Like Spinning Plates

While you make pretty speeches,
I’m being cut to shreds.
You feed me to the lions,
a delicate balance

When this just feels like spinning plates.
I’m living in cloud cuckoo land.
And this just feels like spinning plates
Our bodies floating down the muddy river.



Released: June 2001
Found on: Amnesiac Live version found on I Might Be Wrong – Live Recordings

The studio version of “Like Spinning Plates” was built over the backing track of the song, “I Will,” played backwards.

From Jam!: Machine-gun quick, turntable-scratch-like noises, and what sounds like backwards guitar notes define the rhythm, while Yorke’s voice sounds distorted, like the creepy dwarf from “Twin Peaks.” Is it about the hubbub of a musician’s lifestyle finally starting to wind down to a more manageable pace? Or is the spinning plate Yorke sings about actually the fragile balance of the world about to come crashing down?

Colin: The ominous tones of Like Spinning Plates. In Copenhagen, I was listening to Womançs Hour [popular BBC Radio 4 programme]. They were talking about this English composer, whose name I cançt remember, who wrote a piece of music for a singer where all the phrasings were backward but she sung it forward. Thom sung the backwards melody. It was recorded forward then listened to backwards and he did the phrasing so as to create backward sounding words but its sung forwards. It’s kind of my favourite track.