"Diminished" as written by and Michael Mills Peter Buck....
I watched you fall.
I think I pushed.
Maybe I'm crazy
Maybe diminished
Maybe I'm innocent
Maybe I'm finished
Maybe I blacked out.
How do I play this?

I will give my best today
I will give myself away
I have never hurt anything
Is the jury wavering?
Do they know I sing?

Maybe I'm crazy
Maybe diminished
How do I
How do I play this?
Jealous lover self defense
Protective brother chemical
Dependence.
I'll consult the I-ching
I'll consult the TV
Ouija, oblique strategies.
I'll consult the law books for
Precedents.
Can I charm the jury?

I will give my best today
I will give myself away
I have never hurt anything
Is the justice wavering?
Does she know I sing
That song?
Sing along
Sing along
Sing along
(I will never hurt anything]

I watched you fall.
Maybe they'll see me,
Maybe they'll say,
"I can see the truth in his statement.
Smallpox blanket? no way."
Can I charm the jury, my defense?
Maybe I'm crazy
Maybe I'm diminished
Maybe I loved you
Baby I loved you
Baby I loved you
Baby I loved you
Baby I'm finished.

I will give my best today
I will give myself away
I have never hurt anything
Is the justice wavering?
Does she know I sing
That song?
Sing along
Sing along
Sing along
(I will never hurt anything)
I have given myself away
I have given my best today
I have never hurt anything
Is the justice wavering?
Does she know I loved you
Does she know I loved you?
Does she know I sing?


Lyrics submitted by xpankfrisst

"Diminished" as written by Michael Mills Peter Buck

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

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Diminished song meanings
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15 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentOkaaay, no-one has bothered to comment on one of Stipe's finest lyrical achievements! Nevermind, I will give it a go.

    The song is very ominous and foreboding.

    The main storyline is how he has killed his lover/girl "i watched you fall, i think i pushed" and his following descent into a spiral of guilt and madness. "maybe I'm crazy" The song tremendously describes his downfall, along with his feelings.

    The most amazing impact is belted towards the listener as in the verse whereby he relives the killing, he claims "baby i loved you" several times. He then changes his line after realising his punishment "Baby I'm finished". Here he knows how the jury will not believe his crazed self. His insanity causes him to sing, which is his the main evidence of his descent into madness. He sits in a bubble of denial as he consults his conscience "I have never hurt anything". The sad ending to this song is how we don't hear how the trial ends -because it is so obvious. But seen from the viewpoint of the man, I can sympathise so much, as it has destroyed his own life enough - without the added punishment of a prison sentence.

    As a listener, I can't put my interpretation fully into words but this song brings my sympathy levels to their highest, because, after all that has happened - he has lost his love and therefore his life.

    The lyrics for this song go on into a sequel on my version, the mood is calmer and only a faint guitar can be heard strumming away. I beleive this part is where he has been sentenced to a mental institution, as the vicious contrasting lyrics juxtapose themselves against the padded walls of the cell. The main focus of his lyrics are "I'm not over you" - how moving.
    kentboion February 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is amazing. I agree with you kentboi. Your language is beautiful and describes, what i also believe to be the meaning of this song.
    lipstick--traceon April 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDesperate sad repression.

    "I didn't hurt the one I love"
    Deny it all!

    A court case of a murdered lover used as an analogy for the feelings of persecution and denial created by irrevocably hurting the one you love.
    the_associateon December 20, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about someone whose friend died and there is mystery surrounding the death. The first person is so confused and greif-stricken, all they can remember is seeing their friend fall, the memory is hazy (Maybe I blacked out) even they themselves don't know if they are guilty or not. They're panicking because they are facing life in prison and they have also just realised how much they loved their friend. (Do they know I sing?) The singing is a metaphor for loving.

    For Jack Macleod's killer, M.H. if he did it. I'm not sure I'm allowed to post his name. But I feel for him because it's Jack's family who will get all the sympathy.
    simsfreqon January 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's about president clin-ton >_
    ripelivejamon March 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFirst of all, this song is amazing =]

    But I bought this song from Itunes and it has the above lyrics, there's a pause in the song, and then the song "I'm Not Over You" is blended into it. It's actually only like 5 lines but it's weird to have an extended version no one else seems to know about
    lexxaon September 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a song about someone who's just committed a dreadful, dreadful mistake, and moments afterwards, realises what he has done. He is debating with himself how he can explain his actions away, how he can escape the punishment which he knows surely must follow.
    solenton April 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song always reminds me of John Knowles' "A Separate Peace." In this book, the protagonist narrator is a lonely prep school student befriended by an incredibly charismatic and athletic guy. The narrator develops a jealousy for the friend's endless capabilities and effortless charm, and, in a fit of misguided "justice," causes his friend to fall out of a tree. For the rest of the book, the narrator suffers deep-rooted guilt and self-loathing. This song matches the book's tone perfectly.
    PencilNeckedGeekon April 25, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNobody's explicitly mentioned the song title yet. He's saying maybe he has diminished responsibility because he's insane ie he could get a shorter sentence or whatever.
    tombomon March 18, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSo I made a reply to the_associate but didn't realize it would be hidden by default. Synopsis is, this is obviously a metaphor for a situation in which a loved one is so easily hurt that the only way to acknowledge their feelings is to put yourself on trial and convict yourself and plead guilty for crimes you've never committed... (possibly a borderline personality disorder thing.)

    Another piece of evidence for that is the fact that "I'm Not Over You" is appended to this track.

    "I feel great
    I lied to save your feelings
    Truth convened, my head smashed through the ceiling
    I lost an arm, no one harmed, you diplomatically alarmed."

    Which is a pretty good conclusion to this song and puts it in perspective, I think.
    TheYellowSignon October 08, 2011   Link

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