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Alabama 3 – U Don't Dans 2 Tekno Anymore Lyrics 6 years ago
So what was the "funny little heart-shaped pill?"

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R.E.M. – Welcome To The Occupation Lyrics 7 years ago
@[ZinbobDan:2010] I'm assuming that by "applies to" you mean that it could be interpreted this way, even though it seems pretty clear that that US military activity (including support of authoritarian groups & regimes, as well as more blatant "occupation") in Latin America was the actual inspiration, and of course was more topical at the time (late '80s).

I do think a lot of the references in this song are specific to Latin America, but it's true that a lot of people have rightly compared the current "war on terrorism" wars (as well as the earlier Iraq War in the '90s) to the proxy wars that the US was constantly getting into during the Cold War. (I'm including military activities throughout much of the developing world (the phrase "third-world" was originally a reference to those countries that were not considered to be on either side ("first world" meant NATO & allies, "second world" was Warsaw Pact & allies)), especially Latin America, as well as full-blown wars like the Korean & Vietnam "conflicts" in SE Asia.)

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The Verve Pipe – The Freshmen Lyrics 7 years ago
@[discern:2008] Actually "slept" is far more likely: "a week's worth of Valium" isn't enough to kill a young, generally healthy person except in combination with other sedative drugs (e.g., alcohol, opiates, barbiturates, general anesthetics (Michael Jackson's death was attributed to a combination of multiple benzodiazepines (the toxicology report found Ativan and Versed) and propofol (Diprivan), although the propofol was the part that was publicized most in the mass media because medical professionals were scandalised that his doc was giving it to him in his home as a sleep aid — you're only supposed to use that stuff in a monitored setting with an senior anesthesiologist and stuff).

On another note...I was totally baffled by the "shoe full of rice" thing. Your idea is the best (though admittedly, only) one I've heard.

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R.E.M. – Welcome To The Occupation Lyrics 7 years ago

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R.E.M. – World Leader Pretend Lyrics 7 years ago
Since you mention this bit...I find the switch to 2nd person in the final verse ("You fill in the mortar, you fill in the harmony") rather abrupt and weird. Who is the narrator addressing, all of a sudden?

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Queen – We Are The Champions Lyrics 9 years ago
As I noted above, same thing happens with Michael Stipe a lot. Mercury, of course, was not gay but bi, as is Stipe. I think there's at least one bisexual musician who people assume is gay, but I can't remember who it is.

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Queen – We Are The Champions Lyrics 9 years ago
Agree. Being an uncloseted sexual minority (he was *bi*, people!) is an obvious example of a challenge people face since, as you put it so succinctly, a lot of people "judge us for what we are but not who we are." But I agree that the underlying meaning of this song is a lot broader than just his one particular case, especially relevant though it may be for both Freddie and much of his audience.
(Curiously, people also tend to assume that R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe is gay when he's actually bi (and has never made a secret of it). I wonder what causes this sort of thing to happen. Sometimes I think bisexuality has been kind of "forgotten" by the media & pop culture – even though Woody Allen once said he couldn't understand why more people weren't by, because it'd double your chances for a date on Saturday night.)

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Queen – Another One Bites The Dust Lyrics 9 years ago
...so smart you can't even spell "hence?"

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The Velvet Underground – Heroin Lyrics 9 years ago
Yeah, there's a definite Romantic quality to this song, particularly evident in the lyrics you mentioned and their continuation, "away from the big city/where a man cannot be free...." The Romantic movement in the arts and literature was largely a reaction against what the Romantics viewed as the unemotionalism and rationalisation of nature and was characterised by a "return to simpler times" kind of attitude along with a more emotional/intuitive approach and idealisation of nature. Coleridge, who was a lifelong opium addict (he originally started taking it as an analgesic), was considered to be one of the original Romantics. Coleridge himself explicitly wrote that _Kubla Khan_ was inspired by an "opium dream;" it's not clear to what extent his drug experiences influenced his other works. I was reminded of _Rime of the Ancient Mariner_ by the lyrics about sailing; I wonder if it's just a coincidence that you and I both linked this song to Coleridge's poetry, or if these were intentional allusions on Reed's part – or, perhaps, the similarities are not intentional, but are a consequence of both Reed's lyrics and Coleridge's poetry being, er, opioid-inspired.

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The Velvet Underground – All Tomorrow's Parties Lyrics 9 years ago
It's also a reference to a nursery rhyme:

Monday's child is fair of face
Tuesday's child is full of grace
Wednesday's child is loving and giving
Thursday's child works hard for a living
Friday's child is full of woe
Saturday's child has far to go
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay

(There have been lots of variants on this, as with many other old rhymes and things.)

