Radiohead Lyrics

Fitter Happier

Fitter, happier, more productive,
not drinking too much,
regular exercise at the gym
(3 days a week),
getting on better with your associate employee contemporaries,
at ease,
eating well
(no more microwave dinners and saturated fats),
a patient better driver,
a safer car
(baby smiling in back seat),
sleeping well
(no bad dreams),
no paranoia,
careful to all animals
(never washing spiders down the plughole),
keep in contact with old friends
(enjoy a drink now and then),
will frequently check credit at (moral) bank (hole in the wall),
favors for favors,
fond but not in love,
charity standing orders,
on Sundays ring road supermarket
(no killing moths or putting boiling water on the ants),
car wash
(also on Sundays),
no longer afraid of the dark or midday shadows
nothing so ridiculously teenage and desperate,
nothing so childish – at a better pace,
slower and more calculated,
no chance of escape,
now self-employed,
concerned (but powerless),
an empowered and informed member of society
(pragmatism not idealism),
will not cry in public,
less chance of illness,
tires that grip in the wet
(shot of baby strapped in back seat),
a good memory,
still cries at a good film,
still kisses with saliva,
no longer empty and frantic like a cat tied to a stick,
that’s driven into frozen winter shit
(the ability to laugh at weakness),
healthier and more productive
a pig in a cage on antibiotics.

Sample looping in background: [This is the Panic Office, section nine-seventeen may have been hit. Activate the following procedure.]


Released: June 1997
Found on: OK Computer

Many people mistook the computerized voice on this track for that of physicist Stephen Hawking. The strange voice was, in fact, created by Thom on his Mac computer. He recorded it one night in an isolated area of the rehearsal space that the band had set up. Ed: “Thom basically had this checklist, like a nineties checklist if you like, and he had written it out. There is a bit of him playing piano, [which was] in the rehearsal room. He was very drunk one night, which you can tell by the sloppy playing on it, and he just played out this melody and stuff. He was very anxious that it wasn’t him saying [the lyrics] – this voice is neutral. By the computer saying it, it doesn’t becomed a bit of pretentious art-wank, it’s something neutral in the way that the computer stumbles over words and doesn’t get the pronunciation or the inflections right.” Adds Thom: “The reason ‘Fitter Happier’ exists is ‘cos of mental background noise. Some days you’re in a disturbed state and it moves to the front.” The track was used as an entrance song for the band on their 1997 tour.

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  • That’s not entirely true. It’s a voice (I believe called “Bruce”) that came from earlier proteges of SpeakText in Apple computers. The strange voice was not, in fact, created by Thom, but Thom created the track using the voice created by Apple. Stephen Hawking happens to use the same SpeakText voicing to narrate his own work. and both are brilliant.

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  • Laura

    The sample looping in the background (“This is the Panic Office…”) is from the 1975 film Three Days of the Condor.

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  • FR Powell

    I might be years behind the times and Thom Yorke may have already discussed his inspiration for his ‘Life List’ so please skip this if that is the case. However, upon reading the above, and the subsequent comments, it sounds to me as if Thom may have heard the infamous ‘Wear sunscreen’ speech, which has long been erroneously ascribed to Kurt Vonnegut when he gave a talk at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in 1997. In fact, most of the details in this much-circulated historical footnote are entirely incorrect. The real author is Mary Schmich, a Pulitzer prize-winning columnist at the Chicago Tribune, though it is the sort of thing that good old Kurt would have come up with himself. Also there is an additional claim circulating that it wasn’t even at MIT where Mr Vonnegut recited this ‘Life List’ when he gave his brief talk to the students twenty years ago, the same year OK Computer was released. Perhaps the most interesting part of all this is how something as good as Mary Schmich’s column (where she wrote her list of suggestions for life) becomes an urban legend where the authorship is ascribed to completely the wrong person and the circumstances surrounding its delivery as a speech are totally wrong also – but not many people are aware of it. Of course, the internet is the culprit. Once online, it may as well be carved in stone because people always repost without checking their facts thus this spurious information enters history as fact when it’s mostly a fiction. The only details that are true are that Kurt Vonnegut did read Mary Schmich’s ‘Wear sunscreen’ column publicly at a university. Do try to read the real piece if you can, because it’s great. Google away and you won’t be disappointed. You will also see that it’s very Thom Yorke.