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Shiny Happy People song meanings
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  • +5
    Song MeaningWhat this song is really about is: I remember reading that the title came from a piece of Chinese propaganda that the Chinese government put out after Tiananmen square, that had a first line that translated to read "the shiny happy people holding hands", which always lead me to believe that the entire song was not only meant to be sarcastic, but it was meant to be almost bitterly so. Simply put, a song to mock the overly happy fits of lunacy that people put out to mask real life problems.

    Unfortunately for REM, the song became what it was mocking.
    bobbyjameson October 15, 2011   Link
  • +4
    General CommentIt's about communism. Like how in the pictures of the citizens of China they look happy, they are being hidden by what's happening behind closed doors. Hence, Shiny Happy People.
    beastieboyon July 27, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentHow many times does R.E.M have to explain this ffs:

    The title and chorus are based on a Chinese propaganda poster. The slogan "Shiny happy people holding hands" is used ironically - the song was released in 1991, 2 years after the Tiananmen Square uprising when the Chinese government clamped down on student demonstrators, killing hundreds of them.
    lucydubbson April 19, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI heard this on an interview - R.E.M. was tired of everyone saying that their songs and videos were morbid, sad, or dark. they wrote this and ridiculously dance in bright colors on the video to be smart asses. It's a great song that I've always liked, but after I heard where it stemmed from - I like it even MORE!
    mandyblansetton December 05, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt always makes me think of Hippies. I don't know why
    AtLeastIknowon October 04, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti always thought this was about how alot of people believe they are happy because that's what they are told. they live a "good" life, and even if it isn't the one they want, they are happy with it because they know that someone else has it worse.

    shiny people are fake people. they think they are happy, but have no idea what happiness is.
    EvilVultureon September 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwho cares if its drug related or not? its a really happy song, and it makes you happy. and as long as you're happy, who cares? this song rules. forever. and then some. anyways, that's what i think...
    xpankfrisston May 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentShit! I spelled "their" wrong!
    Bite Meon May 12, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNot too sure where the idea that song has something to do with drugs came from, I think that it is probably just about having fun. I think it is the same with the video, I think it is meant to be lame and stupid and fun. No plot, no great meaning just fun.
    chicks24on April 13, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI LOVE THE VIDEO!!!!! It's just so awesomely fucked up you gotta love it. The reason they had Stipe dance in videos was b/c he couldn't.
    ZinbobDanon April 14, 2003   Link

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