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The Velvet Underground – All Tomorrow's Parties Lyrics 9 years ago
Nobody never stopped you from listening to whatever you prefer. Maybe you'd have more time to listen to Handel if *you* didn't waste so much time whining. Many positive things can be said about _The Messiah_ (and other great oratorios of the 17th century), but it is neither rock nor underground. Name-dropping combined with making a preposterous claim is destined to fail rather pathetically to fulfil your desperate desire to convince somebody out there that (contrary to all appearances) you're actually clever and deep.

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The Velvet Underground – Waiting for the Man Lyrics 9 years ago
Yup, "my man" is the dealer.

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10,000 Maniacs – Eat For Two Lyrics 9 years ago
Any ideas about the lightning-strikes-twice reference and "borrowed bed" in the first verse?

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The Cure – Let's Go to Bed Lyrics 9 years ago
Yeah...one of many lyrics that made me wonder if the narrator and/or his "bed buddy" are mentally "with it." But heck, as long as you have fun, who cares if you're 100% sane. :)

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R.E.M. – Drive Lyrics 9 years ago
When Bush (GHW, that is) got whacked! :)

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R.E.M. – Drive Lyrics 9 years ago
How d'you figure?

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R.E.M. – (Don't Go Back To) Rockville Lyrics 9 years ago
There are a lot of much worse places than Rockville. Being a DC suburb it's relatively sophisticated (as suburbs go) and at least it's not Bible Belt.
Where did you end up going to college anyway?

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The Impressions – People Get Ready Lyrics 9 years ago
We sang this in church recently and there was one lyric nobody could understand. It goes:

"There ain’t no room for the greedy sinner
Hurt everybody just to save their soul"

The obvious question is of course how would a "greedy sinner" expect to save their own soul by hurting everybody else?

The rest of the song is pretty straightforward, about having faith being "saved," etc., with the train being netaphoriclaly headed for heaven.

Any ideas?

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The Cure – This Is a Lie Lyrics 9 years ago
Any idea what Mrs Smith objected to?
I'm sorry to hear that he regretted writing it, because as you say, it's beautiful, and also because I would have hoped he would have succeeded in defending it to her, or at least convincing her to "agree to disagree."

Robert has always struck me as a free spirit, so it seems strange that he would let the opinions of someone else – even someone he loves – make him regret expressing his ideas.

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The Cure – This Is a Lie Lyrics 9 years ago
I agree with the many posters who think this song is criticising the idea of absolutism, manichaeanism, black-or-white thinking, etc., in general, but the lies of this sort that are specifically cited in the song – monogamist relationships and religion (at least the sort – including the vast majority of sects of the two religions that have taken over most of the world...no names ;) ) where you are expected to follow a single creed and reject all others) – are great examples of The Cure's individualistic, free-spirited anti-conformism. I mean, religion and monogamy are two things that an awful lot of people just take for granted. There are still parts of the world where, if you aren't a follower of the dominant religion, you're considered to be a bad person, and even in relatively tolerant communities, a lot of people who don't identify with any religion are treated with disrespect (at best!). Those who have polyamourous relationships ("parallel monogamy," as we used to call it at university – satirising the sociologists' jargon, "serial monogamy") are saddled with countless pejorative labels too: sluts, adulterers, immature, just making excuses to sleep around, etc.

It's a beautiful song. Kind of sad, somehow.

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Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing Lyrics 9 years ago
Well, of course it would be in a metaphorical sense, but I think it's unlikely in any case. For one thing it just seems out of character for the Pet Shop Boys. Also, as I mentioned in my other comment, the term "human immunodeficiency virus" had just been in use for 2 years at the time this song came out, and that's within the medical community; I don't remember exactly when it first became well known to the public. I think the syndrome itself was well known by this time (and hate groups had started claiming it was God's punishment for homosexuals early on, well before the virus was discovered); it was its cause that was newly confirmed – the virus was discovered independently by two groups of researchers in I think 1983 or '84, but they couldn't agree about its precise nature (they weren't even sure that they had both found the same virus (although it turned out they were), though each group was sure that "their" virus was the cause of the disease), and it wasn't until '86 that they figured out which group was right and renamed the virus (the two research groups each had their own name for it) HIV.

