I have listened to Radiohead before, but I’ve never really sat down and listened to what the artists were trying to convey. The music I listen to is usually faster paced. My prediction for this song was that it would be very sad and very slow. Many of the Radiohead songs I’ve heard were emotional and some were even gut wrenching.
The first time I listened to the song I only paid attention to the instrumentals and the singer’s voice. The beginning of the song was pretty much what I expected it to be like. It was slow and melancholy. I didn’t listen to the lyrics very attentively, but a few lines popped out to me. The main line that stuck with me was “Keep your prices down. We’ll feed you to the hounds.” It sounds like the song is about consumerism from just the first listen. Without knowing the rest of the lyrics very well my guess about what this means probably isn’t completely accurate. I enjoyed how the song progressed into a more hopeful and upbeat tone. The progression occurred so naturally and smoothly.
The second time I listened I tried to pay close attention to the words and read the lyrics along with the song. The lyrics that I had originally noticed in the first place were a lot easier to understand with the rest of the lyrics in front of me. Consumerism does seem to be a big part of this song. It’s people against big corporations and big businesses.
The lyrics and the music tell a story. The beginning of the song is heartbreaking and it fits with the lyrics. The listener is being shown how awful the majority of people are treated. They are promised cheap goods, but anyone that gets in the way of the big corporation will be fed to the hounds. When the song transitions to a faster pace, the lyrics also change. It is no longer about the sob story of people being thrown around, but instead accusing words aimed at the bullies. The victims are getting up and taking a stand.