What does How To Disappear Completely mean?

Radiohead: How To Disappear Completely Meaning

Album cover for How To Disappear Completely album cover

How To Disappear Completely Lyrics

That there, that's not me
I go where I please
I walk through walls
I float down the Liffey

I'm not here
This isn't happening
I'm not here, I'm not here

In a little while
I'll be gone
The moment's already passed
Yeah, it's...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Aug 31st 2011 !⃝

    This song is about dissociation. Thom is on "automatic pilot", performing, doing what he has to do but he is distancing himself from it all. In his head, he's anywhere he chooses to be, "walking through walls", "floating down the Liffey". etc. He goes from place to place, (probably flying internationally and traveling with the band, going from one place to another on tour), and 'in a little while, i'll be gone, the moment's already past, yeah, it's gone." "Strobe lights and blown speakers, refers to the set-up, sound stagings and light shows that accompany Radiohead performances. "Fireworks and hurricanes", refers to the crowds, fans and excitement in the huge venues they play around the world. "I'm not here, this isn't happening" expresses his dissociation from it all. It feels like a dream...Even he can't quite believe it's real and sometimes wishes he could "disappear completely"...

  2. anonymous
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    Mar 17th 2021 !⃝

    I don't know what its true meaning is, but this song really resonates with me. I think I have depression, and I have some family issues going on. I spend most of my free time escaping from reality with music ("I'm not here, this isn't happening,"). The strings at the end also sound like my mind sometimes, when I can't control my sadness.
    This is just what the song means to me, though

  3. anonymous
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    Jul 4th 2020 !⃝

    My 16 year old son died in his sleep. We still don’t know what happened. For me, it is my sentiments that I can’t believe this happened and wishing it away. Denial. Some events are just too much to process.

  4. anonymous
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    Oct 24th 2017 !⃝

    I always felt like it is about someone who has just died but the shock factor is still present...and he's going back and forth between denial and the newness of being able to do anything without the physical constraints of gravity or time. It feels to me that it's about loss but at the same time about absolutely no restraints and a new unimaginable beauty.

    It always haunts me to hear it...but it's just so beautiful and surreal that it is almost my favorite song of all time.

    There is a video on you tube with old (and authentic) pictures of people sometimes being positioned with live family members. It evidently was fairly common although it seems pretty macabre to us now. The music in the background is this song. It's quite sad, especially with photos of small children who have recently died.

    If you get a chance, it's worth looking for. I'm sorry that I don't know the name but the song with you this video pretty much supports what I always interpreted it to mean.

  5. anonymous
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    Oct 21st 2014 !⃝

    I think this song has more meaning than meets the eye. My interpretation is that someones upset with what they've been going through and just wants to wish it all away.

  6. anonymous
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    Sep 25th 2013 !⃝

    I think it is about how you feel after you die.

  7. anonymous
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    Aug 26th 2012 !⃝

    I think this song is about a man who is about to be in an innevitable and fatal disaster and is trying not to believe or give in to his fear by repeating "I'm not here" and "This isn't happening" to convice himself that he is not going to die soon despite saying "In a little while, I'll be gone" and "the moment's already past" to save himself.
    The lyrics say "I go where I please, I walk through walls, I float down the Liffey" showing that he is trying to convince himself that he is somewhere else.
    Near the end of the song there is a lot of background noises which I believe is the approaching and nearby chaos caused by the dissaster and soon after this it suddenly stops signifying the point when the man is finally able to convince himself that "This isn't happening" and shuts out the disaster from his mind. So his last moments are of happiness and therefore he dies a happy man.

  8. anonymous
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    Feb 2nd 2012 !⃝

    This song to me was the way my father felt when dying of brain cancer

  9. anonymous
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    Feb 6th 2011 !⃝

    "I'm not here/This isn't happening"
    i think the song is talking about escaping/running away from whatever wrong that has been happening. Whenever you feel bad about something,you need to detach yourself from it and have a belief that it isn't happening

    "Strobe lights and blown speakers/Fireworks and hurricanes"
    By these words it is implied of all the hustle and bustle caused due to a problem happening around you. The song is all about running away.

  10. humalien
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    Nov 25th 2008 !⃝

    I have seen Thom Yorke say in an interview that "HE" - the First person is a star that in reality is already extinguished but since it takes light years to get to us ( to be visible to us) . " I go where I please"

  11. whitewitch
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    Oct 25th 2005 !⃝

    "I'm not here, this isn't really happening".

    When feeling depressed, these are the words Thom Yorke uses to feel detached from the world, as advised by his friend Michael Stipe. The songs lyrics seem to be built around this concept of escape.

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