The Witching Hour: On Radiohead’s Powerful Lyrics

The Witching Hour: On Radiohead’s Powerful Lyrics

Radiohead. Where to start? I have been listening to this band since early teenage-hood and have yet to tire of their magic. Beyond their musical prowess and ability to craft complicated yet catchy riffs and choruses – it is their lyricism that keeps me hooked. Thom Yorke’s lyrics are like weird fishes, slipping in and … Continue reading The Witching Hour: On Radiohead’s Powerful Lyrics

16 May 2017  //  Remi Graves


Radiohead. Where to start? I have been listening to this band since early teenage-hood and have yet to tire of their magic.

Beyond their musical prowess and ability to craft complicated yet catchy riffs and choruses – it is their lyricism that keeps me hooked. Thom Yorke’s lyrics are like weird fishes, slipping in and out of meaning, changing hue depending on the light you shine on them.

I chose The Gloaming for my Hold Up Magna Carta playlist because of its menacing, glitchy undertow, and the weight of hard hitting lyrics like “Murderers, you’re murderers/We are not the same as you” which clash with vague, atmospheric tone of: “When the walls bend, when the walls bend / with your breathing, with your breathing”. The track is laced with symbolism and metaphor – look at the lyrics, what do they mean to you?

Lyrics

Genie let out of the bottle
It is now the witching hour
Genie let out of the bottle
It is now the witching hour

Murderers, you’re murderers
We are not the same as you
Genie let out of the bottle
Funny how, funny how

When the walls bend, when the walls bend
With your breathing, with your breathing
When the walls bend, when the walls bend
With your breathing, with your breathing

With your breathing
They will suck you down to the other side x4
To the shadows blue and red, shadows blue and red
Your alarm bells, your alarm bells

Shadows blue and red, shadows blue and red
Your alarm bells, your alarm bells
They should be ringing x12
This is the gloaming

Shadows blue and red
Shadows blue and red
Your alarm bells
Your alarm bells

Shadows blue and red
Shadows blue and red
We’re alarming
We’re alarming

And the walls bend, and the walls bend
With your breathing, with your breathing
And the walls bend, and the walls bend
What is he doin’ what is he doin’

This is the gloaming [Repeat: x 4]
This is the

 

“It is now the witching hour” what does this metaphor evoke for you? How can we think of our current socio/political situation as the witching hour?

Thom Yorke explains that he uses words from news and political programmes to inspire lyrics in Hail To The Thief Album

Call To Action:

Using words picked from an article or piece of news, write a response to the Witching Hour theme. You can either re-use the words in a different context or simply take inspiration from the language you chose to look at – it’s up to you!

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