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Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing Lyrics 9 years ago
IIRC this song is from 1988's Introspective. At the time, AIDS was just becoming widely known (the peculiar signs of extreme immunocompromise in gay men, Haitians, people with blood disorders like hemophilia, and IV drug uses had first been noted in 1981, the syndrome was named "AIDS" in '82, and the virus was identified and the name "HIV" coined for it in '86; the earliest known case was in 1959 in West Africa). So while, to the best of my knowledge, Neil and Chis never explicitly said that the song was about HIV/AIDS (gay men were still largely very closeted at the time), it seems likely.

"Watch them all fall down" sounds to me like a reference to watching friends die. It always makes me think of a string of several OD deaths in the crowd I went with at university.

Another interesting recollection (this one amusing rather than sad) pertaining to this song: Rolling Stone described the video as the "most homoerotic video ever" or something to that effect, even though it was (superficially, that is) about 2 men in love with the same woman. I was quite young at the time and had difficulty figuring out precisely was meant by "homoerotic." (I was embarrassed to ask anybody, since it was obvious enough from the context that it had something to do with gay sex.)

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R.E.M. – Drive Lyrics 9 years ago
It was more Reagan's America, really. GHW Bush (like his son) was quite mediocre and accomplished very little himself – just "more of the same:" more Trickle-down BS, American exceptionalism, cutting back individual liberties (even those guaranteed by the Constitution), making the national debt worse, kowtowing to reactionary hate groups on the religious extreme right, etc. The Gulf War was the only thing I can think of from the GHW Bush years that differed much from Reagan's policy (and even it had that "save them from themselves" quality typical of the Cold War proxy-wars).

If Stipe was sending a message to the notoriously cynical and apathetic [& not without cause] "Generation X," it was that you *can* make change happen, that the current young people have the same power to fight injustice as their predecessors in the 1960s and 1970s had,

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R.E.M. – Drive Lyrics 9 years ago
"Shack-a-lack?"
Also, how 'bout that decidedly rather creepy earlier bit, "'Tie another one to the rack?'"

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R.E.M. – Drive Lyrics 9 years ago
how so?

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R.E.M. – Drive Lyrics 9 years ago
George HW Bush (president 1988-92) presided over a recession, started a war (the first Gulf War), and continued the corporate welfare and other "trickle down" policies (which had been clearly shown to be ineffective, BTW) of his predecessor and mentor, Reagan. I was a college freshman during this election and vividly recall the widespread, palpable relief at Clinton's victory.

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R.E.M. – Try Not To Breathe Lyrics 10 years ago
I got a sense for what this song was about the first time I listened to it - not something that happens to me often with R.E.M. songs! And it seems a number of people had the same idea I did, at least in general.

It has always seemed very clear to me that this song is about someone who is terminally ill and has decided he wants to discontinue life-prolonging treatment (the phrase "try not to breathe" makes me think of turning off life support, in particular), or possibly even commit suicide "actively." (It has always struck me as bizarre that it's considered ethical for doctors to, e.g., remove a feeding tube, so that the patient is slowly dehydrated to death, but not okay to give them a super-sized shot of hydromorphone (Dilaudid) or fentanyl or something so that they get to die quickly and happy. This idea that there's some genuine ethical passive assisted suicide is ssomeu0w more ethical than the active sort seems ridiculous to me. If I were terminally ill, I'd want to go happy, not in pain.)

I don't think the narrator is actively suicidal, rather, that he has made a rational decision to be passively suicidal, and is at peace with it. He is trying to explain his choice, probably to a loved one who doesn't want to accept it. "I have seen things that you will never see," he says, hoping that this person whom he cares for will ever have to experience what he has experienced; as such the loved one won't completely understand what has led him to this decision, but, he hopes, can come to accept and respect it. "These are the eyes that I want you to remember," he says: he wants his family to remember him as he is, with his brain still working, his personality intact, etc., rather than be burdened with memories of him in pain that no amount of fentanyl can control, or so demented he doesn't recognize any of them anymore, or otherwise so changed by his illness that in a sense he is no longer the same person that they have known.
[BTW: I'm using "he," "him," etc. in the generic sense - not to imply that it's necessarily a man. I thought I'd probably better make that clear, since some people seem to have opinions as to whether the narrator in this song is a dude or a chick. If you can explain to my satisfaction why it matters I'll give you a great big e-hug.]

When "these shivers subside" it means he is at peace. I interpreted the shivering to mean either tremors caused by the disease (or possibly the treatment), or else a metaphor for the tension of being undecided or uncomfortable with things as they are - notice he also tells the person.

One thing I can't quite make sense of is the "I need something to fly over my grave again" line. It does seem, as GrungeRock1991 (greetings, fellow gen-Xer!) suggested, like it is a reference to avoiding death, but to me the narrator sounds like he is ready, like he doesn't want to keep postponing the inevitable while he becomes more and more ill, the pain and inability to do things for hixxmself gets worse, etc.

