“Lotus Flower” by Radiohead

Radiohead begins “Lotus Flower” by illustrating how flexible their music is. The narrator suggests that since it is a universal language, listeners can understand the song based on their own preferences. He uses the term invisible because although his audience may not see the lyrics from his perspective, they can deduce their own meanings as they wish.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Radiohead's Lotus Flower at Lyrics.org.

In the refrain, he further expresses that he uses music to help people experience freedom in their own thoughts, yet he feels an emptiness inside probably because his own wishes have not been granted. The chorus reveals that gradually, as he makes more music, his relationship with his listeners become more open-ended and they grow to understand each other’s desires.

His use of the phrase, “moon upon a stick” exposes how he wishes to explore his own imagination against present realities.

“Slowly we unfurl
As lotus flowers”

Note: In many religious settings (including Buddhism), the Lotus Flower is a very significant and sacred entity. It symbolizes many things, including rebirth, enlightenment and purity. This is primarily because of its very unique nature. You see, the Lotus grows in muddy and unpleasant environments. Despite this, it grows into a beautiful flower. Actually it is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful flowers on earth.

The life of the Lotus is therefore often used to enlighten people on two important lessons of life. First is that nothing good comes easy. Second is that despite how difficult or unpleasant your background is, you can shine if you really want to.


Thom Yorke discusses his overall musical career and his ability to adapt to various styles to suit his audience. Furthermore he touches on how he feels empty despite giving people the satisfaction they need.

Facts about “Lotus Flower”

Lotus Flower, produced by Nigel Godrich was released in 2011 as the first single off Radiohead’s “The King of Limbs” album. The track was however first performed by the band in January 2010 at a Haiti benefit concert which took place in Los Angeles.

The music video of this song was directed and produced by Garth Jennings, while the choreography was performed by Wayne McGregor.

Thom’s unusual dance moves in the video became a viral internet meme. This meme was later synched to songs such as Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and “Single Ladies” by Beyoncé. The music video which had garnered more than 20 million YouTube views by 2013, also made the hashtag #thomdance one of the most popular trends on Twitter that year.

At the 2012’s Grammys, the song was nominated to be awarded “Best Rock Song” of the previous year. It lost the award to Foo Fighters’ “Walk“. It also lost another nomination for the “Best Rock Performance”.

Creation Credits

Writing: Thom Yorke and his Radiohead bandmates
Production: N. Godrich
Release: February of 2011
Album: Radiohead’s “The King of Limbs” project of 2011

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