What does House of Cards mean?

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Radiohead: House of Cards Meaning

Tagged: Sex [suggest]

Song Released: 2008


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House of Cards Lyrics

I don't wanna be your friend
I just wanna be your lover
No matter how it ends
No matter how it starts

Forget about your house of cards
And I'll do mine
Forget about your house of cards
And I'll do mine

Fall off the table,
And get...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    #1 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
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    Jul 3rd 2012 report

    The 'house of cards' is the life we all struggle to build(house, job, marriage, kids, car, possessions), a tedious and unstable fantasy of stability on the verge of collapse. The cards falling off the table that get swept under represents the life in society we build which is so meaningless that it is not rebuilt when it comes down, but rather is replaced by a new 'house of cards' built by someone eager to have their good times and unwilling to face the meaningless cycle that we all go through. We build something temporary for glory, and when it is gone, it's not remembered. 

    'The infrastructure will collapse from voltage spikes' is pretty straight forward. All that we have built, this magnificent technology based world will be it's own undoing. 


    'throw your keys in the bowl, kiss your husband goodnight.' is an image of the comfortable life we lead, the routine we fall into and perhaps a word of advice from mr. Yorke to enjoy it while it lasts.
    'Denial, your ears should be burning'
    Is saying: we are all too comfortable to face the reality of the havoc our existence causes the world. And that last line is simply saying thay 'you' i.e. The listener or anyone and everyone is guilty of playing a part in the unstable world we have built and it's inevitable collapse or, even worse, our plunge into hidden slavery.

    ~daniel byington

  2. 2TOP RATED

    #2 top rated interpretation:
    Bobbarita
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    Aug 30th 2011 report

    This is a song about a guy who wants to make love to a woman he's knows, but they're both committed to other people (she is married), but they are still attracted to each other. He doesn't want a heavy relationship, he just likes her and wants to get laid. He urges her to "forget about your house of cards" and he'll do likewise. He is fantasizing about her as they trade normal conversation, and he would like their everyday interaction to be upended, to stop playing a game and "fall off the table", "get swept under" with passion. "Denial, denial", you know you want it, you're just denying the attraction. "Everything will collapse", their will be the electricity of illicit sexual union. "Throw your keys in the bowl" means give it up and stay awhile. "Kiss your husband 'good night'" symbolically means, say good-bye to hubby while we come together. "Your ears are burning, should be burning..." refers to the fact that they consummated the relationship and now he's written a song and singing about it.

  3. 3TOP RATED

    #3 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 24th 2010 report

    I think that this song is about a guy who is in love with a girl whos been in a relationship for a long time either a marriage or just a longtime boyfriend)
    The girls relationship is falling apart (house of cards; falling off the table, get swept under; The infrastructure will collapse, from voltage spikes)
    Every day and night its just the same routine (Throw your keys in the bowl, kiss your husband goodnight)
    He wants the girl to get out of the relationship and be with him. (forget about your house of cards and i'll do mine)

  4. anonymous
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    May 14th report

    The line about throwing your keys in the bowl reminds me of the film 'Winter Storm'. Might explain the line about voltage too...

  5. anonymous
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    Mar 6th 2020 report

    People that attend swingers parties...

    Will leave feeling like they have had a fun time....but deep inside they feel a deep sense of Denial.

    This song is social commentary about "sleeping around".

  6. anonymous
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    Mar 6th 2020 report

    I feel like it is about "Swingers Parties" - people go there to party and have a good time, and forget about their house of cards... but they are just all in denial.

    Swinging won't make you happy...

    it will cause destruction...
    and everyone at swingers parties are just in denial about the fact that - its all just collapsing...

    The song is a social comment - on how messed up swingers parties are (and will leave you). It's a picture of the scene and the under tows and emotions that are buried for humans that participate.

    That's what i reckon!

  7. anonymous
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    Oct 17th 2018 report

    He is fascinated by her and wants to fuck her. They are both in perfunctory, long-term relationships - he doesn't want to leave his but is ready to let his 'house of cards' collapse to consummate his feelings for her. She has already reduced his strong foundation to this, and he now wants to be swept away by the passion of an affair, but this and nothing more; he 'just' wants to be her lover. He is asking her to escape into fantasy with him, to take hidden shelter temporary from the droll, staid nature of his real relationship.

  8. anonymous
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    Jun 13th 2017 report

    It's about Swinging. End of.

  9. anonymous
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    Jun 9th 2017 report

    I was in a crumbling relationship of 11 years, which eventually turned into an open relationship with each other meeting people online and in coffee shops and theaters for"hook ups" then coming home to put your keys in a bowl and kissing each other 'good night.' In the end, we had "the talk" of its over and everything became cold and our house of cards quietly fell down. At this time, this song was released and became the anthem of our story. We still talk, hug each other when we're sad, and even though We've moved on... this is our story.

  10. anonymous
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    May 18th 2017 report

    Two people are attracted, but stuck in lives they are no longer passionnate about. Should they stick to denial and continue as usual, or can they face truth and the consequences, major shake ups ?

  11. anonymous
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    Oct 29th 2013 report

    I think this song depicts that type of unsure nature towards love towards the beginning.as the song starts at a mellow tone but as your get further in it gives of the feeling of just let things flow , is what i interpretated from "throw your keys in bowl ". Also when the later chorus begins "forget about.... And i'll do mine ". Saying they just both embrace and try to force anything.

  12. anonymous
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    Aug 8th 2012 report

    This Song is probably about a man ( it might be about Thom, or not) who is friend-zoned by the married woman he is attracted to. He wishes to have an affair with her, and is letting her know." Forget about your house of cards" probably means forget or ignore your current relationship and come have a relationship with me. "Infrastructure will collapse from voltage spikes" probably means that once they get involved, everything will change. I know many people who keep a bowl for keys and other things in the doorway for quick access, so"throw your keys in the bowl, kiss your husband goodnight" may mean that she and he did indeed have an affair, and she got home late.. Now she's in denial, "your ears are burning" she's feeling guilty.

  13. anonymous
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    Jun 27th 2012 report

    of course it is about swinging. "I dont wanna be your friend, i just wanna be your lover" - Widely misinterpreted on the net it means exactly as it reads, it is just read wrong - i JUST wanna..

    no matter how it ends/starts - i dont give a fuck, just open up your legs bitch

    forget about your house of cards and i'll deal mine - literal - fuck your shit, this is how it happnin

    Throw ur keys in the bowl, kiss ur husband goodnight - the bowl is where the swinging women picks the car keys of the anonymous man she has to fuck

  14. anonymous
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    Dec 26th 2011 report

    One of my favorites, for very obvious reasons....but most all are right on, after all, it is fairly straight froward. But while the "throw your keys in the bowl" line does reference those swinger/ "key parties" of our hippy parents generation, in this case I think it is just, again, a suggestion of an affair. "Denial, denial" is not so much about deneying their attraction I think, as it is reffering to the fact that while yes, these folks are in troubled marriages, they are in denial to think that having an affair will make anything better. I could go on and on, however, I would rather just go listen to music right now -_-

  15. anonymous
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    Oct 3rd 2011 report

    Forget about the life you have built (The house of Cards) and I'll forget about mine. We can just throw away everything and have sex. Yeah, a swingers party seems real likely here.

  16. anonymous
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    Apr 7th 2011 report

    I was just listening to this and I thought it was about someone just getting into the swinger scene..

  17. anonymous
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    Oct 11th 2010 report

    Swingers party, (throw your keys in the bowl)
    voltage will spike - gets electrocuted

    its from a movie


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