What does High And Dry mean?

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Radiohead: High And Dry Meaning


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Song Released: 1995

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High And Dry Lyrics

Two jumps in a week
I bet you think that's pretty clever don't you boy?
Flying on your motorcycle,
Watching all the ground beneath you drop
You'd kill yourself for recognition,
Kill yourself to never ever stop
You broke another...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Dec 13th 2019 report

    Not sure what it really means, but it reminds me of the love of my life for 19 years. 25 years of alcoholism changed the most confident, smartest, most but beautiful man into someone who tourured me to a point where i felt it was no longer safe for our 4 year old son to stay in the house. I never stopped loving him, and even though i moved 5 miles away, we remained lovers, and he was still my one true love. He got extreenly sick with pancreatitis and obviously liver damage in 2015. I was taking him to the hispital 2 times a month. They detoxed and medicated him for the pain and told him if he did not stop drinking he would die. I was so happy. Finally he would stop. As a recovering alcoholic, seven years sober, my life goal was to save him. I begged, i pleaded, i dexoxed him and took care of him. He wanted no obe to know. I tried tough love. I told him I couldnt live without him. I would go crazy. I wouldnt be able to care for our son. Dont leave me high and dry. I cant raise him without you.... i will go crazy. He went on a bender and called me at 10 am Christmas eve after a night of texts telling me how bad I sucked, as ge had done every night for years. I just responded, thanks. He kept repeating you dont care about me on the phone as i told him I do, more then anything. Then he started to say cruel things, so i hung up the phone. At 11:45 am I went to Speedway to get a few gift cards for Christmas. Only a mile away, and I didnt take my cell. I hardly ever do, and he knows that. Got back at 12:10 pm, and Had a text from him saying if you dont call me in 5 minutes tell Chaz (our son) its all your fault because you dont care. That was sent at 11:55 am. Called back instantly. No answer. He had been scaring me for months because he wouldnt show up whdn expected, so not long before i smashed a window and broke into his home. He was just on another bender. Told me if i broke in again he would have me arrested. So i just continued to text him through Christmas inving him to come over and stay like he had the last 2 years. Finally I knew he had to work on the 26th. I called work and he hadnt showed up or called. He never missed work without calling. Roger had committed suicide at noon on Christmas Eve. I had to go through Chritmas alone with our son, pretending everything was fine. He left me and our son. I know he loved me. He had no will but left me as the beneficiary of his life insurance. $400,000. I would give every cent away, loose every limb, live in a box, and eat garbage to have him back. Being able to pay my bills is great. I am hadicap because I broke my leg off at work 5 years ago, so I barely leave my home. Everywhere reminds me of him anyways, because he was the love of my life for 19 years. Anyhow, he was an amazing musician and music was his life. Last concert we attended together was Radiohead. So this song touches me intensely.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Feb 15th 2008 report

    The words "don't leave me high & dry" means don't break promises or don't live up to expectations. It's about a person who is either handicapped, old, or sick in bed who yearns for the life he used to live when he was on the top of the world. He took life for granted and the things he did (booze, drugs, sex) damaged his body so bad that he can't talk or have sex. Hence the words: "drowned out in conversation, you'll be the one who cannot talk." Or "you;ll be the one who wishes you could still make love".....This song reminds me of so many washed out celebrities & rockstars who abused their bodies and lost their career and they look back in regret. They leave their fans high & dry because of so many expectations that they never lived up to.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Sep 29th 2010 report

    The song is about the subject losing his identity, selling it for glory and excitement or acceptance by others. The "Don't leave me high, don't leave me dry" line is a reference to his true self or humanity(it is an internal dialog). Although it sounds like a relationship, and it could be implied that there is a reference to sex and drugs, at its core, the song is not about the subject leaving another person or relationship behind--rather more focused on what the loss of the self identity will do to the subject and how all the most beautiful things in life will pass him by. The reference to "they're the one who will spit at you" is a reference to the people he is trying to impress who will ultimately just end up resenting him not being "real" as his internal dialog is telling him to be true to himself. The reference to "not being able to make love" is just a statement of his inability to connect (as he is pretending to be something else). The last lines infer that he has lost his self-identity and it is "the best thing he ever had" but it "has gone away."

  4. anonymous
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    Jul 23rd report

    I read that Radio Head frontman Thom Yorke wrote it. It's about masculine vanity, using Evil Knievel as an example. Kneivel was a daredevil motorcycle stunt man in the 70s and 80s. "two jumps in a week", "flying on your motorcycle," all reference Kneivel's stunts. "You'll kill yourself for recognition," and "all your insides turned to pieces," obviously refers to Kneivel's many injuries. Then when he's unable to perform anymore, he's left high and dry by his fans and that that was the "best thing," that he ever had.

  5. anonymous
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    Sep 3rd 2020 report

    I think its wrote in the fictional realm , from the perspective of a girl who's boyfriend/husband is a motorcycle stunt man evil kanevil type of person , "two jumps in a week I bet you think that's pretty clever dont you boy" shes prob preggars and the song is about priorities , put your bike down you daft bugger ...I agree with her

  6. anonymous
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    Nov 26th 2019 report

    To me it's the non existent tit for tat that men insist can't be achieved in duoplisly satisfying sex. If a woman is able to seek out and enjoy them the same way they physically do we are obviously whorish for performing and enjoying. So basically control and power. I love sex and have been denied the satisfaction by literally any man I tried to enjoy equally. If men were the better species why are you dick heads always trying to take everyone else's good time to feel powerful in ur own damn life!