And then there's the line, "I can hold my head still with my hands at my knees," which has me completely at a loss. (I once even tried doing this from various positions; it didn't seem especially challenging, nor did it provide any clue as to the meaning of the line.) Any speculation? What am I missing here? The one consistent thing I saw was that it seems to be a gesture of sorrow, like he's crying and doesn't want anyone to know it, especially the psych types, 'cause if they get any reason to believe he's depressed, he's afraid they won't sign on to letting him die.
One last thing: the person who transcribed it interpreted the last few words of the 1st verse as "shiver and fold"...I heard this bit as either "shivering cold" or "shiver in [the?] cold." I guess that's too coherent, even though it still doesn't make 1000% sense. (After all, this is R.E.M., the band that believes in coyotes and time as an abstract.)

"The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite" (the next song on the album) is a curious contrast to this one, not only musically but also in the sense that it's a very difficult-to-understand song, with a lot of absurd metaphorical (I hope, since it makes zero sense taken literally) references to things like Dr. Seuss and an adorable little desert viper and whatnot.

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R.E.M. – How The West Was Won And Where It Got Us Lyrics 10 years ago
pingdjip - An alkali isn't a salt; it's a kind of chemical compound that neutralizes acids. Alkalis are often very caustic. (Lime (CaOH2), mentioned later in the song, is an example of an alkali. Coincidence?)

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R.E.M. – World Leader Pretend Lyrics 10 years ago
What are you so eager to defend Reagan from? Who said this song had anything to do with Reagan?

Since you're the one who brought it up, though...Reagan didn't "win" the Cold War; that's just a popular conceit of the American right wing. He basically happened to be in the right place at the right time. The one thing he can sort of be given credit for is not trying to get in the way when other people (like Mikhail Gorbachev and John Paul II) were ddd ffactually working for peace. Indeed, during his first term he was almost obscenely eager to escalate Cold War hostilities (SDI, anyone? And conservatives claim Democrats are irresponsible with the taxpayers' money!) If any single individual is responsible for the end of the Cold War, it's Gorbachev. (That's why he, and not your man Ronnie, won the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize.)

Michael Stipe isn't stupid. While I can't speak for him, I think it's a safe bet that he wouldn't be in favor of gratuitous wars of conquest, corruption (and the resulting excessive influence on politicians of corporate magnates), using "national security" as a dubious excuse to suspend civil liberties, and all that other stuff your right-wing buddies seem to think is so wonderful and all-American. (See the song "Welcome to the Occupation," which has to do with just one of the horrible things old Ronnie was up to during the Cold War. A number of Latin American countries are still suffering today as a result of the Reagan administration's support for tyrants.)

That said, I don't think that this song is intended to be political, based on what Michael Stipe has said in interviews & stuff.

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The Cure – Let's Go to Bed Lyrics 10 years ago
I think that was Eddie Vedder too, though not sure. Regardless, it makes sense: people will always come up with their own interpretations of a song, whatever the lyricist intended (including whether s/he intended for there to be a meaning at all). (This site is proof of that!)

This particular song seems to be "about" meaninglessness itself...which makes the quote monster36604 cited, in which Robert claims not to be "a fan of irony," rather...ironic. (which is itself ironic) Whether he's a fan of irony or not, I think he does employ it on occasion. (This song, for one.)

The last verse is where I think Robert comes closest to succeeding at defying the very concept of meaning, but I couldn't help getting a certain impression even from these lyrics, cryptic as they are. This verse seems to be suggesting that the girl isn't entirely lucid, with her worsening vision and declining sense of reality; I can't help speculating that perhaps our noble narrator slipped a sedative-hypnotic (e.g., Halcion, temazepam, Rohypnol, etc.) in her drink.

Alternatively, it could just be that she can't see because it's gotten too dark, while the narrator can still navigate because wherever he's taking his latest conquest, he knows his way well (presumably having brought female companions there on many previous occasions). I admit to being confounded by the line, "you wonder if it's real because it couldn't be rain," if it's not simply pointing out the derealization the girl experiences (whether because she's drugged or because she's simply excited/nervous/whatever, or for some other reason I haven't thought of). I'm sure I'm not the first person to notice that Robert Smith frequently mentions rain in such probably-not-entirely-literal contexts in his lyrics. Anybody have any clues (or pure speculation) to contribute on the topic of rain in Cure songs? Also, I wonder about the "white room" and why he used to come to there alone. (It sounds like a room in an old-fashioned insane asylum – maybe neither of the pair is "all there" mentally.)

