Lift is a British term for elevator, and this song is about being stuck in one. Lift is also the first song in which Thom actually referred to himself by name, taking the voice of a person who is trying rescue Thom. Despite the rumors that this number would be an Ok Computer single, Ed said that the band had never considered it. Played regularly in 1996, the song was identified by most reviewers as the best new song they had heard in sets that also included I Promise and Electioneering.
Thom had this to say about why Lift wasn't rehearsed for Kid A: We havent lost the song. We played it too much in a certain way that didnt work in my opinion. It didnt feel right. so we need to approach it in a different way but at the time of OK Computer it was impossible to get into rearrAngeimng it becaose everyone had fixed ideas on what to play and wed all just got into a habit we couldnt break. Like staRING TOo LONG AT STRANGERS know what i mean?
On July 22, 2002 in Lisbon, Portugal, Radiohead surprised all with a reworked version of Lift which had some lyric changes as well as a slower tempo.