Asus2 Am     G Gsus4
A#  G


Gigography at http://www.ateaseweb.com was referenced for show dates. Band quotes are available on every single fansite out there.
Released on June 10, 2003, True Love Waits is a brilliant album by Christopher O'Riley, showcasing his interpretation of sixteen Radiohead tracks on the piano. This album (coincidence or not) was released the same day as Hail to the Thief.

The track list:
Everything In It's Right Place
Knives Out
Black Star
Karma Police
Let Down
Airbag
Subterranean Homesick Alien
Thinking About You
Exit Music (for a film)
You
Bulletproof
Fake Plastic Trees
I Can't
True Love Waits
Motion Picture Soundtrack

A review:
In a word: brilliant. From the first moment to the last second, it is a truly inspired effort that some times makes my head spin and wonder how a human being's hands can move so fast across the keys of a piano. I think Mr. O'Riley has had some bionic implants or something to speed him up, because there are occasions (like on Karma Police), when he tears up the piano like nobody's business.
On the flip side, tracks like Let Down and Bulletproof show a softer, but no less fantastic, side of O'Riley's interpretive skill. The frenetic pace of the other tracks are slowed and tempered.
The high points: Definitely Let Down and Knives Out, but Motion Picture Soundtrack is up there as well.
The low points: Everything In Its Right Place is far too quiet for it's own good, but that may not be the fault of O'Riley, just production. Thinking About You seems to be a bit of a throwaway, but it has its place as the "midway marker" of the album.

Overall, I'd say it's better than its release date partner, but, as they say, I might be wrong.

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