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The Cure – Let's Go to Bed Lyrics 10 years ago
Someone obviously hasn't heard of open relationships ("polyamorous," I believe, is the PC term these days). Mind you, my impression is that this guy is doing something very different and that this particular relationship is probably rather dysfunctional.

Don't assume that the only people who have trouble with relationships are those who were picked on as kids. Frankly society often encourages behaviors that lead to dysfunctional relationships. Smith is being ironic; he's not saying that this is a desirable attitude.

42 steps: I also got the impression that they're both trying to avoid being the one to say "I love you," in part out of not wanting to be perceived as "needy" and in part because they're afraid the other person might not respond in kind; so each of them is waiting for the other to say it first.

How does milk shake, anyway?

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R.E.M. – The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight Lyrics 10 years ago
Uh, by the way, anybody know what "moogie" means?

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R.E.M. – The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight Lyrics 10 years ago
Well, I think you're not the only one who had trouble with that line, and yes, he does slur together some syllables (and sing others really fast).

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R.E.M. – The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight Lyrics 10 years ago
Oops, I deleted a bit by accident (starting in the second paragraph, at "here are some of the best/worst" - then you may notice the strange, random "x" that snuck its way in there).

It was meant to be (the missing stuff is in << >>'s):

[When the album first came out I was keeping a journal (a real, non-virtual journal!), in which I tried to figure out the lyrics to some of the songs on this album. I still have it. I was baffled by the "call me when you try to wake her" bit; I did come up with a few really awful guesses, which I listed...here are some of the best/worst:]
<<
-Homing in on the right lake hub
-Whole minute rhyme or wink at her
-Come in, traveler, welcome to
-C'mon, men, try it naked
-Combing hair and make-up
-Humming along, just make it up [curiously appropriate, eh?]

(for some reason "Jamaica" never occurred to me)

BTW, sidewinders everywhere in the world are venomous (I've heard of a few types of non-venomous snakes, like sand boas or pacific boas, sidewinding on sand or mud flats, but all the snakes generally known by the name "sidewinder" are venomous). I am getting to know more and more people who have venomous snakes (they invariably insist that venomous snakes should not be called "pets"), but I'm quite sure none of them would be so >>
[irresponsible as to leave their fanged buddy in the keeping of somebody who doesn't have the necessary knowledge and experience to care for these potentially dangerous animals!] (potentially dangerous, but lovable, of course :) )

Sorry 'bout that. -picturesofthesun

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R.E.M. – The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight Lyrics 10 years ago
But why a *sidewinder* in particular? Seems a very odd choice.

(It might be of note that it's hard to tell if a snake is sleeping or just chilling out: as I mentioned, they don't have eyelids; they sleep with their eyes open. Don't assume that if Madame Sidewinder appears to be snoozing, she won't bite you: they're very light sleepers, and biting may be a reflex to defend against predators that would try to take them in their sleep. And like most snakes, they tend to be shy and nervous, especially around giant, vicious predators like h. sapiens.)

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U2 – Pride (In the Name of Love) Lyrics 10 years ago
Azzathoth: I think you're wrong about the "betrayed with a kiss" line (it is quite a well-known quote, strongly associated with the story of Judas's betrayal of Jesus); on the other hand, I also think you're right that some people are indulging in wishful thinking. I can understand how some Christians might want to believe that this song is about Jesus, but some are really stretching their imaginations when there are far more plausible interpretations. Not to mention, of course, the fact that Bono himself has said on several occasions that the song is about MLK Jr. While it does contain this one clear-cut *reference* to Christianity, this is not a song that is primarily *about* Jesus or Christianity. I would hope that even the most determined Christian would respect the fact that Bono has acknowledged the song to be about Dr King.

Incidentally...something to keep in mind if you think (or want to think) that a song has a Christian theme is that just because the song's author is a Christian doesn't mean that person shares your beliefs on all relevant matters. Christianity has always, from the earliest times, been notable for its diversity; even during the most oppressive eras, when a Church hierarchy tried to enforce a single orthodoxy on all Christians, there were still lots of different beliefs, and today, thanks to increasing religious liberty, there are practically as many Christianities as there are Christians! So an interpretation in terms of *your* idea of Christianity may be very different from anything Bono, for example, would actually intend. In fact, he may have very different beliefs from yours.

