What does On The Radio mean?

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Regina Spektor: On The Radio Meaning

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Song Released: 2006


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On The Radio Lyrics

This is how it works
It feels a little worse
Than when we drove our hearse
Right through that screaming crowd
While laughing up a storm
Until we were just bone
Until it got so warm
That none of us could sleep
And all the styrofoam
Began...

  1. anonymous
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    Oct 25th report

    Here are my interpretations in parenthesis next to the original lyrics. I first heard the version played at the end of the Netflix "Sex Education" soundtrack by Chip Taylor. I've listened to this haunting, enchanting version of the song looping it over and over until I had the aha moments of meaning and interpretation below.

    This is how it works (1/3 How life works: It's a downward spiral through Climate Change, Prophetic Covid type things, and loss)
    It feels a little worse (Feeling worse and worse as we live through climate change controversy to no avail)
    Than when we drove our hearse
    Right through that screaming crowd
    While laughing up a storm (While laughing in denial as hurricanes ensue)
    Until we were just bone (Till crops failed and we starved to the bone)
    Until it got so warm
    That none of us could sleep (Global warming made it hard to sleep)
    And all the Styrofoam
    Began to melt away (Our pollutions weren't melting away fast enough)
    We tried to find some worms
    To aid in the decay
    But none of them were home
    Inside their catacomb (Our pollution already killed the species of worm that could help)
    A million ancient bees (Instead we were exposed to remote and unchecked threats. Covid is an example.)
    Began to sting our knees
    While we were on our knees
    Praying that disease (In the end we were left trying to fight off disease in a broken planet)
    Would leave the ones we love
    And never come again (End of "This is how it works" part 1/3)

    On the radio (I'm unsure about this chorus but that may actually be the point. Uncertainty plays on in a loop.)
    We heard November Rain (Near the end of the year, or end of life, in the cold and rain.)
    That solo's really long
    But it's a pretty song (There are some nice things to think on and consider)
    We listened to it twice (What else is there? What comes next. We are stuck with life the way it is.)
    'Cause the DJ was asleep (Things are out of our control. Is God watching and working or is he asleep?)

    This is how it works (2/3 How life works: Life is just changes that everyone goes through)
    You're young until you're not
    You love until you don't
    You try until you can't
    You laugh until you cry
    You cry until you laugh
    And everyone must breathe
    Until their dying breath

    No, this is how it works (3/3 How life works: Life is about finding and giving love.)
    You peer inside yourself
    You take the things you like
    And try to love the things you took (finding Love)
    And then you take that love you made
    And stick it into some (giving love)
    Someone else's heart
    Pumping someone else's blood
    And walking arm in arm (celebrating love)
    You hope it don't get harmed
    But even if it does
    You'll just do it all again (proclaiming and championing love)

  2. anonymous
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    May 23rd 2014 report

    This first passage in this song is about the end of the world.
    The first verse is about human being driving a verse into a screaming crowd. meaning taking their own self I destructive forces into the screaming crowd (earth) and "laughing up a storm" meaning having a good time without thinking of the consequences. The next line I think refers to climate change, Styrofoam melting away, polar ice caps. Then, she speculates about the future-tried to find some worms to aid in the decay, people searching through wormhole s, to find another liveable planet "none of them were home, inside their catacomb" -humans were unsuccessful ancient bees/sting our knees, I think means reaping the consequences of the planet's destruction, and how at the end of the world, all we could hope for is that our loved ones are OK, because in the end that's what we'll think about and what matters to us all in the end. We're all destined to die, so while we live, we should love ourselves and each other.

  3. anonymous
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    May 30th 2012 report

    I was walking through a graveyard listening to this song on my iPod and that's when the full meaning of the song hit me full bore. It's sung from the vantage point of a corpse in the ground, I presume giving advice to the living.

    The opening sets it up. Riding a hears through a crowd. A decaying face goes into a smile until it's all bone. Trying to find worms to aid in the decay.

