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Frost, Sandburg, R.E.M.: “Its the end of the world”

“Its The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”

Document

That’s great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and
snakes, an aeroplane and Lenny Bruce is not afraid.
Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn – world
serves its own needs, dummy serve your own needs. Feed
it off an aux speak, grunt, no, strength, Ladder
start to clatter with fear fight down height. Wire
in a fire, representing seven games, a government
for hire and a combat site. Left of west and coming in
a hurry with the furies breathing down your neck. Team
by team reporters baffled, trumped, tethered cropped.
Look at that low playing! Fine, then. Uh oh,
overflow, population, common food, but it’ll do. Save
yourself, serve yourself. World serves its own needs,
listen to your heart bleed dummy with the rapture and
the revered and the right, right. You vitriolic,
patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty
psyched.

It’s the end of the world as we know it.
It’s the end of the world as we know it.
It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Six o’clock – TV hour. Don’t get caught in foreign
towers. Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself
churn. Locking in, uniforming, book burning, blood
letting. Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate.
Light a candle, light a votive. Step down, step down.
Watch your heel crush, crushed, uh-oh, this means no
fear cavalier. Renegade steer clear! A tournament,
tournament, a tournament of lies. Offer me solutions,
offer me alternatives and I decline.

It’s the end of the world as we know it.
It’s the end of the world as we know it.
It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

The other night I dreamt of knives, continental
drift divide. Mountains sit in a line, Leonard
Bernstein. Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester
Bangs. Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom! You
symbiotic, patriotic, slam book neck, right? Right.

It’s the end of the world as we know it.
It’s the end of the world as we know it.
It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel
fine…fine…

(It’s time I had some time alone)

Applicable copyright is implicit (Copyright © R.E.M./Athens Ltd. for all R.E.M. originals).
These lyrics are official only when stated and in other cases represent a collaborative interpretation by fans.

Poems:

“Fire and Ice,” Robert Frost

“Chicago,” Carl Sandburg

Politics, Imagery, Metaphor and R.E.M.

“The Flowers Of Guatemala”

Lifes Rich Pageant

I took a picture that I’ll have to send
People here are friendly and content
People here are colorful and bright
The flowers often bloom at night

Amanita is the name
The flowers cover everything
The flowers cover everything

There’s something here I find hard to ignore
There’s something that I’ve never seen before
Amanita is the name they cover over everything

The flowers cover everything
They cover over everything (Amanita is the name)
The flowers cover everything

Don’t look into the sun
Don’t look into the sun

There’s something that I’ve never seen before
The flowers often bloom at night
Amanita is the name they cover over everything

“Cuyahoga”

Lifes Rich Pageant

Let’s put our heads together and start a new country up
Our father’s father’s father tried, erased the parts he didn’t like
Let’s try to fill it in, bank the quarry river, swim
We knee-skinned it you and me, we knee-skinned that river red

This is where we walked, this is where we swam
Take a picture here, take a souvenir

This land is the land of ours, this river runs red over it
We knee-skinned it you and me, we knee-skinned that river red
And we gathered up our friends, bank the quarry river, swim
We knee-skinned it you and me, underneath the river bed

This is where we walked, this is where we swam
Take a picture here, take a souvenir
Cuyahoga
Cuyahoga, gone

Let’s put our heads together, start a new country up,
Underneath the river bed we burned the river down.
This is where they walked, swam, hunted, danced and sang,
Take a picture here, take a souvenir
Cuyahoga
Cuyahoga, gone

Rewrite the book and rule the pages, saving face, secured in faith
Bury, burn the waste behind you

This land is the land of ours, this river runs red over it
We are not your allies, we can not defend
This is where they walked, this is where they swam
Take a picture here, take a souvenir

Cuyahoga
Cuyahoga, gone
Cuyahoga
Cuyahoga, gone

Applicable copyright is implicit (Copyright © R.E.M./Athens Ltd. for all R.E.M. originals).
These lyrics are official only when stated and in other cases represent a collaborative interpretation by fans.

Poems:

“Pear Tree,” H.D.

“Orchard,” H.D.

“An Atlas of the Difficult World” pt. II, Adrienne Rich

“Renascence,” Edna St. Vincent Millay

“The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” Langston Hughes

Ambiguity in R.E.M.: “Don’t fall on me/Fall on me”

“Fall On Me”

Lifes Rich Pageant

There’s a problem, feathers iron
Bargain buildings, weights and pulleys
Feathers hit the ground before the weight can leave the air
Buy the sky and sell the sky and tell the sky and tell the sky

Don’t fall on me (What is it up in the air for) (It’s gonna fall)
Fall on me (If it’s there for long) (It’s gonna fall)
Fall on me (It’s over it’s over me) (It’s gonna fall)

There’s the progress we have found (when the rain)
A way to talk around the problem (when the children reign)
Building towered foresight (keep your conscience in the dark)
isn’t anything at all (melt the statues in the park)
Buy the sky and sell the sky and bleed the sky and tell the sky

(repeat chorus)
Don’t fall on me

Well I could keep it above
But then it wouldn’t be sky anymore
So if I send it to you you’ve got to promise to keep it whole

Buy the sky and sell the sky and lift your arms up to the sky
And ask the sky and ask the sky

(repeat chorus, etc.)

