What does Kid A mean?

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Radiohead: Kid A Meaning

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Kid A Lyrics


RADIOHEAD LYRICS

"Kid A"

I slipped away
I slipped on a little white lie

We got heads on sticks
You got ventriloquists
We got heads on sticks
You got ventriloquists

Standing in the shadows at the end of my bed [x4]

Rats and...

  1. anonymous
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    Oct 16th 2011 report

    The lyrics for this album were drawn randomly from a hat, so none of the song lyrics (with the exception of How to Disappear Completely) have any real meaning; they are entirely abstract. Yorke has dismissed claims that the Kid A lyrics have anything to do with the first human clone for this very reason.

    Because of the nature of the lyrics from Kid A, individual lines probably have a unique meaning of their own; the line "We've got heads on sticks / You've got ventriloquists" was probably inspired by the famous 16th Century ventriloquist Elizabeth Barton, who was beheaded and had her head ironically skewered onto a stick after warning King Henry VIII against his impending marriage to Anne Boleyn.

  2. anonymous
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    Jul 29th 2011 report

    It definitely has an element of the pied piper in it. But how it ties in with the theme of the album I dont know.

  3. anonymous
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    Jul 26th 2010 report

    The lyrics to Kid A have been described as 'incomprehensible' and 'nonsensical'. There is an element of truth in both of these accusations. In several of the songs, Thom's voice has been distorted by computer (probably in ProTools), making the lyrics difficult to hear in several places. This distortion is not merely for the sake of it, but serves to blur the lines between voice and instrument, between human and machine, between analogue and digital. The fact that the lyrics have never been published doesn't help.

    Some of the songs also sound lyrically somewhat random. Thom has said several times in interviews that he was having problem in writing words to songs during the period between OK Computer and Kid A. To get round this problem, he took snatches of lyrics (mostly single lines), put them in a hat, and drew them out at random when the band were rehearsing the songs. This adds to the odd atmosphere of certain songs (Everything In Its Right Place, Idioteque, Morning Bell), but also to our difficulty in understanding them. It is unlikely, however, that lyrics would be left in the final product unless they fitted in with the overall theme of the song. There is method in this madness. Thom also seems to find some gratification in a literary precedent for this style of writing, as it is not unlike the 'exquisite corpse' poetry of Tristan Tzara and the Dadaists, and TS Eliot's The Wasteland.

    A more musical point of reference for the album is Talking Heads' Remain in Light. Colin had this to say about Kid A: "We hope the album is a piece a work that works from beginning to end, reflects the music we were listening to, and how we were working together during the recording process."

    The album is partly about ' the generation that will inherit the earth when we've wiped evrything (sic) out'. This fits in with the idea of Kid A as the first human clone. Thom also talked about 'a lot of apocalyptic imagery. I couldn't get rid of it, so I put it on the album'. We could argue, pretentiously, that this makes Kid A a classic 'fin de siecle' work. It is filled with images of disintegration and decay: of communication, of ethics, of society itself.

    There is also a strong political element. The band's interest in politics is well known. Kid A deals with Thom's despair at the way globalization is destroying the world, particularly the developing world, and also his feelings of disappointment at the current Labour government in the UK. Thom has cited Gorge Orwell's novel 1984 as an influence on the album. There will be much more of this in the next album, especially in songs such as 'You and Whose Army?', 'Dollars and Cents'. A recent live version of 'Follow Me Around' also expresses disappointment in the performance of the Government (see unreleased songs page) .

    The 'hidden' booklet in the first pressings of Kid A created some controversy in the UK press for its unabashed caricature and criticism of the current government. It contain a grinning anti-christlike cartoon of Tony Blair, accompanied by the lines, "He'll take the money from under your nose. He'll tell you all you want to hear. He paints himself reflective white to reflect the blast when it comes. He will take your children and he'll break your homes. He will tell you how hard he is trying, but we're all in the market now. He says he wants to be our friend. He says he's always been on our side. Tough choices with difficult decisions that you really wouldn't understand". The dedication of the album 'to Leo' is probably to Phil's baby son, however, not the Prime Minister's.

    Thom has described the hidden booklet as an exercise by Stanley and himself to put down on paper a lot of the thoughts and ideas that were going around in their heads in the year up to the completion of Kid A. He also claims an influence from TS Eliot's 'The Wasteland'. The style of the booklet - and even more so, the poster for the Kid A tour - with its use of a wide variety of fonts, is reminiscent of Victorian circus posters. Perhaps Stanley was thinking in particular of the poster that influenced the Beatles song, 'Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite'.

