Main Index Thom Yorke Pablo Honey The Bends OK Computer Kid A Amnesiac Hail to the Thief The Eraser In Rainbows The King of Limbs Amok Tomorrow's Modern Boxes A Moon Shaped Pool
Two lines, that are related to the song, could be seen in the 'scrapbook' section of radiohead.com since 2004:


The line "what will grow crooked u can't make straight/that is the price that u got to pay" appears in a pdf file from theeraser.net:

Another sheet contains further lyrics:



Transcript
"you are a black swan" appears in yet another one:

Two more pages with lyrical fragments:



Thom: "'Black Swan' has this tiny, shredded segment of something that was one of the library samples we had. It was Ed and Phil doing this thing, and I sliced it into bits. The sample was 2000, but the song was 2005. I also like the lines in 'Black Swan': 'You cannot kick-start a dead horse/You just cross yourself and walk away.' [laughs] As always, whatever psychic garbage you've got going on in your head, you end up using it. You should have seen the stuff I didn't put in. That's the shit you don't want to know about."
But the piece ('The Clock') took a manic detour when he tried to finish the lyrics by playing it on guitar.

"It sounded like this mad, Johnny Cash skiffle tune", he said, shaking his head. But another song, the bluesy Black Swan, actually gained from his handmade arrangement, which yielded some guitar bits that he and Godrich liked enough to include in the recorded version.
On 'Black Swan' being edited for airplay:

Thom: "I'm one of these people who swear a lot naturally, so... Although I haven't sworn yet, that's interesting. I normally would have done by this point... I just don't don't... I've never seen it as an issue. I mean, it's part of... you know, the word 'fuck' is part of the English language and has been for hundreds of years. I think there are far more offensive uses of language used in the news media. Just this general mind-numbing goobledygook they make up. I think that should be censored. I think good old traditional swearwords are really not a problem. I swear a lot, so... what do I know.

'Black Swan' was the single, and they drop out the 'fuck', so... You know, I think that's funny. It sounds just... I mean, we did have quite a laugh for a couple of hours, me and Nigel, sort of putting trumpets in there and stuff. But it's like, you know, that's the song, you know. The song... 'this is fucked up', that's the line. I mean, you can't change it. It's like... you know, it's a sort of off-the-cuff remark you make one night when you've had too much to drink and you're talking to your friends about what's going on, you just say 'uh this is fucked up'. You know, it's what everybody says. Hang on, why does suddenly, when you're playing it on the radio... you can't say it. It doesn't make sense to me. The taxi driver will say it to you, you know. So why can't I say it?"

On why there's no video for 'Black Swan':

Thom: "Yeah, I'm not doing MTV at all. I'm quite proud of that actually. Not that they play me for shit, so it don't matter really. We figured there's no point, 'cause they're not gonna play it anyway. I might be wrong, but I don't think I am."
Thom: "When we stopped, I started listening really heavily to all that Fela Kuti stuff and that whole idea of just staying on one chord and letting the groove go really impressed me. 'Black Swan' on The Eraser is like that."
In 2006, Cristian Vogel remixed 'Black Swan'. Two different remixes were released as a download in december 2007 before appearing on a series of three 12" vinyl remix EPs in january 2008. Later that year the Eraser remixes were also released on CD in Japan:
It took Thom three years following the release of The Eraser to put together a proper tour based on the album. Recruiting Nigel Godrich, Flea, Mauro Refosco and Joey Waronker to form the band, the group played a first set of shows in october 2009 and another in april 2010, initially under the name "?????", since Thom had not yet named the project "Atoms For Peace". The tour ended with a solitary gig in august 2010 in Japan. Each night, the main set would consist of the The Eraser played in its entirety. During this period, Thom also played the song in Cambridge at a Green Party benefit and the 2010 Glastonbury and Big Chill festivals:
The song was performed live by Thom and Nigel as part of their Amok album launch DJ sets:
18. february 22nd 2013 Oval Space London UK Link
19. march 8th 2013 Berghain Berlin Germany Link
20. march 14th 2013 Le Poisson Rouge New York City USA Link
21. april 17th 2013 Razzmatazz Barcelona Spain Link
22. april 19th 2013 Gaîté Lyrique Paris France Link
In July 19th 2009, Thom played 'Black Swan' live for the first time, at the Latitude Festival:
The song had its full band live debut on October 2nd 2009 at the Echoplex in Los Angeles at the first gig of Thom's then unnamed band, consisting of himself, Flea, Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker and Mauro Refosco: