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Life In a Glasshouse is the eleventh and final track off of Amnesiac

History

Amnesiac's eleventh and final track, Life In a Glasshouse, features jazz band the Humphrey Lyttelton Band. After listening to a demo of the song, trumpeter and bandleader Humphrey Lyttelton suggested arranging it in the style of a New Orleans jazz funeral. He described the song as:

"[starting] with me doing a sort of ad-libbed, bluesy, minor key meandering, then it gradually gets so that we're sort of playing real wild, primitive, New Orleans blues stuff".

According to Lyttelton, Radiohead:

"Didn't want it to sound like a slick studio production but a slightly exploratory thing of people playing as if they didn't have it all planned out in advance."

Yorke wrote about the inspiration for the lyrics of Life In a Glasshouse on his LiveJournal page in 2001:

"On "Life In A Glasshouse" I'm desperate for people to understand all the words because they're really important. It began after I read this interview with the wife of a very famous actor who the tabloids completely hounded for three months like dogs from hell. She got the copies of the papers with her picture and she posted them up all over the house, over all the windows so that all the cameras that were outside on her lawn only had their own images to photograph. I thought that was brilliant, and that's where the song started from. It was just a really sad, awful story about her desperately trying to cope while he's off filming, and the only reason she was being hounded was becouse [sic] it was rumoured he was having an affair with his leading actress. I just thought, "Nobody deserves this." Especially when they're a completely innocent party. From there, it developed into a complete rant about tabloid journalism destroying people at will, tying people to the stake and watching them burn - an activity that seems to be particularly rife in this country."

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
Once again I'm in trouble with my only friend
She is papering the window panes
She is putting on a smile
Living in a glass house
Once again packed like frozen food and battery hens
Think of all the starving millions
Don't talk politics and don't throw stones
Your royal highness says

[Chorus]
Well of course I'd like to sit around and chat
Well of course I'd like to stay and chew the fat
Well of course I'd like to sit around and chat
But someone's listening in

[Verse 2]
Once again we are hungry for a lynching
That's a strange mistake to make
You should turn the other cheek
Living in a glass house

[Chorus]
Well of course I'd like to sit around and chat
Well of course I'd like to stay and chew the fat
Well of course I'd like to sit around and chat
Only only only only only only only only only only...
There's someone listening in