Radiohead’s “House of Cards” Lyrics Meaning

On “House of Cards”, Thom Yorke clearly states his intent; to be with a married woman irrespective of her situation. His sole aim as stated in the first verse is to be in a relationship with this woman regardless of the consequences.

Not only does he want this woman to cheat on her spouse, but he actually pleads with her to forgo her marital affair, and run off with him as he does same. He uses ‘house of cards’ as a metaphor signifying her weak current relationship. He asks her to deny her marriage and break this ‘house’ so he can be with her. In the second verse, he references ‘key parties’ and ‘kissing her husband goodnight’ to drive home the fact that he wants her to be sexually involved with him in place of her spouse.

It is unclear whether this woman succumbs to his proposal because in the outro, the narrator implies that this lady is either having an argument with him after denying his proposal, or having issues with her husband after he finds out about her infidelity.

“House of Cards” Facts

Writing: Thom Yorke in conjunction with his Radiohead mates:

  • Philip Selway
  • Jonny Greenwood
  •  Ed O’Brien
  • Colin Greenwood

Production: Radiohead’s frequent collaborator, English recording engineer and producer named Nigel Godrich
Album: Radiohead’s 2007 art rock/experimental rock album “In Rainbows”
Release: 10th October, 2007

Did Radiohead release “House of Cards” as a single?

Yes. It was one of In Rainbows‘ six singles.

Grammy Award Nominations

At the 2009 Grammys, this art rock track was one of the most nominated songs. It actually received three nominations in three different categories, including the “Best Rock Song” category. It was however, unable to win in any of the categories. For example, Bruce Springsteen’s “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” defeated it to win the prize for the aforementioned category.

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