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Losing My Religion song meanings
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  • +12
    General Comment:I have a very very strange interpretation, but please hear me out. This song is about someone coming to terms with thier homosexuality. Losing my religion, is in a way to describe them admitting thier homosexuality. Now, saying that they said to much is telling themself that no, they're not gay!! they're straight!! And the person is in love with someone from the same sex, and thier mind and heart are dueling which ultimately ends with the admittance. The part about but that was just a dream, I'd say that maybe, the whole image of thier heterosexuality was just a dream...and nothing more. Also, around this time, Micheal Stipe was coming to terms of being gay. But, that's just my strange opinion.
    TasChiBandGirlon May 18, 2002   Link
  • +10
    General Comment:I've heard that Michael Stipe called this song a love song. I used to have a hard time understanding how that fit, but now that I'm divorced, I understand it. When you lose the love of your life (or who you think is the love of your life), you lose all of those plans for the future, all of the things you believed in. After a serious breakup, you are never the same person--you never have the same blind trust/faith in love again. In other words, losing my religion means losing all of those hopes, beliefs, and untainted feelings of love. Think about the video--all of the representations of religion that were mere constructs by humans. The angel wings made of iron, the elderly Jesus figure with a wig--it's like the Wizard of Oz, and seeing that there is someone very small and imperfect behind the curtain, instead of the grand entity you believed in.
    lucycaton June 10, 2002   Link
  • +6
    My Interpretation:Other people have already touched on this but I think this song is about the strange mental dichotomy that is constructed by many religions; the constant second guessing and criticizing of yourself which leads to internal turmoil and self hate and concentrating on the negatives in life. By accepting some religions, the individual starts resembling the definition of schizophrenia (literally “of split mind”) by inserting an artificial and hyperactive conscience to keep track of all of the sins of the individual. I think one of the most important lines in the song is: “Every whisper, Of every waking hour, I'm choosing my confessions, Trying to keep an eye on you.” This speaks to a constant mental process continuously tracking and judging every thought and action for something that is “wrong” that will need to be confessed. Instead of living life, the person is constantly self-analyzing all of their thoughts and actions. And you are so pathetic you are like a “hurt, lost blinded fool”. When he says, “That's me in the corner” that's how many children are punished. “That's me in the spotlight” speaks to him being himself, on stage and confident; which is then followed by guilt and shame. Religion makes you feel guilty for being you.
    An insightful exercise in Zen has you watch your thoughts when you are really angry at yourself. After you mess up you might hear a thought that says, “You really screwed that up, you idiot! You should have known better!” The interesting part of the exercise is to notice the pronoun. When we talk to or about ourselves we use the words “I” and “Me”. When we talk about others we use the word “you”! Why is there a thought in your head that calls you “you”. Where did it come from and who put it there? Look at the third line of the song, “and you, you are not me”. Hmmm. I think it is talking about this super-critical conscience.
    Look at the lines: “ I thought that I heard you laughing, I thought that I heard you sing, I think I thought I saw you try”. There it is again, looking for sins. “Where you having a good time? Those are sins. No, well I saw you try, that's a sin just thinking about it”. (Yes there are religions that forbid singing outside of church and declare that just thinking of things are sins – like coveting a neighbor's wife or goods – thought crimes.) Quite literally, if his religion forbids singing out of church than every time he gets on stage he is “losing his religion”. Figuratively, “That's me in the spotlight, Losing my religion” could speak to him expressing himself on stage realizing that it is his talents and abilities filling the seats, not a “gift from an invisible being”. The more he finds himself the more he drifts away from the religious ideas he was brainwashed into believing as a child. 99% of new religious people are children being forced to attend by their parents. Very few happy adults with an education and understanding of science will decide out of the blue to become religious. Most adults that convert are coming over from another religion because of a marriage. Most of the rest that convert due so only after trauma. (Loss of a loved one, job, war, crime victim, 12 step program, etc). They need some belief system to cling to in order to make sense of their world. I think this song speaks to this in the line “ Consider this, The slip that brought me, To my knees – failed”.
    I also find it very interesting, that as his criticism of religion become stronger in the stanza, he stops and says, “Oh I've said too much”. In one, he basically says religion is making you treat yourself like “hurt, lost blinded fool” and another talks about religious beliefs being fantasies, “What if all these fantasies come flailing around” then says “oh no I've said too much”. Why? Because in our culture religious people have constantly told people it is not polite to discuss religion in public. It is okay for them to try and convert you by scaring the heck out of you with tales of eternal damnation, but if people want to rationally discuss religion via science, logic, etc, that is to be frowned upon. Why? If people rationally discussed religion, churches would dwindle in size. It's interesting to note that the last stanza he follows “I've said too much” with “I haven't said enough”, meaning that maybe instead of being polite and shying away from discussions of how harmful religions are, maybe he should just let loose and be honest and say what he really feels about the subject. Maybe that's why he wrote the song.
    Lyrics2Deepon June 17, 2012   Link
  • +5
    General Comment:There are alot of wonderful interpetations of this song here.I thought I would take a stab at it.This for someone who made a strong impression on me that will never read this.
    Life is bigger It's bigger than you
    I know that there is more to life then you.
    And you are not me
    I can only be whom I am.
    The lengths that I will go to
    The anguish that I have put myself through over you.
    The distance in your eyes
    I'm just not important to you.
    Oh no I've said too much
    I've exposed myself.
    I set it up
    Here we go again.
    That's me in the corner
    I am alone.
    That's me in the spotlight
    I feel like everyone is watching.
    Losing my religion
    I am at the end of my rope.
    Trying to keep up with you
    I listen intently to the little news of you.
    And I don't know if I can do it
    Am I strong enough?
    Oh no I've said too much
    I have exposed myself.
    I haven't said enough
    I have so much to say.
    I thought that I heard you laughing
    I thought that I heard you sing
    I think I thought I saw you try
    You always there just beyond my senses.
    Every whisper
    Every thought.
    Of every waking hour
    All the time.
    I'm Choosing my confessions
    I'm thinking what to say.
    Trying to keep an eye on you
    I listen intently to the little news of you.
    Like a hurt lost and blinded fool
    I'm an idiot.
    Oh no I've said too much
    I've exposed myself.
    I set it up
    Here we go again.
    Consider this
    The hint of the century
    My interpetation of this song.
    Consider this
    The slip that brought me
    I've really put my foot in it.
    To my knees failed
    I'm lost.
    What if all these fantasies
    Come flailing around
    What would happen if my wishes came true?
    Now I've said too much
    Ive exposed myself.
    I thought that I heard you laughing
    I thought that I heard you sing
    I think I thought I saw you try
    You always there just beyond my senses.
    But that was just a dream
    That was just a dream
    Its only a wish.
    RedDwarf13on March 27, 2009   Link
  • +5
    General Comment:Probably their most well known song. "Losing My Religion" is a common saying down south (R.E.M. are from Georgia) and it basically means losing your temper or losing your cool. I saw Stipe on VH1 talking about this song not long ago. He commented on how it's a peculiar song and how be was surprised it became such a big hit for the band considering it doesn't follow the standard formula for successful singles. The main instrument Buck plays is a mandolin and the track really doesn't have a true chorus. I think it's more or less about someone going through a tough situation and wanting to isolate themselves for a period of time, but despite their attempt at doing so, their suffering is out in the open for others to see. He has to make a clean break, and he knows it, but he's unable to do so. My two cents.
    CMan0928on September 28, 2011   Link
  • +4
    General Comment:Losing my Religion actually means Losing your temper. Cursing in other words. The song, to me at least, is about him going through a serious break up, retreating to a corner and getting angry at himself for doing something wrong.
    Emo_ezraliteon May 26, 2002   Link
  • +4
    General Comment:I think it is about unrequited love. Very generally speaking, he is trying to confess his love (choosing his confessions) and true feelings for someone; he keeps "setting it up", but he never goes all the way and has either said to much, or not enough. He always keeps an eye on the person he loves, watching to see any sort of reaction or similar feelings. He ultimately doesn't completely confess his love and convinces himself that any sort of similar effort he sees in the other person is just a dream. I think "losing my religion" represents the emotional impact this love has on him. His entire life and whatever is the center of it now will completely change if he pursues his love, and he is just not able to make the sacrifices and risks necessary to pursue true love.
    shockmon October 12, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:I actually recall stipe calling this "an obsession love song". The speaker is obsessed with someone and will go to great lengths "the lengths that I will go to" to get the other person's attentions. The speaker fantasizes about this person and tries to keep up with them "keep up with you/keep an eye on you". He also tries to change himself in hopes that he might get the person's attention & affection, choosing his confessions, changing his beliefs to revolve around this person, second guessing whether or no he is saying the right thing.
    denmark_streeton July 08, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:Whatever it's about, it's beautiful. One of the best songs from the 90's.
    Just random trivia: In an episode of 90210, Shannon Doherty's character, after breaking up with Luke Perry, locks herself in her room and plays this song, over, and over, and over.
    jack_the_braton April 20, 2004   Link
  • +3
    Song Meaning:The meaning of this song (officially, according to Mike Stipe of REM) is about unrequited love, meaning unreturned love. (the person recounting this song loves somebody, who has no interest in him).

