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I wanna be in the wallpaper
Or run away to the foreign legion
I wanna be in the wallpaper
Or run away to the foreign legion

A song by Radiohead off of their single "Knives Out," the second to be released from their fifth album, "Amnesiac." Originally, Cuttooth was to be track 9 on "Amnesiac," but was switched at the last minute for the instrumental Hunting Bears.

And as the tanks roll into town
As the tanks roll into town
A little bit of knowledge will destroy you
A little bit of knowledge will destroy you

Shortly before "Amnesiac" was released, a French DJ leaked Cuttooth to the world. He had been given an original, unapproved copy of the album by a promoter, and was unaware of the track switch.

As the tanks roll into town
As the tanks roll into town
A little bit of knowledge will destroy you
A little bit of knowledge will destroy you

The song is heavy with a Roland synth-guitar sound, as well as Jonny Greenwood's feedback-laden guitar work. The song's top layer is provided by a piano, with Jonny's work swirling underneath.

In its original version, Cuttooth was 8:30 long, but was cut down to 5:03 for the final studio release to rein in the band's temptation to keep continually adding new material. The first three minutes of the song were removed during editing and mixing, though you can barely hear some of it as the song fades in. That aspect of Cuttooth, the opening fade-in, makes the song stand out among Radiohead's catalogue: only a very small number of the band's songs fade in (Others include Black Star from "The Bends")

I dont know why I feel so tongue-tied
I don't know why I feel so skinned alive

Hold you till the arms are sore
Until you cannot feel it any more
Hold you till the arms are sore
Until you find an open door

Though much of the original, 8:30-minute version of Cuttooth was lost to rewrites and the cutting room floor, guitarist Ed O'Brien's journal gives hints as to what the song sounded like in its infancy. He describes it as heavily influenced by the German electronic group Neu!, with a very hypnotic melody and no real distinctions between the bridge, chorus or verses. The song started off much shorter (possibly around the final running time), but grew dramatically during the recording sessions for "Amnesiac" as each member added their own bits to the song. Producer Nigel Godrich persuaded the boys to give up part of the song, yielding the shorter version currently available.

I built you up to pull you down
Tie you to your feet, and watch you drown
A little bit of knowledge will destroy you
A little bit of knowledge will destroy you
I built you up to pull you down
Tie you to the stake, and watch you crying out

On the whole, the song sounds more "normal" than much of their "Amnesiac"-era work. The first half is piano, drums, and low layer noise accompanying Thom's vocals. The second half of the piece shows the experimental tendencies of the band, with their seemingly signature feedback-noises drifting in and out of the foreground. Good stuff all around.

Interestingly, Thom reused the chorus from this song ("I dont know why...I feel so skinned alive") in the lyric for Myxomatosis, a song off the band's 6th studio album, "Hail to the Thief."

CST Approved


Sources:
http://members.tripod.com/howisya/radiohead/further.html
http://www.followmearound.com
http://www.ateaseweb.com/songs/cuttooth.php
http://www.ateaseweb.com/songs/myxomatosis.php

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