"Pretty Persuasion" as written by and Peter Buck Bill Berry....
It's what I want, hurry and buy
All has been tried follow reason and buy
Cannot shuffle in this heat, it's all wrong
Try to put that on your sleeve, it's all wrong, it's all wrong

He's got pretty persuasion
She's got pretty persuasion
God damn, your confusion
She's got pretty persuasion

It's what I want, hurry and buy
All has been tried follow reasoning
And I put that in this heat, it's all wrong
Try to wear that on my sleeve, it's all wrong, all wrong

He's got pretty persuasion
She's got pretty persuasion
God damn, your confusion
He's got pretty persuasion

In the light I saw
Quite a scene there

It's what I want, hurry and buy,
All has been tried, follow reason and buy,
Try to put that in this heat, it's all wrong
Cannot wear that on your sleeve, it's all wrong, it's all wrong

He's got pretty persuasion
She's got pretty persuasion
God damn, your confusion
He's got pretty persuasion


Lyrics submitted by xpankfrisst

"Pretty Persuasion" as written by Peter Buck Bill Berry

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Pretty Persuasion song meanings
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15 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentHas anyone else noticed Micahel's obsession with sleeves? "Wear that on your sleeve" - Bad Day, "There's nothing up your sleeve" - Man On Moon, "nothing up my sleeve" - Great Beyond, "Fastened on your sleeve" - All The Way To Reno, "put that on your sleeve" - Pretty Persuasion, "eleven gallows on your sleeve" - Perfect Circle... "smiled on my sleeve" - Pussy Willow... does he not get jumpers for Christmas or what?!
    phip900on August 22, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentIt's funny, but I always thought the song was about Michael Stipe as a young man dealing with his bisexuality.
    kierraon November 19, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentHi folks,

    I was very surprised to find a debate on sexuality according to this song. However, there are some hints that seem to be reasonable but still there is one passage that doesn't fit in my opinion :

    "It's what I want, hurry and buy
    All has been tried, follow reason and buy
    Cannot shuffle in this heat, it's all wrong
    Try to put that on your sleeve it's all wrong, it's all wrong"

    My interpretation for this part is the following : Since the first two lines are about "buy" I would say that he alludes to the current society. Corporations use any possibility to persuade us to buy their products. They do it in the newspapers, on boxes, in the cinema, on TV, in the internet, ... - everywhere !
    Michael is one who's not feeling good in this society ("Cannot shuffle in this heat") and who doesn't want PRETTY PERSUASIONS. He thinks that big companies try to confuse people ("pure confusion") making them believe that they need all the useless products although they don't (also see the song "Begin the Begin" - it is similar). The phrase "wear that on your sleeve" is used in a lot of his songs and seems to be an advise to oppose excessive consumption (and maybe even the whole society as one) openly. One can wear a sign of a party or organization on one's sleeve. This is like "wearing" the own political statements. In other words : show your opposition to the rest of the world because "silence means approval" (from the song "Begin the Begin").

    I hope that this idea can make the discussion more interesting.
    DerUnbequemeon March 27, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI never thought about it until my friend mentioned it the other day, but it seems to be about someone who is sexually confused. Or has walked into a drag show.
    stickchair67on January 06, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThese lyrics aren't right. Also the song suffers from the same fate other REM songs did in the early days. They used any words that fit or sounded good at the time. Pitched mouth noises were what they were considered although songs do have meanings. I am not so sure about this one. Although I have to agree that a person with 'pretty persuasion' does hint at someone having a feminine sexuality. Whether it's bisexuality or homosexuality is unclear. And I believe it's "God dam your confusion"
    Kaflerktaon October 04, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think stickchair is dead on. Its about Stipe dealing with his bisexuality. "Try to put/wear that on your sleeve, it's all wrong" deals with Stipe's concerns with being outward with his homosexuality. In GA, wearing your homosexuality in most cases would be viewed as being wrong which is what Stipe appears to be trying to convey. Later in his career, he definitely started to wearing it on his sleeve, but at this point he was a more reserved.
    rthunon November 06, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is either about sexuality
    "He's got a pretty persuasion
    She's got pretty persuasion
    God damn, pure confusion
    She's got pretty persuasion"

    Or about politics and being drawn to extremist groups
    And I put that in this heat, it's all wrong
    Try to wear that on my sleeve it's all wrong, all wrong

    Or about companies and advertisment!
    Prestmackineon May 08, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about attending an outdoor market where all the peddlers are shouting to have you buy from them.
    PencilNeckedGeekon August 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"it's all wrong, it's all wrong"--that's what I'd say about these lyrics. Michael might get a chuckle out of them.

    Kierra, I've always interpreted the song the same way you did. Michael often alternates male/female in his lyrics. When he sings "Goddamn your confusion," he's not telling that to someone else; he's being self-critical.

    (Sorry to whoever took the trouble to transcribe, but I don't think these lyrics are accurate.)
    foreverdroneon July 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentperhaps the film en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… borroes its title from the r.e.m. song?
    laurelinwyntreon October 07, 2007   Link

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