"Tongue" as written by and Peter Buck Bill Berry....
Call my name, here I come
Ninety to nothing, watch me run
You call
I am ashamed to say
Ugly girls know their fate
Anybody can get laid
You want a room with a fire escape
I want to tell you how much I hate this
Don't leave that stuff all over me
It pains me
Please, just leave it
I should toss that vanity license plate
Toss that make-up painted face
Box those poems, chocolate cake
Scratch that name on the record player
Please, just leave me be
Don't lay that stuff all over me
It crawls all over, all over me
Call my name, here I come
Your last ditch lay, will I never learn?
Caramel turn on a dusty apology
It crawls all over me
You turn all over
It pains me
Please, just leave it


Lyrics submitted by Novartza

"Tongue" as written by Peter Buck Bill Berry

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

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Tongue song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI like to think it's about a young,unpretty girl who falls in love with someone,and loses her virginity with this person. But this doesn't sound like a pleasant experience,in fact she feels ashamed,scared and soring...She would like it to end as soon as possible (please just leave me be...don't lay that stuff all over me...) because she didn't simply want to "get laid",she longed to "make love"...That's different.
    Sweet Janeon April 06, 2005   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningI'm surprised there's debate about one of R.E.M.'s most straightforward songs. Michael Stipe himself has said it's sung from the perspective of a woman (that's why he's singing in a falsetto) who can only get laid as someone's last resort, and how that makes her feel.

    End of story. No abusive relationship, not sung from a man's point of view, gay or otherwise. And commenter Sweet Jane is full of it - there's nothing about "making love" in the song. One of the lamest phrases in the English language. It's called SEX, people!
    clauditoriumon October 10, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentabove person same difference it's about people doin it
    kempeon September 05, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's about feeling invaded and discomforted by sex, from a female perspective.
    THE!!!on November 26, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this is about being used and wanting to forget it. "you want a room with a fire escape" suggests their partner just wants to have sex and leave.
    I think it's about being in an unequal relationship and not feeling like you can escape. It screams of regret "call my name, here I come.
    your last ditch lay, will I never learn?" The other person calls, and they come running, just to be used again.
    The line about ugly girls suggests low self esteem, perhaps she feels she can't do any better?
    Kyanon January 14, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti thought that the singer's voice sounded pretty different in this one, and then i noticed that it's in a high falsetto...because he's singing as a woman. i thought that was interesting.
    lexusinabasketon December 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentStipe is queer, not gay.
    reptileon June 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentqueer and gay are SO not the same thing, though i think camp would be a better word that queer
    but i agree with sweet jane on this one.
    im_no_supermanon November 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere's obivously a scene of sex taking place, and some abuse between two people. The narrator is a girl, and to me it seems like she's too weak to leave the relationship, but she knows that it seems to be more and more about having sex. The passion and the sparks of being together has been burned out, but she can't make herself leave, maybe because she feels bad for the other part, but at the same time she realize that she should move on (second verse). A beautiful song. Love the way Michael's falsetto takes this one away.
    Low Feedbackon January 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI remember reading Stipe say something about this song to the effect of "anybody can get laid, it's just a matter of lowering your standards enough". Seems oddly relevant - it's about a girl who's in a relationship with someone because she lacks the self esteem to leave - with a guy "you want a room with a fire escape" who, equally would leave the moment a better offer came along. Kind of sad, and I suspect, kind of true.

    And what does Stipe's being gay have to do with anything? (I thought he was bisexual, but it hardly matters) Surely that doesn't prevent someone from singing from the point of view of someone with a different sexuality from his own?
    el_hon March 08, 2008   Link

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