Meaning of Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead & Song Story

With the release of the composition Fake Plastic Trees (“Fake Plastic Trees”), a new stage began in the history of Radiohead. Later, music critics will call it post-grunge and pre-electronic, although such a classification is very arbitrary.

Thom Yorke described the track as the song where he found his lyrical voice. Let’s remember how one of the main hits of the famous British rock band was born.

The story of the creation and meaning of Fake Plastic Trees

Music and lyrics composed by Thom Yorke. He told how the song was born:

A very nice melody that I had no idea what to do with, and then you wake up and realize that your head is humming some words to it.

Rolling stone

Tom said that the process of making Fake Plastic Trees was very easy:

She showed up without a hitch. I just wrote down everything that was in my head. I wrote these words and laughed. They seemed really funny to me. Especially that piece about polystyrene.

Exit Music: The Radiohead Story, Mac Randall

Yorke also recalled that Canary Wharf, located in east London, became a source of inspiration for him. It’s a business district with lots of artificial plants, which gave Tom the title of the song.

The main idea of ​​the song Fake Plastic Trees can be described as a protest against the consumer society and the false values ​​that it imposes on people.

Record Fake Plastic Trees

The composition began to be recorded in the London studio RAK. Guitarist Ed O’Brien recalled that the early versions sounded “pompous and pompous,” in the style of Guns N’ Roses’ November Rain.

The band then continued to work on The Bends at Manor Studios. Then producer John Leckie offered to record a new version of the track.

The musicians could not complete the work for a long time. To unwind, they went to a Jeff Buckley concert. When they returned, things went smoothly. Hearing the final result, York burst into tears.

Release and achievements

On May 15, 1995, Fake Plastic Trees was released as a single. It was the third single from The Bends in the UK and the first in the US.

Rolling Stone and NME magazines included the song in their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time lists.

Clip Fake Plastic Trees

The music video for Radiohead was directed by Jake Scott. The director described his work as follows:

Actually, the film is an allegory of death and reincarnation, but if you can read that in it, you must be as weird as the people who made it.

Watch the clip Fake Plastic Trees – Radiohead.

Interesting Facts

  • Jonny Greenwood played Fake Plastic Trees on an old Hammond organ that had to be constantly tuned.
  • The video features actor Norman Reedus, who at the time worked as a model.
  • The song has appeared on the soundtracks of several films, including Clueless, Something Borrowed and Confessions of a Brazilian Call Girl.
  • In the movie Clueless, Alicia Silverstone’s character called Fake Plastic Trees “crybaby music”. Thom Yorke on this occasion said that he did not care about the opinion of flat characters: “Go to hell, we are for three-dimensional people!” (vox).
  • In the sixth episode of the first season of the television series Westworld, a pianola version of Fake Plastic Trees is played.

Fake Plastic Trees Lyrics

A green plastic watering can
For a fake Chinese rubber plant
In the fake plastic earth
That she bought from a rubber man
In a town full of rubber plans
To get rid of itself

It wears her out x4

She lives with a broken man
A cracked polystyrene man
Who just crumbles and burns
He used to do surgery
For girls in the eighties
But gravity always wins

And it wears him out x4

She looks like the real thing
She tastes like the real thing
My fake plastic love
But I can’t help the feeling
I could blow through the ceiling
If I just turn and run

And it wears me out x4

And if I could be who you wanted
If I could be who you wanted
All the time
All the time

Fake Plastic Trees Lyrics Alternative

Green plastic watering can
For fake Chinese rubber
In fake plastic earth
She bought it from the rubber man
In a city full of rubber plans
To get rid of myself

It exhausts her – 4 times

She lives with a dead man
With the polystyrene guy out of his mind
that just crumbles and burns
He did operations
Girls in the eighties
But gravity always wins

And it exhausts him – 4 times

She seems real
She tastes like the real thing
My fake plastic love
But I can’t get rid of the feeling
What could fly through the ceiling
Should I turn and run

And it exhausts me – 4 times

And if I could be who you want
If I could be who you want

Fake Plastic Trees quote

…the result of a joke that wasn’t actually a joke…

Thom Yorke,

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