"Leaving New York" as written by and Mike Mills Peter Buck....
It's quiet now and what it brings is everything
Comes calling back a brilliant night
I'm still awake I looked ahead
I'm sure I saw you there
You don't need me to tell you now
That nothing can compare

You might've laughed if I told you
You might have hidden your frown
You might've succeeded in changing me
I might've been turned around
It's easier to leave than to be left behind
Leaving was never my proud
Leaving New York never easy
I saw the light fading out

Now life is sweet and what it brings
I tried to take
The loneliness it wears me out
It lies in wait
And on a loss still in my eyes
Shatter a necklace across your thigh
I might've lived my life in a dream
But I swear this is real
Memory fuses, and shatters like glass
Mercurial future forget the past
But it's you, it's what I feel


You find it in your heart, it's pulling me apart
You find it in your heart, (change)

I told you forever I love you it's forever
I told you if I love you, I love you forever
I told you forever I love you it's forever
I told you if I love you, I love you forever
You never, you never, you told me it's forever!


Lyrics submitted by cerph

"Leaving New York" as written by Mike Mills Peter Buck

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

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Leaving New York song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentIt's about realising that things are over. To the extent that you think you need to leave a place in order to get away from your history, and sacrificing important things in order to escape. Kinda how I feel today
    uglydorison January 15, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can't believe no one else has commented on this song, it is brilliant.

    I think it is about being in a relationship and coming to the realisation that the best is behind you and that if one of you doesn't leave now, the other one eventually will and that, regardless of the fact that it is inevitable, it is still less painful to be the one who does the leaving.

    The chorus is about how, he is leaving her without saying goodbye and is thinking about how the conversation could have played out, had he told her.
    quiffpornon September 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthaven't got a clue what the song's about! i'm guessin it's something to do with new york! it doesn't matter coz i love it
    moominon October 04, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song, probably my favourite from Around the Sun.
    Lyraon October 13, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPerfect... just perfect. I first heard this song a couple of days too late though; I had been trying so hard to say the same things to someone, without any success. I wish I'd heard it earlier. I can understand why other people may not like the album, but for very personal reasons, I love it completely.
    faded24on October 15, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI imagine Stipey has some good friends or loved ones in NYC. Anyway, great song.
    SMUSER17000412on October 16, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPeople, this song is about New York. Hence the name.

    In this song, Michael is obviously in love with New Yorks beauty and the attatchment he has with it.

    I doubt that there is a woman involved, simply because Michael is gay.

    He is expressing his love for such a beautiful city.
    This is a very simple version of what I think the song is about. R.E.M are much more straight forward as to what their music is about as opposed to their good friends Radiohead. Radiohead are awesome aswell.

    Swizz*on November 07, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAlthough the song is written about New York, I think that it relates to others slightly differently. To me its about change and knowing that changes are happening all around you and you can't just stay in the same place all your life, hence "it's easier to leave than to be left behind". You have to go through many changes, some which are painful. Michael Stipe is using New York in this song because its something he loves dearly. Beautiful song, one of R.E.M's best.
    Tom_999on November 12, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA great song, I love how R.E.M. has a tune to fit any mood I'm in. Now, Micheal said in an interview I watched on launch.com that his songs are not biographical, which I like because it kind of opens them up for interpretation. I suppose you could take this song a few different ways, but when I listen to it I think of a relationship ending, with one of the parties involved running away from the other. The chorus makes me picture the person leaving staring out the window of an airplane, crying with regret wondering, "what if?" Maybe some things were left unsaid? I just saw the video the other day which takes place in an isolated airport, so that sort of helps with my personal take. I can't wait to see them live for the first time in 3 days!
    patty*on November 13, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about a change in heart. Leaving the past which you once thought was enjoyable but now you realize it was just a dream, an illusion... the life has faded out.

    You find it in your heart
    It's pulling me apart
    undercurrenton November 21, 2004   Link

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