That said...Regarding some of the vaguer, more difficult-to-interpret (or difficult-to-agree-upon) lyrics, I have a suggestion: let's focus on certain phrases we've had trouble coming to anything even resembling an agreement on, both the ones that aren't quite as obvious and could refer to several possible things (except perhaps for wishful thinkers :-}), like "barbed wire fence," "come and go," "washed on an empty beach," and the more vague ones, that seem like they might refer to an almost unlimited number of different people, episodes, or situations: "one man come in the name of love," "...justify," "...overthrow," "...resist." I would start with the former, as I do have a sense that those are most likely intended to refer to a particular episode or person.

Let's try to come up with a list of possible interpretations for each of these individually and then discuss which interpretation seems to make the most sense for each line (while keeping in mind the possible relationships among the different lyrics both throughout the song and within individual verses and lines).

What do people think?

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U2 – Pride (In the Name of Love) Lyrics 10 years ago
In some contexts, "pride" would refer to arrogance, the "sin of pride," etc.
Here I think it means dignity.

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The Cure – Let's Go to Bed Lyrics 10 years ago
What nostalgia this song evokes! When I was a teenager it had a sort of cult-within-a-cult status all its own among Cure fans. You know how enthusiastic teenagers can be about anything that even appears to have the slightest, remotest bit to do with sex. Since you just have to look at this song literally, no interpretation required, to see the sex references, we were mad for it. Everybody got a particular kick out of the line "You think you're tired now, wait until three." Clearly, it was universally agreed, the narrator is (or is trying to come across as) a master seducer.

Another fond recollection from my teen years that's kindled by this song is jaded-chic. This was the period when it was considered cool to be cynical and alienated and wear black a lot. (This in turn generated a meta-cynicism movement in rejection of what was viewed – probably correctly, in many cases – as merely affected cynicism. IMO this was what generated such phenomena as, for example, South Park, which often makes fun of the sort of cynicism associated with "Generation X.") The distrust (or perhaps disdain would be a better word) for authority was in some ways kind of like in the '60s, although the widespread cynicism was very different from the peace-and-love mood of the '60s. (I'm not old enough to recall the '60s or even more than a tiny bit of the '70s, first-hand, so this is based on the popular reputation of that era along with stories I've heard from older friends.) It often provided, at the very least, a convenient excuse to ignore rules and such; for example, it was widely agreed that the school administration's priority was covering their own asses.

I remember a number of times when friends or acquaintances would listen to a group for a while, then decide that group had gotten too 'commercial.' (This typically meant that the band in question had yielded to pressure from their manager and agreed to appear on MTV.) Other quirks of this time: at some point (I believe around 1990 or '89), it became not merely socially acceptable, but actually cool to be on antidepressants. I accidentally provoked a brief wave of interest in Voltaire among my classmates when I did a book report on _Candide_ (which rejects the more standard Englightenment claim that humanity is essentially good, with numerous counterexamples as well as plenty of humor and irony).

Approaches to relationships among this crowd varied, but a lot of people rejected the idea of monogamous or long-term relationships and took a rather Marquis de Sade approach (another Enlightenment figure who didn't buy into the typical world-view of the _philosophes_) - okay, not quite that extreme, but they did like his idea of "do whatever feels good," and I recall his name getting dropped a lot. When I was in college, a lot of people rejected marriage as a discriminatory institution that privileged heterosexual monogamy, but some went further and rejected monogamous relationships in general, or even relationships in general. (Most of these people have since gotten married.) Nobody used the phrase "make love," or referred to being in a relationship as "dating" or the like: people in relationships were "having sex" or, if one preferred to be euphemistic, "hanging out." The new approach was to have sex with any of your friends whom you found attractive. In our 1st year of college, a lot of people in my class got involved in open relationships with people several years older than ourselves. Sex was something you did for fun, whenever you felt like it and could find a willing and attractive partner, although there were long-term relationships (that is, people who slept together on a regular basis). Needless to say, this led to a lot of one-night stands and brief relationships (and a lot of things people regretted later; many of us had arrived at college not recognizing the awkwardness that being around a former sex partner with whom one has had a falling-out could entail). (Fortunately, there was also a strong emphasis on using condoms; anyone who refused to use one probably would have been ostracized, or at the very least, would have an extremely tough time finding anyone willing to sleep with them.)

Despite the fact that the themes of their songs are often sharply opposed to this attitude toward life and relationships, the Cure was very popular among the disaffected, black-wearing crowd in the mid-late '80s and later on (I think the change started sometime in the early or mid-'90s, but it's hard to be sure), the beyond-cynical too-cool-to-bother-wearing-black types. (I guess this is "Generation Y;" my sister called them "Generation 'Y Not?'" in honor of of their seeming willingness to try anything.)

