"So Fast, So Numb" as written by and Peter Buck Bill Berry....
You're movin' through rough waters motel boy,
And swimming in your sleep
How could I be so blind, mis-sighted,
Not to see there's something wounded deep?

Anyone could scratch your surface now,
It's all amphetamine
You're blasting yourself into the present
Learn some vast indignity, say that,

You say that you hate it,
You want to recreate it
I've been around, I've been your lover
I let it go at Kill Devil Hill,
You're coming onto something so fast, so numb
That you can't even feel

You're drinking the raw Drano baby,
You do-si-do, saddo
You're you in cartilage, shark-eyed, shock horror, all present tense,
And boy your blood is running cold
Listen, this is now, this is here, this is me,
This is what I wanted you to see
That was then, was that, that is gone, this is past,
You cast yourself cast, passed by, thrown down fast, you say

You say that you hate it
You want to recreate it
I've played this round, I've played your lover
I've played it out to the hilt
You're comin' on with something so fast, so numb

That you can't even feel
You love it, you hate it
You want to recreate it
Now, this is here, this is me,
This is what I wanted you to see
That was then, was that, that is gone
That is what I wanted you to feel

You love it, you hate it
You spit it out, the bitter pill
I've been around, I've been your lover
I let it go at Kill Devil Hill
You're coming onto something so fast, so numb
That you can't even feel

I've played this round, I've played your lover
I've played it out to the hilt
You're comin' on with something so fast, so numb
That you can't even feel

You played around, you played me lover,
I let it go at Kill Devil Hill
You're moving so hard, so fast, so numb
That you can't even feel


Lyrics submitted by Nelly

"So Fast, So Numb" as written by Peter Buck Bill Berry

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

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So Fast, So Numb song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentone of the best on this album. I think its about friends who use drugs heavily to the point where that's all they care about, they're numb to everything else. Kill Devil Hill is where the Wright brothers first got a plane of the ground which is a metaphor for being high.
    Sometimes, instead of "it's all amphetamine" i hear "its so unfair to me" though either of those lines work but i would say that instead of "you spit it out, the bitter pill" its actually "i'm spitting out the bitter pill."
    Little_Baby_Nothingon June 08, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentReynard Muldrake you're an f'ing moron.
    intothegrinder2on August 02, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI always thought this song was about someone, a jaded person, who has been hurt countless times by people who supposedly love them. they've been dropped and kicked and beaten down too many times to love again...and then they find the real deal, actual love, they can't accept it because they can no longer trust, thus hurting the person who really loves them. just my take. hence the blood running cold and "I've played your lover".
    haxorchickon September 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song fucking kicks...it's the best on this most underrated of albums
    ZinbobDanon April 26, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti actually read somehwere this is a song about the fast-paced life and eventual death of River Phoenix or maybe even Kurt Cobain...remember, it was alleged (by Courtney Love, so it doesn't count for much) that Stipe and Cobain fucked a few times --> "i've played your lover"...basically, i think it's about someone changing due to the drugs they've done; about someone who grows apart from reality...i related, unfortunately b/c i'm at the other end of it
    ZinbobDanon May 09, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is pretty self explanitory. If you don't get it, you don't get it. I like the Shark eyed and blood running cold part. Way to put it out there.
    BobWoodwardon March 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about drug relapse--you love it, you hate it, you want to recreate it. Chasing a high.
    Anybody that's been through it know's what I'm saying.
    fritzrxon September 27, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, pretty sure this is about the drug-induced demise of River Phoenix - who was often said to be the James Dean for a new generation. The title of the song sounds like a play on the saying: "Live fast, die young" often associated with Dean.

    In any case Phoenix was a good friend of Michael Stipe's - however you want to interpret that - and Stipe was reportedly so devastated by the young actor's death that he sunk into a deep depression and experienced writer's block for a period of five months. R.E.M. also dedicated their "Monster" album to River.

    The first verse seems to reference the (alleged) abusive treatment Phoenix claimed to have suffered as a child at the hands of the quasi-religious cult his parents were involved with - which in turn may have led to Phoenix's later drug use (in order to numb feelings of pain).

    Ex: "How could I be so blind, mis-sighted, not to see there's something wounded deep.
    Anyone could scratch your surface now, it's all amphetamine
    You're blasting yourself into the present to blur some past indignity".
    Lantaon August 21, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think the River Phoenix connection is interesting, but this song is in the present tense so it sounds more like a warning to someone who is alive than a lament over someone who died. Also, the song feels angry, like he's singing at someone and not about them.
    seanbradyon September 24, 2014   Link
  • -2
    General CommentWhatever it's about, it sucks. If I want to hear some asshole screeching "That was then this is now" I'll talk to my fucking family. Great psychiatric advise, Michael...Asshole.
    Reynard Muldrakeon February 12, 2005   Link

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