**Official lyrics**: remhq.com/lyrics.php?id=311...
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Lyrics submitted by parsprototo, edited by pabvid

Imitation Of Life song meanings
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  • +7
    General CommentI agree with thenarrator. In fact, I think this song is very deep, with several underlying messages. The name of of the song itself, suggests a sort of facade of real life. I believe it is a commentary on society, and the people who desire to be rich and famous. "like a koi in a frozen pond/like a goldfish in a bowl", suggests a celebrity who is trapped in this public life, albeit miserable and wishing to get out. "I don't wanna hear you cry" shows this celebrities desperation for not being able to convince society that although he is famous, he is sad and has problems just as everyone else does.

    "you want the greatest thing/the greatest thing since bread came sliced/you've got it all, you've got it sized." We don't realize that we are the ones who have it all, who have it "sized", for we are the ones being able to lead a normal life.

    "like a friday fashion show teenager/freezing in the corner". He is giving an example of a famous teen model, trying to put on a mask of happiness. "trying to look like you don't try". Making it look like his life is a breeze.

    "this lightning storm/this tidal wave/this avalanche, i'm not afraid." This gives us the idea of actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger who act like tough guys of unhuman strength in the movies, but in reality, are just like you and I...afraid.

    Finally, the chorus, which is one of the best parts of the song, perfectly sums up its message. "that sugarcane that tasted good/that's cinnamon that's hollywood/c'mon c'mon no one can see you try". At first, for us who are outside, it seems that money and fame is all we could wish for. The second line is almost an ironic remark in response to the first line. It could also be said that the fact that the sugarcane "tasted" good, is suggesting that now that they have been celebrities and lived through the hype of it, they have become disillusioned. In a variation to the chorus, Stipe sings "that's freezing rain, that's what you could", making an analogy to how it feels to be a celebrity now that they have known it.

    This song is amazing! It is almost a warning to the millions of people who only see happiness in glamour and wealth, overlooking the simple things of life. I'm sure this song is very personal to him. In one of the lines, he exchanges "no one can see you cry" for "me cry". This suggests t is definatelly a portrayal of how he must feel about the whole Hollywood thing. The melody of the song, and the way Stipe sings, especially the part "c'mon c'mon" gives a weird sense of desperation and hopelessness, as if Stipe was crying for help.

    Michael Stipe once again proves his genius and talent, by composing a meaningful song so lyrically and musically unique. This is not only one of the best REM songs ever, but one of the greatest songs of music history.
    pedrogouveiaon March 23, 2003   Link

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