Applicable copyright is implicit (Copyright © R.E.M./Athens Ltd. for all R.E.M. originals).
These lyrics are official only when stated and in other cases represent a collaborative interpretation by fans.

Poems:

“Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock,” Wallace Stevens

“Anecdote of the Jar,” Wallace Stevens

Allusion (and Metaphor) and R.E.M.: “Call me a leper”

“New Test Leper”

New Adventures In Hi-Fi

I can’t say that I love Jesus
that would be a hollow claim.
He did make some observations
and I’m quoting them today.
“Judge not lest ye be judged.”
what a beautiful refrain.
The studio audience disagrees.
Have his lambs all gone astray?

Call me a leper
Call me a leper
Call me a leper

“You are lost and disillusioned!”
what an awful thing to say.
I know this show doesn’t flatter.
It means nothing to me.
I thought I might help them understand
but what an ugly thing to see.
“I am not an animal”
subtitled under the screen.

Call me a leper
Call me a leper
Call me a leper

When I tried to tell my story
They cut me off to take a break.
I sat silent 5 commercials
I had nothing left to say
The talk show host was index-carded
All organized and blank
The other guests were scared and hardened
What a sad parade.

What a sad parade

Call me a leper
Call me a leper
Call me a leper

Applicable copyright is implicit (Copyright © R.E.M./Athens Ltd. for all R.E.M. originals).
These lyrics are official only when stated and in other cases represent a collaborative interpretation by fans.

Poems:

“Still Life,” Reed Whittemore

“The Lifeguard,” James Dickey

R.E.M. and Sound Devices: “Smack, crack, bushwhacked”

“Drive”

Automatic for the People

Smack, crack, bushwhacked
Tie another one to the racks, baby

Hey kids, rock and roll
Nobody tells you where to go, baby

What if I ride
What if you walk
What if you rock around the clock
Tick-tock, tick-tock.
What if you did? What if you walk
What if you tried to get off, baby

Hey, kids, where are you
Nobody tells you what to do, baby

Hey kids, shake a leg
Maybe you’re crazy in the head, baby

Maybe you did
Maybe you walked
Maybe you rocked around the clock
Tick-tock, tick-tock.
Maybe I ride
Maybe you walk
Maybe I drive to get off, baby

Hey kids, shake a leg
Maybe you’re crazy in the head, baby

Ollie, ollie
Ollie ollie ollie
Ollie ollie in come free, baby

Hey, kids, where are you
Nobody tells you what to do, baby

Smack, crack. Shack-a-lack
Tie another one to your back, baby

Hey kids, rock and roll
Nobody tells you where to go, baby

Maybe you did
Maybe you walk
Maybe you rock around the clock
Tick-tock, tick-tock
Maybe I ride
Maybe you walk
Maybe I drive to get off, baby

Hey kids, where are you
Nobody tells you what to do, baby

Hey kids, rock and roll
Nobody tells you where to go, baby, baby, baby

Applicable copyright is implicit (Copyright © R.E.M./Athens Ltd. for all R.E.M. originals).
These lyrics are official only when stated and in other cases represent a collaborative interpretation by fans.

Poems:

“The Waking,” Theodore Roethke

“Storm Windows,” Howard Nemerov

“The Song Of The Chattahoochee,” Sidney Lanier

Elegy and Allusion: Andy Kaufman, Montgomery Cliff, Dan Rather in R.E.M.

“Man On The Moon”

Automatic For The People

Mott the Hoople and the game of Life. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Andy Kaufman in the wrestling match. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Monopoly, Twenty one, checkers, and chess. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mister Fred Blassie in a breakfast mess. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Let’s play Twister, let’s play Risk. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
See you heaven if you make the list. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Hey, Andy did you hear about this one? Tell me, are you locked in the punch?
Hey Andy are you goofing on Elvis? Hey, baby. Are we losing touch?
If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon.
If you believe there’s nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool.

Moses went walking with the staff of wood. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Newton got beaned by the apple good. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Egypt was troubled by the horrible asp. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mister Charles Darwin had the gall to ask. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Hey Andy did you hear about this one? Tell me, are you locked in the punch?
Hey, Andy are you goofing on Elvis? Hey, baby. Are you having fun?
If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon.
If you believe there’s nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool.