The point I'm getting to is that I'm not sure that Robert Smith is liable to be entirely pleased with the effect that his work seems to have had on young people. What do other people think? Has he commented on this matter?

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R.E.M. – The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight Lyrics 10 years ago
I love the verse that begins, "Baby, instant soup doesn't really grab me." (I need something more substantial, like *Nescafe*?!!!) I like all the interpretations people have come up with for the chorus, too. Imagining a snake being willing to eat *any* of those things is totally hilarious (never mind reading from Dr. Seuss to a creature that has no external ears).

When the album first came out I was keeping a journal (a real, non-virtual journal!), in which I tried to figure out the lyrics to some of the songs on this album. I still have it. I was baffled by the "call me when you try to wake her" bit; I did come up with a few really awful guesses, which I listed...here are some of the best/worstxo irresponsible as to leave their fanged buddy in the keeping of somebody who doesn't have the necessary knowledge and experience to care for these potentially dangerous animals!

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R.E.M. – Losing My Religion Lyrics 10 years ago
Interesting interpretation. Except MS is *Bi*, not gay. Important distinction.

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R.E.M. – Losing My Religion Lyrics 10 years ago
Yeah, I know Stipe is bisexual (I'm bi too and consider him something of a role model). But how do you interpret this song as being about MS's sexuality?

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The Cure – Friday I'm in Love Lyrics 10 years ago
Yeah, I got kind of bored of it back when the album first came out and it was being played everywhere, but I found that when I listened to it again recently (this is after *years* of not listening to music at all, except the occasional classical) I liked it again.

ComeOnEileen: Sorry, I wasn't sure what you were referring to by "the more sinister meaning"...could you clarify? You managed to intrigue me by your choice of words ("sinister" ). TIA.

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R.E.M. – World Leader Pretend Lyrics 10 years ago
One of the neat things about this song (and a lot of R.E.M.) is how it plays with words. Like of course the raise/raze thing. Another example is the ambiguity of the line "This is my mistake, let me make it good." Does this mean "let me fix my mistake?" Or is the narrator trying to say (using some sloppy grammar :->), "leave me to make my mistake the right way, the way I want to make it?"

I don't think this song is "about" politics at all, although my feeling about R.E.M. has always been that their songs are about whatever you make of them; I think the intended meaning has to do with someone fighting an internal war .

That said, being a gen-Xer, I can totally understand why a lot of people are reminded of the Cold War by this song, both because of the suggestive lyrics and because of when _Green_ came out (Gorbachev was doin' his thing, the Berlin wall came down the following fall - November '89, I think it was...jeez I feel old).

The imagery (mind you, this is just the imagery, not the deeper meaning of the song) makes me think of a world leader - the head of a superpower (it doesn't matter whether he's a "good guy" or not; I get a sense of him being rather arrogant and self-centered, the sort of person who thinks he knows what's best for the whole world and is happy to force it on the rest of the world) - sitting at a table covered with maps and reports and things, studying it all and trying to plan military tactics, perhaps accompanied by generals and advisers and suchlike (people who generally share his opinions, whom he appointed to tell him what he wants to hear), looking for weak spots in the enemy's defenses while trying to ensure that his country is protected, trying to get allies (allied nations and/or his political allies) to take risks instead of doing it himself, coming up with ways to use the war as an excuse to suspend civil liberties, push his domestic political agenda, etc.: the war is doing more harm to him (i.e., his country, possibly also him personally, by giving his political opponents ammunition against him) than to the enemy.

It particularly brings to mind these faux-wars like the Cold War, the War on (Some) Drugs, the War on Terrorism, as well as literal wars like the proxy wars that tend to spring up out of these "wars," or the US wars with Iraq and Afghanistan. Or for a less current example, the Wars of the Roses, in which people found themselves fighting their own cousin (the dispute that started the whole business was between Richard II and Henry IV, who were 1st cousins) or even their brother or sister, all over obscure medieval rules of inheritance.

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Simon and Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence Lyrics 10 years ago
Can you explain that? I don't get it, sorry.

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Simon and Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence Lyrics 10 years ago
FWIW, while it has a lot of information about the history of the song, the Wikipedia article only really *explains* the first line, not the song overall. It doesn't explain any of the business with the neon sign and the people worshiping it and all that, which is the part I always found really bizarre, even kind of trippy.

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Coldplay – Fix You Lyrics 10 years ago
I sing in a mixed chorus group at my school (I'm a grad student but I love music so I manage to make time for it somehow :) ), and we did this song recently. I think you're right - that's what I heard too, anyway. IIRC, the two of them met shortly after the death of Patrow's father.

