What does A Wolf at the Door mean?

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Radiohead: A Wolf at the Door Meaning


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A Wolf at the Door Lyrics

Drag him out your window
Dragging out the dead
Singing I miss you
Snakes and ladders flip the lid
Out pops the cracker
Smacks you in the head
Knifes you in the neck
Kicks you in the teeth
Steel toe caps
Takes all your credit cards


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Aug 31st 2011 report

    No one taking a stab at interpreting this? Well I read somewhere that years ago Thom was assaulted so maybe that accounts for the "kicks you in the teeth, steel toe caps, takes all your credit cards"... "Dance you fucker" might be a reference to the movie "Goodfellas" with the "mafia justice". "Take it with the love it's given" is sarcasm directed at being beaten up, as is "Take it with a pinch of salt". It means just "man up" and accept you got the shit beat out of you. "Let me back...I promise to be good, don't look in the mirror at the face you don't recognize" is Thom asking for a return to normality after experiencing trauma. Ultimately though, he finds the experience too much to handle and pleads, "Help me, call the doctor, put me inside" He wants to be protected and shielded.

    The wolf at the door refers to the personal information the mugger obtained when Thom was accosted and beat up. The guy is calling him and threatening and terrorizing him in reality, or it could just be Thom having a dark dream about this possibility...

    I don't have an explanation for the giant cranes and x-ray eyes. I did read an interpretation of that somewhere which seemed plausible but it escapes me at the moment...

    Stepford wives, cold wives and mistresses, etc. and investments and dealers refers to the business side of the music industry. Emotion is lost, wives and mistresses are beautiful (it's a facade like the Stepford wives)and cold and with all the money there's investments and dealers to deal with...

    City boys in First Class (don't know they're born little) is a reference to big-shot politicians. They make a mess and someone else always comes and cleans it up.

    "I wish you'd get up, get over, and turn the tape off", means Thom is sick of hearing rhetoric.

  2. anonymous
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    Nov 9th 2014 report

    I'm guessing it's about how we are ruled by rich corporations and having an affect our on lives. This family has had to borrow and borrow until the banks want it back. When they get some of it back they're being reckless with it, but when you miss an installment the wolves (bailiffs) will take your belongings away. As long as the rich stay rich they will not care and the wolves will keep preying

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  3. Ame
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    May 21st 2012 report

    It should be noted that the opening riff(that also continues throughout the song) is meant as an homage to The Beatles' I Want You(She's So Heavy). I doubt that means anything, but still.
    I always took it to represent someone being kind of crazed from all of the little(and sometimes not so little) frustrations and ugliness of life, largely because of the agitated and angry way it's sung.

  4. anonymous
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    Nov 21st 2011 report

    Adding to what you have wrote i think what it means by Cranes and x-ray eyes is Some one is watching him and everything he is doing in his own home, or It might mean some one can see through his own personal emotions like they can see how he feels on the inside. He may be putting on a brave face but actually is scared inside. I think the cranes is some one in high place is watching over him maybe someone in power like record company or summit. He could be talking about how summit to do with the music industry is given him a kick in the teeth or could of got screwed over and cant do anything about it???? i dunno.

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