Here’s a little agit for the never-believer. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Here’s a little ghost for the offering. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Here’s a truck stop instead of Saint Peter’s. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mister Andy Kaufman’s gone wrestling [wrestling bears]. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Hey Andy did you hear about this one? Tell me, are you locked in the punch?
Hey Andy are you goofing on Elvis, hey baby, are we losing touch?
If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon.
If you believe there’s nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool.

“Monty Got A Raw Deal”

Automatic For The People

Monty this seems strange to me.
The movies had that movie thing,
but nonsense has a welcome ring
and heroes don’t come easy.

Now, nonsense isn’t new to me.
I know my head, I know my feet,
but mischief knocked me in the knees.
Said, Just let go. Just let go.

I saw the ocean meet the man.
I saw you buried in the sand.
A friend was there to hold your hand,
Said, Walk on by.

So, I went walking through the street.
I saw you strung up in a tree.
A woman knelt there said to me,
said, Hold your tongue, man. Hold your tongue.

You don’t owe me anything.
You don’t want this sympathy. [waste your breath]
Don’t you waste your breath. [waste your breath]
for the silver screen.

That nonsense doesn’t mean a thing,
they tried to bust you in a sting,
but virtue isn’t everything
so, don’t waste time.

Now, here’s a rhyme that you can steal.
Put this on your reel to reel.
Mischief threw a rotten deal.
Monty’s laying low, man.
He is laying low.
Just let go, y’all.
Just let go.

You don’t owe me anything.
You don’t want this sympathy. [waste your breath]
Don’t you waste your breath. [waste your breath]
Monty this seems strange to me.

“What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?”

Monster

“What’s the frequency, Kenneth?” is your Benzedrine, uh-huh
I was brain-dead, locked out, numb, not up to speed
I thought I’d pegged you an idiot’s dream
Tunnel vision from the outsider’s screen
I never understood the frequency, uh-huh
You wore our expectations like an armored suit, uh-huh

I’d studied your cartoons, radio, music, tv, movies, magazines
Richard said, “Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy”
A smile like the cartoon, tooth for a tooth
You said that irony was the shackles of youth
You wore a shirt of violent green, uh-huh
I never understood the frequency, uh-huh

“What’s the frequency, Kenneth?” is your Benzedrine, uh-huh
Butterfly decal, rearview mirror, dogging the scene
You smile like the cartoon, tooth for a tooth
You said that irony was the shackles of youth
You wore a shirt of violent green, uh-huh
I never understood the frequency, uh-huh
You wore our expectations like an armored suit, uh-huh
I couldn’t understand
You said that irony was the shackles of youth, uh-huh
I couldn’t understand
You wore a shirt of violent green, uh-huh
I couldn’t understand
I never understood, don’t fuck with me, uh-huh

Applicable copyright is implicit (Copyright © R.E.M./Athens Ltd. for all R.E.M. originals).
These lyrics are official only when stated and in other cases represent a collaborative interpretation by fans.

Poems:

“When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” Walt Whitman

“To Helen,” Edgar Allan Poe

Montgomery Cliff and Elizabeth Taylor:

“Orange Crush” and War Poetry

“Orange Crush”

Green

Follow me, don’t follow me
I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
Collar me, don’t collar me
I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
We are agents of the free
I’ve had my fun and now its time to
Serve your conscience overseas
(over me, not over me)
Coming in fast, over me

High on the roof,
Thin the blood,
Another one on the waves tonight,
Comin’ in, you’re home

We’d circle and we’d circle
and we’d circle to stop and consider
and centered on the pavement
stacked up all the trucks
jacked up and our wheels in slush and orange crush
in pocket and all this here country
Hell any country it’s just like heaven here
And I was remembering
And I was just in a different country
And all then this whirlybird
That I headed for I had my goggles
pulled off I knew it all
I knew every back road and every truck stop

Follow me, don’t follow me
I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
Collar me, don’t collar me
I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
We are agents of the free
I’ve had my fun and now its time to
Serve your conscience overseas
(over me, not over me)
Coming in fast, over me

High on the roof,
Thin the blood,
Another one on the waves tonight,
Comin’ in, you’re home

Applicable copyright is implicit (Copyright © R.E.M./Athens Ltd. for all R.E.M. originals).
These lyrics are official only when stated and in other cases represent a collaborative interpretation by fans.

Poems:

“Beat! Beat! Drums!” Walt Whitman

“War Is Kind” Stephen Crane

“Grass” Carl Sandburg

“The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” Randall Jarrell

“At the Un-National Monument along the Canadian Border” William Stafford

“‘next to of course god america i” e. e. cummings

“The Performance” James Dickey