There There (The Boney King of Nowhere) – Just Cause You Feel It Doesn’t Mean It’s There – Radiohead

There There (The Boney King of Nowhere) - Radiohead

In the wake of the terrorist tragedies that came to define the turn of the millennium, Thom Yorke found inspiration to write the songs for Radiohead’s 2003 masterful release Hail To The Thief. Partially motivated by his strong perspective on the war against terror, which he felt prompted a general sense of panic and ignorance, he remarked, “When I started writing these new songs, I was listening to a lot of political programs on BBC Radio. I found myself during that mad caffeine rush in the morning, as I was in the kitchen giving my son his breakfast writing down little nonsense phrases, those Orwellian euphemisms that the British and American governments are so fond of. They became the background of the record. The emotional context of those words had been taken away. What I was doing was stealing it back.”

Joining elements of nursery rhyme, references to classic horror, science fiction, and classic literature (including Dante’s Inferno) with the band’s extraordinary ability to create provocative musical atmospheres, Hail To Thief is an adventure rich in vivid soundscapes and thought provoking themes. “There There (The Boney King of Nowhere)” can be seen as the culmination of the combined ideas and efforts that went into the process of making the album. The song crawls menacingly into a crescendo showcasing the incredible individual talents of all five musicians. Thom Yorke’s ghostly vocal delivery, floating above an insistent, eerie, dance-like beat, lends to its foreboding tone. Yorke mentioned that he became so emotional when he first heard the recording that he began to cry. The lyrics are mysteriously vague, presented as a stream of consciousness, and hint at aspects of alienation, insensitivity, inner blindness and guarded compassion. Yorke could be describing a relationship with himself, a partner, or warring countries, and each perspective could be equally appropriate. “In pitch dark I go walking in your landscape. Broken branches trip me as I speak.. Just because you feel it doesn’t mean it’s there,” exemplifies Yorke’s accomplished ability to poetically convey the lonely internal reality each individual experiences. Hail to The Thief weaves threads of classic rock, ambient orchestration, classical music and electronic sampling with a distinctive allure that both piques the senses and lures a listener into reflection. More than ten years after its release it remains every bit as relevant and emotionally engaging as the day it was first offered.

“In pitch dark I go walking in your landscape.
Broken branches trip me as I speak.
Just because you feel it doesn’t mean it’s there.
Just because you feel it doesn’t mean it’s there.
There’s always a siren singing you to shipwreck.
(Don’t reach out, don’t reach out)
Steer away from these rocks
We’d be a walking disaster.
(Don’t reach out, don’t reach out)
Just because you feel it doesn’t mean it’s there.
(There’s someone on your shoulder)
Just because you feel it doesn’t mean it’s there.
(There’s someone on your shoulder)
There there
Why so green and lonely?
Heaven sent you to me.
We are accidents waiting waiting to happen.
We are accidents waiting waiting to happen.”