Some of the song makes sense in that context but a lot of it I don't get, in particular: the entire first verse ("When you try your best but you don't succeed...") the chorus ("Lights will guide you home / and ignite your bones / and I will try to fix you," although I suppose "fix" could mean "comfort" here), and the lines "If you never try you'll never know just what you're worth" and "I promise you I will learn from my mistakes." Suggestions, anybody?

(P.S. xpwoppa, I think you mean grief/bereavement, not depression. Having experienced both, while I couldn't begin to say which is worse, I can assure you that they're very much distinct phenomena.)

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The Cure – Plainsong Lyrics 10 years ago
I first started listening to the Cure right around the time Disintegration came right out (yeah, I'm that old). I still consider it their best album.

The reference to Medieval _cantus planus_ (plainsong or plainchant) seems particularly ironic since this song has that extensive instrumental intro, whereas of course plainchant was all unaccompanied, arhythmic monophonic vocals, with the lyrics from the church liturgy. I can't think of anything they have in common.

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The Cure – Killing an Arab Lyrics 10 years ago
Yes...you can see in the prosecutor's argument how it has nothing to do with the actual crime, but with how he disapproves of Mersault's attitude. Mersault is condemned not for what he did, but for what he is.

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The Cure – Killing an Arab Lyrics 10 years ago
It's Mersault. It (sorta) rhymes with "her toe" (only the stress is on the 2nd syllable). I read L'Etranger in French b/c I couldn't decide on a translation. (Good thing I didn't have to read it out loud - mon accent Français est assez affreux.) I did get the sense that he feels like everything in his life just happens to him - even when he murders the Arab - that he has no choice at al, no free will.

He did not seem to me a typical atheist, although obviously he is one. Most atheists I know take life seriously and try to live it to its fullest, since they believe that's all that there is (no supernatural "afterlife" or anything like that). I think Mersault's atheism is an aspect of his worldview, not a cause of it. It also helps to develop his character, making him more isolated from society. One thing this book made me think about was, if I were put in that position, where I was offered the choice of either converting to some religion or being killed, would I go through the motions and pretend to buy into whatever they wanted me to believe, or would I be intellectually honest and acknowledge that I can't just make myself believe some outlandish tale simply because I want to believe it (or because someone else wants me to believe it)? In spite of all terrible things he does, Mersault is consistently honest and remains true to himself.

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The Cure – Killing an Arab Lyrics 10 years ago
He is an atheist, but that is only part of it. He is not simply non-religious, he is actively opposed to religion (and not for the usual reasons that most nonreligious people have for being opposed to religion - it's opposed to reason, it encourages bigotry, etc.). Anticlericalism is hardly unique to him, however; it has been ubiquitous in French culture since since pre-Revolutionary times.

I got the impression that Mersault's perspective (he appears to be what today would be called an antisocial personality; not sure if the term was in use when the book was written) was that, since he was already sentenced to the guillotine, he had no incentive not to do whatever he liked, including attack the priest (since they could hardly increase his punishment, no matter what he did).

Although it's been ages since I read that book (all these kids talking about reading it for school and so forth make me feel so old!), I seem to recall the priest was being rather obnoxious. As an atheist myself, I find it extremely rude and condescending when someone persists in trying to convert me to their religion after I have told them I'm not interested. (Actually, in my experience, people who go around trying to convert others to their religion generally tend to be rude and condescending from the start.) I distinctly recall feeling anger and disgust when I reached the point in the novel when Mersault is told that he can save himself by converting to Christianity. Even though I generally found him a difficult character to identify with, I nonetheless was able to agree with him on this particular point, although my reasons were very different from his. I also felt sympathy for his refusal to pretend to "get religion" even to save his life; Mersault may not have many admirable qualities, but his sense of intellectual honesty is one.

Incidentally, I can see how it would be easy for someone who had never read L'Etranger to mistakenly think this song is about bigotry or the violence in the Middle East or suchlike. (Indeed, although it of course predates the troubles in the Middle East (I believe it was published around or during WWII, certainly before the formation of the modern state of Israel in 1948), L'Etranger takes place in a French colony in North Africa, and colonialism is arguably a sort of secondary theme. Certainly it contributes to the plot involving the native woman whom Raymond abuses, and her relatives' attempts to avenge her.) I recall first making the connexion while reading the book. The sudden understanding was amusingly similar to Mersault's moment of clarity near the end of the book. It made me appreciate the song (of which I had always been fond) all the more.

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