    According to Ed, the best time to listen to Kid A is at about four or five in the morning, after a 'banging night out'.

  4. anonymous
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    Jul 26th 2010 report

    This song lyrics was not written by Radiohead. Thom Yorke (a man convinced in the existence of a human clone kept secret), who wrote all the lyrics, explained this by saying the words could not be considered separately from the music. He said he used a vocal manipulation to distance himself from the title track's "brutal and horrible" subject matter, which he could not have sung otherwise. For at least some of the lyrics, Yorke cut up words and phrases and drew them from a hat. Therefore, this song is talking about the clone called Kid A.

  5. anonymous
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    Jul 26th 2010 report

    I'm not so sure about the lyric's meanings myself, but I'll have a go at guessing: For "we've got heads on sticks, you've got ventriloquists" means, basically, that "we" have puppets (heads on sticks), and "you" have someone/something to control them (ventriloquists). "Standing in the shadows at the end of my bed" is probably the lured out creatures, and "the rats and children follow me out of town" is the piper piping the rats and children and lure them out of town and their homes. "Come on kids" could mean the same thing. But now that I thought the meanings over, they're quite creepy. I won't be able to sleep tonight!

  6. anonymous
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    Jul 26th 2010 report

    I'm not so sure about the lyric's meanings myself, but I'll have a go at guessing: For "we've got heads on sticks, you've got ventriloquists" means, basically, that "we" have puppets (heads on sticks), and "you" have someone/something to control them (ventriloquists). "Standing in the shadows at the end of my bed" is probably the lured out creatures, and "the rats and children follow me out of town" is the piper piping the rats and children and lure them out of town and their homes. "Come on kids" could mean the same thing. But now that I thought the meanings over, they're quite creepy. I won't be able to sleep tonight!

  7. anonymous
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    Aug 31st 2009 report

    Actually, Kid A has nothing to do with Kid A in Alphabet Land. Many agree that it is about a clone, (not just the song, but the album in general)but the song seems to focus more on such topics as fear, power and corruption.
    One way of interperting this song, is to look at the whole album as a story of the life of "Kid A" the clone. This song can be seen as the "birth" (artificially) of Kid A, in fact, in the final seconds of the song you can hear what seems to be the wail of a baby (Kid A).
    Despite this, Thom Yorke always denies that they had a specific story in mind.

  8. anonymous
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    Jun 30th 2009 report

    I'm pretty sure this song is about the Pied Piper of Hamelin. It talks about using puppets and luring the kids and rats out of town which is what the Pied Piper did also.

  9. anonymous
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    Jun 9th 2007 report

    I've heard that Kid A is meant to be about the first clone of a child and being kept a secret from the public as its immoral to clone a dead child or anyone for that matter. Thom Yorke is convinced it exists . I have also heard that its based of Kid a in alphabet land which is some weird type of cards that recite poems and theories. The song Kid A may be about a project with Carl Steadman about the work of Jacques Lacan (who was a famous French psychoanalytic theorist) entitled "Kid A in Alphabet Land. Personally I prefer the top one.

  10. anonymous
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    Apr 30th 2007 report

    It has been said that most of the lyrics on the album Kid A were drawn randomly from a top hat. So, to try to interpret these lyrics is simply a futile attempt.. Radiohead wants you to interpret the music.

  11. anonymous
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    Feb 15th 2007 report

    the last lines about come on rats and kids is a reference to the pied piper. a city has a major rat problem, and a piper offers to take care of it. The king says okay, not believing that he can fix the problem, and when he leads all of the rats out of the city, everyone is happy, but the king won't pay up. The piper plays a different tune and leads the children out of the city, to be sold into slavery for his bill.

  12. ramone
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    Sep 1st 2006 report

    He says come on kids... He must be a pedophile

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  13. anonymous
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    Feb 21st 2006 report

    Is this master piece is more of a sory being told by the
    music instead of the lyrics being:

    I slipped away
    I slipped on a little white lie

    We got heads on sticks
    You got ventriloquists
    We got heads on sticks
    You got ventriloquists

    Standing in the shadows at the end of my bed [x4]

    Rats and children follow me out of town
    Rats and children follow me out of town
    Come on kids...

    That pretty much will only Make to Mr. Yorke
    but the lullaby baby like sounds
    and the baby crying repusent the birth of KID A
    who is the first child born after the apocolypse


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