"Perfect Circle" as written by and Bill Berry Michael Mills....
Put your hair back we get to leave
Eleven gallows on your sleeve
Shallow figured winner's paid
Eleven shadows way out of place

Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room
Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room
Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room

Pull your dress on and stay real close
Who might leave you where I left off?
A perfect circle of acquaintances and friends
Drink another, coin a phrase

Heaven assumed, shoulders high in the room
Heaven assumed, shoulders high in the room
Heaven assumed, shoulders high in the room

Try to win and suit your needs
Speak out sometimes but try to win

Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room
Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room
Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room
Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room
Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room


Lyrics submitted by xpankfrisst

"Perfect Circle" as written by Michael E. Mills John Michael Stipe

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Perfect Circle song meanings
Add your thoughts

25 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +2
    General CommentTo me this song is just about capturing the moment-a beautiful moment. Whether it's love or a breakup or odd occurrences you just don't understand and they get to you. It's one of the most beautiful song ever written.
    GrungeRock1991on June 21, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Commentto me it's about the three stages of life:

    childhood:
    Put your hair back, we get to leave - instructions to a young girl
    Eleven gallows on your sleeve - ?
    Shallow figure, winner's paid - ?
    Eleven shadows way out of place - nice call on the "kids playing football - poorly"

    Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room - when you're a kid - trying to be big, trying to impress

    College years:
    Pull your dress on and stay real close - sex and after
    Who might leave you where I left off? - ?
    A perfect circle of acquaintances and friends - college friends
    Drink another, coin a phrase - out at bar, being clever


    Heaven assumed, shoulders high in the room - your confidence in the future

    early career:
    Try to win and suit your needs
    Speak out sometimes but try to win - i can just picture this young person, trying to impress

    Standing too soon, shoulders high in the room - again you're a kid, trying to be big



    They were maybe at the early career stage when they wrote this, so to me it kind of fits




    whoknowsremon July 30, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHas anyone else noticed Michael'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
  • +1
    General CommentNow I could be wrong, but to me, the imagery of "standing too soon, shoulders high in the room" suggests someone ill at ease, uncomfortable - shoulders hunched up - getting up before they should.

    Could be way off here, but I always thought the song was about someone uncomfortable in a particular social setting - maybe said ex-girlfriend, whom the song is supposedly about.
    el_hon March 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is an amazing song! I can't really describe it, or explain it. For me it's just capturing a moment. I'm afraid I can't do better than that!
    jc499on October 11, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is such a beautiful song. No idea what it means though.
    One of the all-time classics
    Cherub Rockon September 26, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is an incredibly moving tune. I figure it may be about wishing your life away, or finding yourself suddenly an adult with responsibilities when seemingly only yesterday you felt like a child still. "Standing too soon"? Or perhaps a loss of innocence before being mature enough to make that step.

    Apparently, Michael Stipe said it's just a song about an ex-girlfriend. Peter Buck claims they were on tour in '81, and staying in a motel. He was stood at the door of his cabin during twilight and watching a group of kids play touch-football. According to Mr Buck he was so moved by it that he cried for hours, and asked Michael to capture that emotion.

    Mike Mills said the feeling he wanted to capture in the song was when you're staying in a strange hotel room and it's late at night, and somewhere in the far distance, you here a train go past.

    And after I heard ALL those interpretations, on VH-1 Storytellers in 1999, Michael Stipe said it was actually written by former drummer Bill Berry!!!

    ...So who knows?
    driver08ukon February 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPS- About the kids playing touch-football in the twilights- "Eleven shadows way out of place,"!! Kind of emotive eh?
    driver08ukon February 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPull your dress on and stay real close
    Who might leave you where I left off?
    A perfect circle of acquaintances and friends
    Drink another, coin a phrase

    this part is definately not about football

    it's about wanting a girl who only sees you as a friend yet go's with other guys frequently who only want her sex

    and don't trust anything REM ever say about a song they lie like crazy
    wh1tep0nyon August 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"And after I heard ALL those interpretations, on VH-1 Storytellers in 1999, Michael Stipe said it was actually written by former drummer Bill Berry!!!"

    The music was written by Bill, not the lyrics.
    -------------------------------
    freewebs.com/…
    Jakeberton December 30, 2005   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain