"Chorus and The Ring" as written by and Mike Mills Peter Buck....
Hey there now young ?
Swing alone, quote prescriptions
Keep them guessing which bed you crawled from
Justify, just deny
Was it fun?
Your time has come
What have you done?
What have you done?

That's when the insults start to sting
You can't remember anything
The chorus chiming
Every chorus the machine of God
Is singin'

It's the poison that in measures brings
Illuminating vision
It's the knowing with a wink that we expect in
Southern women
It's the wolf that knows which root to dig
To save itself
It's the octopus that crawled back to the sea

That's when the insults start to sting
You can't remember anything
The chorus chiming
Every chorus the machine of God
Hey

Hammered shooting plywood in the backyard
Laughin' 'cause the racket makes the blackbird sing
Like the holy terror
Suck the marrow from the bone
Since you're always burning books
You got the chorus and the ring

That's when the insults start to sting
You can't remember anything
The chorus chiming
Every chorus the machine sings.

That's when the insults start to sting
You can't remember anything
The chorus chiming
Every chorus the machine sings.

That's when the calibration brittle
As a step It's you, the gold ring and the ? museum
? than a ? gold ring
Gold ring.

Sing, sing, sing, sing


Lyrics submitted by xpankfrisst

"Chorus and the Ring" as written by Mike Mills Peter Buck

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

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Chorus and The Ring song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentThis song reminds me so much of the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion... I wonder if Stipe's seen it?

    "That's when the insults start to sting/ You can't remember anything, the chorus chime in/ The Greek chorus, the machine of god singing" - This is rather evocative of the Evas, more specifically in their berserker mode...
    Akakuroon May 27, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentApparantly about Having William S.Burroughs and Kurt Cobain at his house a few months before they died. Must have been quite a party.

    ''Just defy it, just deny it, was it fun? Your time has come...
    What have you done? What have you done?''

    Could be a W.S. Burroughs reference, he accidentally shot his wife in the head while high.
    Almost Realon October 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think this song is just about the general je ne sais quoi of life, just the things that happen and we have no real explanation to them, we just have to deign them as divine intervention (machines of god). very underrated REM song :)
    ripelivejamon July 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentStipe said that the song was inspired by a conversation he had with Burroughs I believe ... but I think the song is
    about more than that.

    "Hey there now young wholly, swing along
    Quote the scriptures, keep them guessing
    Which pit you crawled from
    Just defy it, just deny it, was it fun? Your time has come...
    What have you done? What have you done?"

    A very religious person that often quotes scriptures, but really hasn't truly lived up to
    what he preaches ... uses this as a facade to cover up his whole nature (the "pit"). The person then
    "dies" and is asked the question "what have you done?" ... in other words ... Stipe seems to be saying
    that its not really about scriptures ... what's really important is what you do in this life that counts. If there is
    a god, that's probably what he really cares about and if there isn't, that's what a person should really care about.

    "That's when the insults start to sting
    You can't remember anything, the chorus chime in
    The Greek chorus, the machine of god singing."

    When faced with such a question (what have you done?) ... a person often thinks "darn, I didn't do enough in my life" ...
    That's when the insults start to sting. This attitude, though, is a dead end. Doesn't solve anything.
    Moreover, when you remember what you are, a part of the machine of "god," (nature) you see the big picture and
    remember how special a person is ... even though at times a person may not meet that ideal that they have of themselves.
    So Stipe seems to be saying two things: (1) it's not about fulfilling the scriptures, it's about doing your best to make a
    real life difference in this world ... to move along the evolutionary ladder; (2) to try to do this, but if you can't meet this ideal don't get discourage ... continue trying ... and to remember that every person is special b/c after all every person is part of the machine of nature/god.

    "It's the poison that in measures brings illuminating vision
    It's the knowing with a wink
    The we expect from Southern women
    It's the wolf that knows which route to dig to save itself
    It's the octopus that crawled back to the sea"

    Stipe gives examples/pictures of nature (one of the themes of this song) and also presents one of the features of nature ... its will to survive ("the wolf that knows which route to dig to save itself", "the octupus that crawled back to the sea").

    "Hammered, shooting plywood in the backyard
    Laughing 'cause the racket makes the blackbirds sing
    Write the holy terror, such the marrow from the bone
    Singe your own wings burning books
    You got the chorus and the ring"

    I don't know.

    "That's when the insults start to sting
    You can't remember anything, the chorus chime in
    The Greek chorus, the machine sings
    That's when the instinct starts to ring
    You can't remember anything, the chorus chime in
    The Greek chorus, the machine sings
    That's when the calibration brittle as a stick gets you
    The gold ring and the tar museum Che Guevera wink
    Gold ring, sing..."

    Anyway he finishes the song by repeating the chorus inviting the listener to sing as part of nature.
    The gold ring I think maybe a Jungian symbol for wholeness and individuation. One way of achieving
    wholeness and individuation in Jungian psychology is by being aware of one's nature, coming to terms,
    accepting, and even loving one's shadow (which is referenced in the previous song of this album "Summer Turns to High" - "I won't step on my own shadow, no one wants to cry"). Or it could be a buddhist symbol which sees nature as interconnected, without separations. I think both interpretations are applicable to this song.



    Gabson March 12, 2010   Link
  • -1
    My InterpretationAlthough I'm wrong I had always assumed it was Stipe's opinion on the Clinton impeachment mess. I heard the first line as 'Hey there now young Willy, swing along'. The first verse dealt with the quality of Clinton's character, while the third dealt with his detractors ("Hammered, shooting plywood in the backyard
    Laughing 'cause the racket makes the blackbirds sing").
    lucid42dayon December 19, 2009   Link

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