  7. Adhachi
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    Apr 11th 2019 report

    Lol, your all wrong. Its actually about me!! Ended up at a party in oxford around 92 and Thom and Jonny were also there. Got in a mess and had to leave my bike in some randoms shed, then my mate left me and I woke up the next day on the kitchen floor.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  8. anonymous
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    Sep 12th 2018 report

    It's about taking drugs. Two jumps is two times shooting up. The mirror refers to the drug paraphernalia. When the body is wrecked from drugs you can't make love.

  9. anonymous
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    Oct 4th 2017 report

    Regarding the Eddie Kidd interpretation (Jun 16th 2011). Eddie Kidd also starred in a film entitled "Riding High". Fits

  10. anonymous
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    Mar 10th 2017 report

    Yeah, it's about Evel Knievel and how his family might've felt about all the crazy stunts he was always doing.

  11. anonymous
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    Dec 29th 2016 report

    I dated a guy who had been a rock star in his day and recently fell out of a tree crushing his legs. He had always been cocky and the ladies loved him and never knew what it meant to go without attention. And so it goes without saying - whether its a motorcycle or a fall or drugs or whatever - when one assumes they are invincible and can flirt with danger, always thinking they are the lucky one living on the edge, people are going to fall sooner or later and be humbled. And no this guy couldnt make love and he let it torture him day and night. We are not together anymore because of his pain meds making him crazy and jealous. I was the best thing he ever had - he said it. He is now in a world of fantasy where he flirts with model-types across the world, women he has never met, on social media using his photos from when he was young to lure them in. Its a sad state of affairs that I cannot deal with and I said I would do anything not to leave him. I didnt leave him. He left me. His ego was his biggest handicap, not his crushed legs. This song is his life portrait.

  12. anonymous
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    May 10th 2016 report

    It seems to me that this song is about the emotional and physical pain addiction to things like drugs and alcohol can put you through. It's highlighted in the lyrics 'Drying out in conversation,you will be the one who cannot talk' explaining that the person cannot remember how to converse with other people(because of their addiction).'All your insides fall to pieces,' showing the internal damage to the body the addiction causes.'You just sit there wishing you could still make love' implies that he/she was in a relationship that ended because of he/she's addiction.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  13. anonymous
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    Apr 9th 2016 report

    To me, this song has helped put words to some of the losses I have have and ignite the tears that make it possible to move through the grief.

    People chasing things they believe they want/need only to later realize they don't fulfill and break their value and moral code to obtain them. I see the lyrics "you broke another mirror, turning into something you are not as what the psychological world calls splitting, and as we create our own "false idols" of ourselves, as we want the world to see us, flawless, great, special, powerful, skillfull, etc, we get to a point where we feel we can't live up to this false self, and we as Duran Duran put it, "come undone".

    And during this journey the people in our lives suffer because we've put the "rise of our false self" before the needs and feelings of others and they abandon us as we've abandoned our "true self".

    That lyric "All your insides fall to pieces and you just sit there wishing you could still make love" has helped me during being left by someone i was emotionally unavailable to because i was scared to be me, the real me i knew and believed i had to hide because of shame, the whole while focusing on being acceptible to others by losing my identity being a "Cool Camiellioen".

    I am grateful to know this song as it again has helped me put words to what i was going through when i couldn't because of all the overwhelmingly blinding emotions I was experiencing.

  14. anonymous
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    Dec 3rd 2012 report

    'Jump' is British English slang for sexual intercourse. I'm a Brit and I say it.

  15. anonymous
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    Sep 15th 2011 report

    I was in a relationship that was all about drugs where i felt good while on drugs but bad and depressed when off them, i stopped visiting friends and family just focused my love on her and the relationship. but since she left me i feel as bad either if im high or dry. it was an illusion that the relationship was any good but it was the best thing that i ever had but now its gone away and im a changed man after. I feel when i listen to this song that ive been left high and dry and tom experienced something similar to this when he wrote this cuz the drugs dont work anymore, nothing does i just feel left alone (and its my fault).

  16. anonymous
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    Jun 16th 2011 report

    intersting to read about Evel Knievel. when i first heard this i immediately thought of Eddie Kidd who was left paralysed by a motorcycle jump in 1996. Eddie was very handsome and was loved by the ladies and i can imagine him 'wishing he could still make love'.
    I know it's a bit obvious with the '2 jumps in a week', 'watching all the ground beneath you drop'but it seems to fit with Eddie.

  17. anonymous
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    Apr 16th 2011 report

    I think Thom's simply singing about someone overcome with either drink or drugs. The title says it all 'High and Dry'.

  18. anonymous
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    Feb 16th 2011 report

    It's about yourself...and your relationship with yourself...and how you do something because you were feeling stranded..and so you take action, and that leads to good things...so you accept these 'good things' and believe you deserve them...maybe you even have some support re: these 'good things'. Then, you might have to do something you don't like, to continue these 'good things', but think of it as a compromise...might contribute to your 'moral burn out'. But you continue..because it's worth it (or is it?). Everything has a sacrafice...doesn't it?
    You avoid conversation with some...because you might not be able to justify yourself...did you sell out?
    Don't leave yourself high...and dry...

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