    Now here's the cool part. The radio, the only sound heard from six feet under is a stormy rain.

    The rest of the song is telling the listener about what's really important. Loving yourself. And passing that love on either through children, or a song.

  4. anonymous
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    Feb 1st 2012 report

    I think this song is about discovering what life is all about. Listening to the radio it can sound like the world is all about the tragedies that happen; they all sound random and chaotic. This is the first verse.

    The second verse is closer to what matters to a person. But it focuses on an objective viewpoint (something the media does all too well). This makes life and love seem like aimless cycles of the same.

    The chorus, which is all the way through, backs this up. November Rain is all about repetition - in lyrics and content - "But lovers always come and lovers always go" and the end: "You're not the only one"

    By the final verse we see a progression from the world or even the objective, to the personal - which is all that ever can be meaningful to the individual. And only through being willing to love and to be loved can we find meaning. This acceptance lets us accept the cycle and move on.

    "You'll just do it all again" at the end suddenly doesn't seem so bad. Nor does November Rain. Even if it is played twice

  5. anonymous
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    Sep 30th 2011 report

    i agree with everyone else on the second verse but the whole "a million ancient bees began to sting are knees" thing etc....well i really dont think theres anyone alive except regina who could tell us what that means...thats one of the things i love about it so much- its so personal like catching little glimpses of dreams and memories from someone else's life. i do think its about trying to find some meaning in life though- and she decides that hers is to love and be loved - but thats just me :)

  6. anonymous
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    Feb 8th 2011 report

    i really love this song but im not entirely sure what its about.
    i agree with the other person who said that it was about a girl who was in love but didnt know what to do...
    not sure though

  7. anonymous
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    May 10th 2010 report

    I think the song says to love youself as you are ("you're young until you're not, you love until you don't, you try until you can't" and and "you peer inside yourself, you take the things you like and try to love the things you took") so that you can love others ("and you take that love you made, and stick it into some, someone else's heart, pumping someone else's blood".

  8. flor90
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    Feb 11th 2010 report

    well, im actually from argentina, thats why my english is not that good.
    okay, i think that the song talk about the relacionships and the part of the song which i mostly enojoy is this :

    And walking arm in arm
    You hope it don't get harmed
    But even if it does
    You'll just do it all again

  9. danibby
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    May 6th 2009 report

    honestly, you can find alot of different interpretations with this song. in my opinion, i feel it's about different love songs on the radio. when you're in a certain mood bad or good, you turn to the radio for some comfort.

  10. anonymous
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    Mar 12th 2009 report

    I feel that this song is a realization. This woman realizes that being in love is about being willing to be vonerble for someone else, and this frightened her initially. She first feared that if she put those feelings out there she would regret it. However now she has gotten some sort of grasp on the concept, not that she has to give up any part of herself to have this relationship, just to be willing to share, willing to become one person with this person. And again this scares her because then she has to determine whether she does want to be one person with him, does she want to share. Finally she is empowered by her new found knowledge, not that she knows exactly what she is going to do quite yet, but at least she knows the requirements. This song is so wonderful, because it discusses what you have to do to have a real relationship with someone, and it encourages one to decide whether that person is worth the effort. In post-modern world where nothing seems to have any depth, this song reassures a confused generations of what will be required of them if they choose to take that path.

  11. anonymous
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    Sep 18th 2008 report

    It's about being in love with someone and then that love gets away..and you drudge on in life wondering what should have been

  12. anonymous
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    Jul 31st 2007 report

    Well, then what about the Guns N Roses song? I don't think Axl Rose was around in the 1600s.

    I don't really know what it's about but the imagery is kind of disturbing when you think about it... but it's such a good song, and I love the music and the lyrics.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  13. anonymous
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    Nov 23rd 2006 report

    It is talking about the black plauge in the 1600s it killed and destroyed millions of people and wiped out entire families.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway

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