From Radiohead's album Amnesiac, this is one of the stranger and more inscrutable -- yet haunting and wonderful still -- tracks. The first four (of eight total) lines of the song were sung backwards, and then turned around to be intelligible ala the words of the dwarf in Twin Peaks. This provides a suitably eerie ambiance to the song, as well as an extra fun time for people trying to interpret the lyrics. The lyrics below are what I found hiding in the CD booklet on page 16 or so, the page with the drawing of a guy with his eyes sewn shut. Of course, please listen for yourself and feel free to hear something completely and radically different.

Musically, the song is built mostly from parts of Radiohead's song I will, which is unreleased but has been performed live (and taped) a few times. Some of the sounds are played backwards, and the rhythm of the piece is made up entirely of a backwards guitar riff with pitch shifted here and there. It's quite evocative of the computerized compositions of Paul Lansky, because of the varied repetition and multi-sound chords. It reminds me very much of his later Idle Chatter pieces, especially notjustmoreidlechatter. Since Radiohead has used Lansky's ideas and sounds other places, this interpretation is not that outlandish.

Here are the lyrics, as I hear them:

While you make pretty speeches
I'm being cut to shreds
You feed me to the lions
A delicate balance

And this just feels like spinning plates
I'm living in cloud cuckoo land
And this just feels like spinning plates
Our bodies floating down the muddy river

And here is a piece of Thom Yorke's writing from the Radiohead site that might help explain this song:

so how much can you stand?
the flames are lapping up & up,
licking round the legs going in a circle
dogs pulling on its chain
the wind blows a tune
tune to the coming dead
this just feels like spinning plates
a temple of hypocrites opportunist
i am no magician
our bodies floating down the muddy river
i jump at the slightest sound
i'm trying to keep my balance
they have borrowed all the kitchen knives
they are killing all the tall thin ones
switch off and walk away
spinning plates trick
spinning plates
i'm spinning plates juggling plates
juggling plates spinning plates
spinning plates spinning plates
spinning plates im juggling plates

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