    It is quite a sad song, and a has a very lonely feeling to it.

    "Oh, life is bigger
    It's bigger than you"

    Here he is trying to convince himself that the person he loves is NOT larger than life - she doesn't have to be the centre point of his existence. He is trying to push her out of his mind.

    "The lengths that I will go to
    The distance in your eyes"

    I can relate to this. Constantly following someone around, clinging to them, trying to make them connect with you or notice you.

    "That's me in the corner
    That's me in the spotlight
    Losing my religion
    Trying to keep up with you"

    Same thing really. "Losing my religion" is a southern American way of saying "reaching the end of one's rope" or "losing your temper" or "losing your civility". Basically these verses mean that he is getting angry and frustrated trying to stay ahead of the game and keep up with the competition over this woman. He's behind the game, in the spotlight, failng.

    "Every whisper
    Of every waking hour I'm
    Choosing my confessions
    Trying to keep an eye on you
    Like a hurt, lost and blinded fool
    Oh no I've said too much
    I set it up"

    Here he pours his heart out to a greater extent. He obsesses over the person, constantly watching them - he can't think of anything else but this person, and he feels "lost" and "blinded" when not knowing what she's doing or who she's with. "He said too much" but he "hasn't said enough" - he's telling his mates and friends more than he should say about his feelings for this person, but not the person herself.

    I CBA to write more interpretations of the rest of the song, but I could leave you guys to that :)
    Mausmanon December 13, 2009   Link

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