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I'll start with an old favorite that I haven't thought about in ages:… - lemonbalmbee

About I'll start with an old favorite that I haven't thought about in ages:…

Previous Entry May. 25th, 2005 @ 08:11 pm Next Entry
I'll start with an old favorite that I haven't thought about in ages: Radiohead's "Bulletproof". I once made the mistake of venturing onto a Radiohead website and seeing the oddest interpretations of this song; they missed that there's supposed to be an epiphany in the last verse and thus had to jump thgrough hoops trying to make everything fit together. 

limb by limb and tooth by tooth
tearing up inside of me
every day every hour
I wish that I was bullet proof

wax me, mould me
heat the pins and stab them in
you have turned me into this
just wish that it was bullet proof

so pay the money and take a shot
lead-fill the hole in me
I could burst a million bubbles
all surrogate
and bullet proof

Quick version of what I think it captures:  When we confront the "world" - people and their public personas in various circumstances - we confront something misleading.  Public personas are more callous, and are contrived to present a sort of  illusion.  So we are all more or less bound to feel more vulnerable than we ought to, faced with a false notion of how we compare to others.   The first verse is an expression of someone hurt and vulnerable to the world, filtered through this mistaken comparison: I suffer and I wish I could be bulletproof like everyone else.  The second verse expresses resentment, I suspect more towards the "world" than any one person: the world has made me what I am, shaped me into this, and I only wish I could be as callous as everyone else. 

The final verse is a sort of enlightenment brought about by resignation, a refusal to continue striving futilely.  As such the subject realizes the value of vulnerability, and sees it as a greater virtue than callousness: so much so that the subject comes to see himself as being stronger than the "bullet proof" world; he sees through the illusion/misconception, understands that to be "bullet proof" is to be a shell without a heart, and thus that the callous public persona is a mere surrogate.


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