LET DOWN

Released:
June 1997
Length: 4:58
Disc: OK Computer
Tablature: Guitar | Bass

Other Versions:
Radio Edit - Let Down US Promo
Cover by Mitchell Sigman - Plastic Mutations LP
String Version - Strung Out On OK Computer

The band planned this for a single, first for release in the USA then the UK. They released promos for radio in the USA, but when they came to see the video that they had paid someone to make for it, they hated it and decided to scrap it - costing 100,000 out of their own pockets. The song never made it to be released as a single.

This track was recorded in the ballroom of actress Jane Seymour's mansion at 3am. It closes with computerized sounds created by ZX Spectrum computers, which all the members of Radiohead owned in the 1970s.

This song is not played live too often as the band have trouble playing it. In the original recording, Thom played an acoustic over the intro, but that got lost in the mix. For the live version, they have brought back the acoustic guitar, but can't reproduce the guitar sounds live - and so it sounds very different.

This is one of the most underrated songs in Radiohead's collection. It's far from what people consider one of their greatest tracks, and yet that's just what it is! A very emotional, beautiful track which puts its meaning across in the music as well as the lyrics. Some fans think of this as the best track on the album.

Transport, motorways and tramlines
Starting and then stopping
Taking off and landing
The emptiest of feelings
Disappointed people, clinging on to bottles
And when it comes it's so, so, disappointing

Let down and hanging around
Crushed like a bug in the ground
Let down and hanging around

Shell smashed, juices flowing
Wings twitch, legs are going
Don't get sentimental, it always ends up drivel
One day, I'm gonna grow wings
A chemical reaction
Hysterical and useless
Hysterical and

Let down and hanging around
Crushed like a bug in the ground
Let down and hanging around

Let down
Let down
Let down

You know, you know where you are with
You know where you are with
Floor collapsing, falling, bouncing back
And then one day, I am gonna grow wings
A chemical reaction (You know where you are)
Hysterical and useless (you know where you are)
Hysterical and (you know where you are)

Let down and hanging around
Crushed like a bug in the ground
Let down and hanging around
Thom Yorke "I was pissed in a club, and I suddenly had the funniest thought I'd had for ages - what if all the people who were drinking were hanging from the bottles... if the bottles were hung from the ceiling with string, and the floor caved in, and the only thing that kept everyone up was the bottles? It's also about an enormous fear of being trapped." - Thom Jonny Greenwood

"Andy Warhol once said that he could enjoy his own boredom. 'Let down' is about that. It's the transit-zone feeling. You're in a space, you are collecting all these impressions, but it all seems so vacant. You don't have control over the earth anymore. You feel very distant from all these thousands of people that are also walking there." - Jonny

"Let Down is about what speed and movement do to someone's mind. You know what I mean when you're staring out of a window in a moving train for an hour. All those people, cars and houses passing by. The melody intensifies the idea of losing yourself. I find it a nice kind of boredom, where I find my peace and in my subconscious new ideas come up." - Jonny
Ed O'Brien
"It's about the lack of control. You feel more sad than angry. But why Thom sings 'crushed like a bug in the ground', I don't know." - Ed Thom Yorke

"I am fascinated by the sound that insects make that are being crushed. Especially wasps make a strange sound when you crush them." - Thom
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