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Lyrics submitted by Nelly, edited by echolot

Orange Crush song meanings
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  • +4
    General Comment I would guess that this site is read and commented on by mostly those 40 and under. If there were many comments by those old enough to serve in Vietnam there wouldn't be much debate on the "meaning" of this song. There are of course many songs by many artists that have more of what you might call an "inspiration" than a lyric by lyric meaning and I would bet this song does contain a bit of that. (there will always be some public ambiguity as Mr. Stipe himself has been quoted and misquoted about the song and has made or has been reported to have made conflicting statements on its meaning) but there is so much of this song that could have been taken out of dialogue that I have heard with my own ears that I have no doubt that not only did the author intend to call up the specter of Vietnam but he had the assistance of someone who was there. (of course, perhaps, Michael Stipes father - if not his father directly, there could have been so many other connections...sadly, there is often much that fathers never say directly..I do not know how it was for his family, I am speaking unfortunately from my own experience) There are terms like "Orange Crush" itself, which, yes, referred to Agent Orange, but there are lesser known habits of speech like the reference to "counties" and "truck stops" ..."all the trucks jacked up and our wheels in slush" This whole song echoes with things I can almost smell when it plays... I could explain more but I would like everyone who has or will question this song to go and find a veteran and discuss the experience of war with them. It does not have to be a Vietnam vet, each war and each experience was different (my own Father was a WWII vet and some things were so different and some were appallingly the same...and some I will never know about, as my father is gone now and so much - even of what we knew in common was left unsaid) but if you will forget about the politics of any given war for awhile or whether or not you agree or disagree as individuals with whomever you may find, who will speak to you (you also might be surprised at the wide range of views..) and just listen, I guarantee you will learn something worth knowing...perhaps even more of what was referred to in this song... But in listening and should you decide to take that story with you, regardless of of what you decide it means to you, you will be one more who will not forget...
    donotforgeton October 15, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General Commentway to copy/paste from songfacts and pretend u found all that out for urself...
    ZinbobDanon February 16, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAgent Orange, in 'Nam, with the M16!!!

    Thats interesting though, I had always wondered if this song had any real meaning.
    (I love the part where he's yelling on the megaphone)
    ZidaneTribalon June 09, 2004   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationFrom what I make out, Stipe's voice sings 'serve your conscience overseas' and the chorus replies 'over me, not overseas', so the chorus is kinda in a contradiction with the established patriotic opinion. Also, I think that the band had much to say about how the video would look like and you have this child that is now a man and, thus, a possible hint to a father-son relationship: the son is now a man and he will wage his own war, possibly a pacifist struggle. The fact that Stipe's father was in Vietnam is, I think, significant in this context.
    avalonbyrneon September 13, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaningit doesn't take a rocket scientist to see its about agent orange and how they would fly overhead and spray it on the Vietnamese.

    And the thing about spines refers to courage!
    CorgiKidon July 22, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is the song ,for me, when REM changed there sound from subtle little folky janglepop rock sngs to the same but bigger and catchier...this is one of their best
    rieveon August 15, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about Agent Orange
    thenarratoron August 15, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentagent orange and bioterroism over in desert storm.
    i think thats what they said in an interview i was listening to.
    i might be wrong
    sepronon August 17, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAbout Agent Orange.........no, he is not a Cluedo character
    thenarratoron September 05, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe orange crush is about all the people who died in vietnam from agent orange. its basically a a nice anti-war song.
    epp88on June 04, 2004   Link

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