I think this song is about PROJECTION. A lost soul with serious identifty confusion. He has been in a relatiionship with a woman and probably tried very hard and long to fit in this role of the Fake relationship with her. He doesn't know who he is or what he wants. He is projecting his confused state back onto the world. He needs to see the world as Fake Plastic Trees in his tormented mind so that he has a place to fit into until he figures it all out. It is he who is the Fake Plastic Tree trying to figure it all out. He is identifying with the superficial fake world out there without actually stepping up or stepping out.
An Interpretation | Reviewer: Anonymous | 6/10/10
Verse 1 tells about a girl and her fake plants. The towns 'fake rubber plans' are a metaphor for plans to replace the real features of the town with bigger/better artificial rubber ones. All the pretending wears her out.
Verse 2 introduces a relation of the girls. The plastic surgeon. Gravity always wins (the plastic solution isn't permanent nor real). It wears him out.
Verse 3 is the singers lament about their relationship --- its like a real relationship, but he can't help but he and it are completely fake (he relates himself to an inflatible that could blow through the ceiling if he turned and ran). It wears him out.
In the fade-out verse the singer wishes he could fulfill his plastic role more consistently.
The Futility of an Affair With a married Woman | Reviewer: R Keywest | 6/5/10
This song is about an affair with a married woman, one who is probably older and more "established" than he is. Their brief trysts provide moments of clarity and reality, but then she returns to the artifices of her day-to-day life and leaves the artist alone in contemplation. He recognizes the inescapable pull ("gravity")that her more mainstream life exerts on her and the impossibilty of him being enough for her to leave it, for he could never fulfill that more superficial, social role and still remain true to what he is and why she escapes that life to be with him. What he is and what her husband is are antithetical and he knows it, hence the frustration he feels in trying to be everything to her and the realization that he will always have to settle for only these brief moments with her.
3 players | Reviewer: Kehden
There are 3 players involved in this song.
Verse 1 is the tired and worn out girl going through the motions.
Verse 2 is the previously successful, boring, long-term relationship guy.
Verse 3 is the new guy who sees the folly of V1 and V2's relationship and wants her to break away.
Verse 3 wants Verse 1 all to himself and feels all of them will stop the fruitless and meaningless folly of their current existences.
Only when Verse 1 breaks with Verse 2 and breaks through the ceiling with Verse 3 will they all be re-born and start life again with the same hopes and aspirations they had when their relationships began.
Always starting with the best of intentions, but if not constantly reaffirming love and passion, they will crumble and burn and you don't even notice it's happening.
Incredible | Reviewer: Jo
thom yorke is utterly amazing at conveying his emotion through his tone and lyrics. when the song breaks out, you can just feel the frustration and anger in his voice. every time i hear it my hairs stand on end. love it.
I feel that this song expresses the fact that everything is "fake." we think something is one thing but it turns out to be another. this is made clear by the line"if i could be who wanted.." which to me means that people aren't themselves anymore they are just fake and defined by what they have phsically and by how much they love or feel
untitled? | Reviewer: QueenoftheFreaks | 5/16/10
"He used to do surgery/For girls in the eighties/But gravity always wins."
I always thought that bit was about a retired plastic surgeon, and the girls he worked on still look old now, because gravity still makes things sag, no matter how many boobjobs or facelifts you get.
Reflection | Reviewer: Paws
For me, this song reflects the futility and materialism of modern everyday life, everyone is a cog on the wheel, a part of the machine that is society. The cogs that do not mesh are removed and repaired duely. This song is about taking a step back and really seeing what everything is - fake. Nobody is really happy with their lives. Sure, some of them are satisfied with it, but it wears you down that so very few people get what it is they really want. And thats because until you find it, you never really know what that is. Relationships to some become an ends to a means, fucking for salvation, or damnation. It doesn't really matter what. Just for something. Its not really about anyone in particular, its about everyone.
Anonymous | Reviewer: Anonymous | 4/28/10
I've always thought of this song as being about a child's parents (her and him) being in a "fake" relationship, perhaps due to the child. The child is the singer who realizes that the situation is tiresome to the family and thinks about ending it (running away).
you're all right | Reviewer: eco | 4/8/10
The genius of Radiohead and Thom Yorke is that the lyrics are layered in a way that allows all of us to interpret them in a way meaningful to each of us. And, by the way, there's a very specific reference to Coca-Cola in the song. Can you find it? (Hint: "the real thing" is not all of it.)
If I could be who you wanted... | Reviewer: Anonymous | 4/7/10
I can't stop listening to this song lately.
I think it's about living a life you don't feel. You go from day to day and nothing changes, even the real things start to feel artificial. It's about how exhausting it is to try and stay positive and interested when you've realized how futile everything is.
"gravity always wins" is a comment on the the finite quality of life, it ends.
"I can't help the feeling I could blow through the ceiling" refers to those moments when we think life is worth it, the moments we catch ourself in happiness, or sadness and feel unqiue, like the world will remember us when we're gone.
"If I could be who you wanted..." that line kills me. It's said to oneself, like if we could be the person we want to be, positve and alive etc, if we could live just those moments all the time it would all be worth it, but liike he's said, gravity always wins. We come down again.
Nothing to do with mother earth... | Reviewer: Marco | 3/23/10
It's obvious Loopi and Etienne are right.
Mother earth is pretty farfetched and doesnt fit in with the last part of the lyrics.
Don't worry Loopi, ur english is good enough for the internet ;)
Love radiohead. Love their lyrics. Love their music.
It wears him out | Reviewer: Anonymous | 2/27/10
Beautiful lyrics about how fake everything is man! It's like, even the rubber tree is fake! Get it? The thing that makes fake IS fake! How fake is that?!!
And the Girl is fake too. She doesn't understand. How the whole thing wears her out.
And that wears THOM YORKE out!!
Even Thom is tired! He's worn out too! But he won't let capitol records fake him out with Bob Clearmountains fake horns!!
what it means to me | Reviewer: Anonymous | 1/28/10
this song is about the earth/mother nature.
It talks abt how we keep on abusing nature , we ve started planting fake chemically-boosted hybrid plants, feeding them with water from fake PLASTIC cans ....embedded in fake soil filled with chemicals...
and it wears "her" [mother nature] out ...
I presume the singer goes on to say how plastic our lives have become ...and even though man is a slave of plastic surgery...nature will always win
"but gravity always wins" is the most beautiful line.
The song also talks abt the relationship between mother nature and man..
she lives with a broken man..a cracked polystyrene man
basically its our shortcoming in protecting and respecting earth..the song takes pity on HER because she has to live with a plastic mankind.
And i wish we could be what nature deserves, better humans...
the singer here just exclaims that what IF we could be ..and what a difference it could make
Real Organic Tree | Reviewer: vicente
someone once told me this whole LP was pure nonsense and everyone could notice by looking deeply. this music simply proves to me that he was wrong. a music incredibly pure and meaningful like this can't be nonsense, at least for me. Thank you Radiohead!