"West Of The Fields" as written by and Neill Bogan Bill Berry....
Long gone intuition to assume are gone when we try.
Dream of a living jungle in my way back home when we die.

West of the fields.
West of the fields.
West of the fields.
West of the fields.
Long gone, long gone, long gone, long gone.
West of the fields.

Dreams of Elysian to assume are gone when we try
Tell now what is dreaming
When we try to listen with your eyes oversimplify

The animals how strange.
Try try to stick it in.
The animals, how strange.
Try, try to stick it in.

Dreams of Elysian, to assume are gone when we try
Tell now what is dreaming when we try.
Listen through your eyes when we die.

West of the fields.
West of the fields.
West of the fields.
West of the fields.
Long gone, long gone, long gone, long gone.
West of the fields.


Lyrics submitted by xpankfrisst, edited by Charlie the man

"West of the Fields" as written by Neill Bogan Bill Berry

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

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West Of The Fields song meanings
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  • 0
    General Commentjust a really etheral song referencing greek mythology, the elysian fields was the paradise attained in the afterlife and it was to the west...so, they're going west of the fields...i suppose the song doesn't hav a meaning aside from stating that, u can decide urself...it's a song about a very dark adventure, and one of the greatest closing tracks of all time!
    ZinbobDanon June 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI never thought of this song as ethereal; to me it has a vigorous driving rhythm matched (on Murmur) only by "Moral Kiosk".

    The Elysian Fields thing is dead on (no pun intended). The way Michael's voice echoes when he sings, "When we die..." just before the last chorus... obviously beyond words, you have to hear it.

    I'm particularly intrigued by the phrases "What is dreaming" and "listen with your eyes".

    The former is reminiscent of Chuang-Tze's epigram about--on waking--wondering whether he's a man who just dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly now dreaming he's a man.

    Could it be we're already in the afterlife? (getting into Philip K. Dick territory here)

    "listen with your eyes" evokes synaesthesia -- though I'd think tripping would have been too intense for Michael in those days; i remember seeing the band play for an audience of kids on Nickelodeon; between songs Peter Buck did nearly all the talking. Stipe was so introverted he literally went fetal.

    Guided By Voices were imitative of R.E.M. in their earliest days (from Forever Since Breakfast through Sandbox; they didn't start finding their own style until Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia).

    My favorite GbV song is "Dusted", which has the line, "All the sadness it implies I've tasted with my own two eyes." Bob Pollard may have been paying homage to his heroes, or perhaps it was a bit of (harmless) subconscious plagiarism.
    foreverdroneon July 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy take is that the characters are on their way to their Heaven. It's a dreamlike state one is in when this occurs. The bit about "When we try to listen with your eyes oversimplify" I interpret as that heaven isn't just a visual sensation. We shouldn't listen with our eyes and interpret what is going on by what we see. Just because you are looking at heaven approaching doesn't mean you understand what's happening there. Heaven is so special that anything could be possible.
    The weird words to me are: "Try, try to stick it in"
    Kaflerktaon October 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI saw R.E.M. at Voodoo Fest in New Orleans last night (amazing for sure) and Michael revealed a tip about this song that is interesting when it comes to the interpretation. He said it was a song Peter wrote about a time when Michael was about 20 and went and lived on the streets of New Orleans for a week. Michael said it was pretty rough and some stuff happened that wouldn't be good to repeat from the stage. Elysian Fields is a pretty long street and it runs through a rough part of town. I'm not sure about when Michael was there, but now a lot of homeless gather there (especially at the end bordering the river) and drug use is common. They said the allusion to the fields meant "Elysian Fields Avenue." The French Quarter is one area west of Elysian Fields Avenue, so he could have been there.
    SkylinePigeonon October 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn 2007 I read an interview with Michael Stipe. They'd just dusted off this song and started playing it again for the first time in years - it'd been so long that he said he had to go online and look up the lyrics. I'm paraphrasing but he said: "Apparently, one of the lyrics is 'The animals, how strange/Try, try to stick it in.' I'm positive that at no point in my drug-ravaged early 20s did I ever write that line!"
    blood is thinon December 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentalso seen this rendered as:

    The animals have strayed
    Try this trick [at hand]
    foreverdroneon June 30, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAfter listening many, many times I think it is:

    The animals how strange
    Try this trick and change
    The animals how strange
    Try the trick and....
    bertechoon July 27, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Streetcar Named Desire" takes place on Elysian Fields Avenue. It seems to me that the phrases like "dreaming" and "living jungle" fit nicely into that meaning.
    soboton January 10, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe lyrics: "the animals..." are not right per Michael Stipe (see the video on Youtube)

    I think they are:

    The outer walls have strained. Try, trust you'll get in
    The outer walls have strained. Try, trust you'll get in

    but I also like some of the other suggestions - funny that these were not written down at the time and we are all left to guess...
    ironwingon June 16, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentat the time, I would guess Michael:

    a) didn't care whether his words were understood

    b) didn't want his words to be misunderstood

    c) didn't want his words to be understood

    one of those...probably...is closest to the truth...
    foreverdroneon June 29, 2011   Link

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