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

Advertisements

Metaphor and R.E.M.: “I want to be your Easter bunny”

“Be Mine”

New Adventures In Hi-Fi

(“a speed zone up here too”)

I never thought of this as funny
It speaks another world to me
I want to be your Easter bunny
I want to be your Christmas tree.

I’ll strip the world that you must live in
of all its godforsaken greed.
I’ll ply the tar out of your feathers.
I’ll pluck the thorns out of your feet.
you and me.
you and me.

and if I choose your sanctuary
I want to wash you with my hair.
I want to drink of sacred fountains
and find the riches hidden there.

I’ll eat the lotus and peyote.
I want to hear the caged bird sing.
I want the secrets of the Temple.
I want the finger with the ring.
you and me.
you and me.
you will see.

that if you make me your religion
I’ll give you all the room you need.
I’ll be the drawing of your breath.
I’ll be the cup if you should bleed.

I’ll be the sky above the Ganges
I’ll be the vast and stormy sea.
I’ll be the lights that guide you inward.
I’ll be the visions you will see.

the visions you will see.

you will see.
you will see.
you and me.
you and me.
you and me.

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:

“Mirror,” Sylvia Plath

“Wild Nights! Wild Nights!,” Emily Dickinson

“I like to see it lap the miles,” Emily Dickinson

Personification and R.E.M.: “Gravity pulls on the power line”

“Low Desert”

New Adventures In Hi-Fi

it happened fast, it’s over quick.
a little dust and the engine kicks.
did your hands drift down off the wheel?
a roadowl hit your windshield?
an eyelash or a little bit of sleep?
did time stand still?
Just call it. now, and you’re on your way.

hey
hey hey
hey

all the ashtrays cities and the freeway drives
broken casinos and waterslides
the 18 wheeler and the payback dives
gravity pulls on the powerlines.
a jetstream cuts the desert sky,
this land could eat a man alive.
let’s say you’d leave it all behind.

hey
hey hey
hey

“tricked again.” let go.

there’s a radio tower, it’s egging you on.
back to the place where you never belonged.
where the people thrive on their own contempt.
whatever meaning is long gone spent.
if you had to guess or make bet,
would you place yourself inside of it?
the mountains yawn. the clouds let out a sigh.
“tricked again.” let go. okay.

hey
hey hey
hey

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:

“Storm Ending,” Jean Toomer

“Because I could not stop for Death,” Emily Dickinson

Robert Frost, Symbolism, and R.E.M.

“World Leader Pretend”

Green

I sit at my table and wage war on myself
It seems like it’s all…it’s all for nothing
I know the barricades, and
I know the mortar in the wall breaks
I recognize the weapons, I used them well

This is my mistake. Let me make it good
I raised the wall, and I will be the one to knock it down

I’ve a rich understanding of my finest defenses
I proclaim that claims are left unstated,
I demand a rematch
I decree a stalemate
I divine my deeper motives
I recognize the weapons
I’ve practiced them well. I fitted them myself

It’s amazing what devices you can sympathize…empathize
This is my mistake. Let me make it good
I raised the walls, and I will be the one to knock it down

Reach out for me and hold me tight. Hold that memory
Let my machine talk to me. Let my machine talk to me

This is my world
And I am world leader pretend
This is my life
And this is my time
I have been given the freedom
To do as I see fit
It’s high time I’ve razed the walls
That I’ve constructed

It’s amazing what devices you can sympathize…emapathize
This is my mistake. Let me make it good
I raised the walls, and I will be the one to knock it down

You fill in the mortar. You fill in the harmony
You fill in the mortar. I raised the walls
And I’m the only one
I will be the one to knock it down

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:

“Mending Wall,” Robert Frost

On “Mending Wall”

“Birches,” Robert Frost

On “Birches”

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:

“The One I Love”: R.E.M. and e. e. cummings Love Poetry

“The One I Love”

Document

This one goes out to the one I love
This one goes out to the one I’ve left behind
A simple prop to occupy my time
This one goes out to the one I love

Fire (she’s comin’ down on her own, now)

This one goes out to the one I love
This one goes out to the one I’ve left behind
Another prop has occupied my time
This one goes out to the one I love

“Untitled (track 11)”

Green

This world is big and so-awake
I stayed up late to hear your voice
This light is here to keep you warm
This song is here to keep you strong

I made a list of things to say
But all I really want to say
All I really want to say is
Hold her and keep him strong
While I’m away from here
Hold her and keep her strong
While I’m away from here

I’ve seen the world and so-awake
And stay up late to hear me sing
Just hold her
I’ve seen the world and so-awake
And stay up late to hear me sing
Just hold him
Hold her and keep her strong
While I’m away from here
Hold him and keep him strong
While I’m away from here

“Losing My Religion”

Out Of Time

Life is bigger
It’s bigger than you
And you are not me
The lengths that I will go to
The distance in your eyes
Oh no I’ve said too much
I set it up

That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don’t know if I can do it
Oh no I’ve said too much
I haven’t said enough
I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try

Every whisper
Of every waking hour I’m
Choosing my confessions
Trying to keep an eye on you
Like a hurt lost and blinded fool
Oh no I’ve said too much
I set it up

Consider this
The hint of the century
Consider this
The slip that brought me
To my knees failed
What if all these fantasies
Come flailing around
Now I’ve said too much
I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try

But that was just a dream
That was just a dream

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:

#67 [hate blows a bubble of despair into] e. e. cummings

#8 [it may not always be so; and i say] e. e. cummings

[somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond] e. e. cummings

#34 [my father moved through dooms of love] e. e. cummings

[love is more thinker than forget] e. e. cummings AUDIO

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in] e. e. cummings