"Sing For The Submarine" as written by and Mike Mills Peter Buck....
It feels in dreams
That everything is there for you
The city breathes and pulses
It's for you electron blue

I knew that you could see right through it
So this is where I give in to the machine
Lift up your voice feel gravity's pull
Drown out the siren's ring (or silent dream)

Oh

[Chorus]
It's all here where I keep it
It's all in the submarine
It's all a lot less frightening
Than you would have had it be
But that's the good news my darling
It is what it's going to be
So sing, sing for the submarine

I tried to explain how it all begins
How its all destroyed and built again
I knew that you could not believe me
But now you're here and it's different
How the light shines in your eyes
In every second or situ
It's then that I realized
That the world as we know it
The High speed train
We'll pick it all up and start again

[Chorus]

The city did not collapse in a shudder
The rain it never came
At least my confessions made you laugh
I know it's a little crazed
But these dreams,
They seem so real to me

[Chorus]

So this is where you trust me
And this where it begins
It's all a lot less frightening
Your tear you let it in
Tyrel and his mechanical owl
A moth disguised as a leaf

Don't tell me what tomorrow brings
Climb into the hidden machine and
Sing sing sing sing sing sing
Sing sing for the submarine


Lyrics submitted by kierra

"Sing for the Submarine" as written by Mike Mills Peter Buck

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

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Sing For The Submarine song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentIn an interview with Pitchfork, Michael Stipe explained the meaning of the song:

    "That's where "Feeling Gravity's Pull" came from. That's where "Electron Blue" came from-- electron blue being a drug that's made out of light. "Sing for the Submarine" is about a guy who in fact has gone so deep into this almost neurotic state that he's imagined a way to escape from the city with his loved one in the event of some cataclysmic...event. And that escape route is by way of a submarine that is fueled by melody. And that creates the template for the song."

    pitchfork.com/features/interviews/6813-rem/
    petrosbasileuson June 28, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song explains the cover art of the album (it's about a dystopia world following the end of civilization) and in a way sums of the direction of R.E.M. throughout their course.
    The song also references many R.E.M. songs, including Electron Blue, Feeling Gravity's Pull, High Speed Train, and It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).
    If this is the end of R.E.M., it is an appropriate finish.
    Metsfan980on April 13, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this could somehow be about the media using scare tactics to gain power over the masses, but we shouldn't be as scared as they'd like us to be. I'm not sure where the submarine comes into it though.
    Cruiserfanon April 08, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentStipe made a good and cryptic (as he would) description about what made him write this song in an interview on MOG (it is to be found on youtube).
    Such a great, haunting song. Love it.
    Low Feedbackon April 11, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like the references on this song, and I hope its not the end of R.E.M.
    Poisonedbeautyon May 06, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song obviously owes a great deal to William Butler Yeats' "Byzantium":

    That is no country for old men. The young
    In one another's arms, birds in the trees
    - Those dying generations - at their song,
    The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
    Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
    Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
    Caught in that sensual music all neglect
    Monuments of unageing intellect.

    An aged man is but a paltry thing,
    A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
    Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
    For every tatter in its mortal dress,
    Nor is there singing school but studying
    Monuments of its own magnificence;
    And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
    To the holy city of Byzantium.

    O sages standing in God's holy fire
    As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
    Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
    And be the singing-masters of my soul.
    Consume my heart away; sick with desire
    And fastened to a dying animal
    It knows not what it is; and gather me
    Into the artifice of eternity.

    Once out of nature I shall never take
    My bodily form from any natural thing,
    But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
    Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
    To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
    Or set upon a golden bough to sing
    To lords and ladies of Byzantium
    Of what is past, or passing, or to come.


    The reference to the Tyrell's mechanical owl ([i]Bladerunner[/i]) tipped me off.

    It is also a cut-up of lines from previous R.E.M. songs, obviously.

    I think the overall point here is a call to the creation of (subversive?) art as a means of beating mortality. Hence, lines like "Give into the machine" I take as being the opposite of a "deus ex machina" -- you're letting go of your own ego as little-god artist and letting your work take on a life all its own without you getting in the way. After all, in a best case scenario, it will far outlive you. Maybe far outlive us all!

    I also suspect, then, that the "submarine" might well be the subconscious mind as a creative source to draw from.

    In any case, the allusions to the Yeats are very strong, and I suspect the sense of that poem has a lot to do with the sense of this song. Sing, sing, against the dying of the light!
    dakinion May 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentComeback album of the year and my favorite song on the album, that bass kicks ass
    dmbstanon July 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm interested to know how many lines are references to REM songs... Hope someone can spot more than me!

    It feels in dreams
    - I dont sleep I Dream/ Dream (All I Have To Do)

    It's fuel electron blue
    - Electron Blue

    Lift up your voice feel gravity's pull
    - Feeling Gravity's Pull

    I tried to explain how it all begins
    - Begin The Begin

    How its all destroyed and built again
    - Fall On Me?

    That the world as we know it
    - It's The End Of...

    The High speed train
    - High Speed Train

    The rain it never came
    - So. Central Rain/ I'll Take The Rain

    But these dreams...
    - I Don't Sleep.../ Dream (All I Have...)
    phip9000on October 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenta retrospective look back on their career through song titles?

    i still don't really get the 'submarine' bit. maybe it is the subconsious mind. our inner thoughts and fears?
    ramshotelon April 20, 2009   Link

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