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R.E.M. – Underneath The Bunker Lyrics 11 years ago
Not really a song. Kind of like 'Her Majesty' by the Beatles really isn't a song. It's kind of an album outro filler.
I believe it's making fun of war. Or making the best of it when you are in the middle of it. Humanity must persevere

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R.E.M. – Crazy Lyrics 11 years ago
I think it's about being schizophrenic.

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R.E.M. – Wendell Gee Lyrics 11 years ago
The string on the line of trees could easily be his clothes line and it's just kind of the opening of him in his backyard doing laundry. It appears he is an old guy who isn't your ordinary citizen. He moves the beat of his own drum, a nonconformist. As for the middle lyrics they don't sound right. But it appears he's past on and no longer is with us. People may have understood him better if they looked at things the way he did from his perspective if they took the time to get to know him.

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R.E.M. – Can't Get There From Here Lyrics 11 years ago
I think that is about having a solace in life or place to escape your troubles and the character in the song has lost his way to that spot, so he is in crisis at the moment.
(The backing singers apparently are trying to help him out though) LOL

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R.E.M. – Shiny Happy People Lyrics 11 years ago
I think this songs totally sarcastic. It's about the shiny happy pretentious socialite crowd. They are all smiles and want everyone to know how happy and prosperous they are. When actually they are full of crap and a bunch of superficial idiots. They bury their love in the ground. No time to cry about broken love. Just show everyone how happy you are.

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R.E.M. – Feeling Gravity's Pull Lyrics 11 years ago
The songs on this album were not written at the same time under some sort of cohesive theme of Fables of Reconstruction. It's more likely that that is the theme they chose to go with for the group of songs they were working on when they were in the studio at the time that sounded the tightest and had the most worked out content and sound.

I have seen REM as early as 1984. Some of these songs were written at the same time the first and second albums songs were written. As a matter of fact, Driver 8 is on youtube.com in a concert in Passiac in 6/9/84 (Check out the user REMChout). (Fables was released a year later: 6/10/85)

Themes running through each song of an album are the stuff of progressive bands (like Yes and Gentle Giant). Typically not alternative bands.

Typically with other artists in other genres it's the producers role to help (at the prodding of the label) to find 'a theme' with the artists to tie all the songs together and work with them to do so. Simply so people don't think it's too eclectic an album.

This album has songs with different musical styles because the band wrote them at different times and were into different things musically at different times.

'Can't get there from here' sounds WAY different then 'Wendell Gee' and 'Auctioneer' sounds WAY different then either of those two tunes. Artists evolve and change and are influenced all the time by different things. Especially if you are busy touring writing happens when it happens (in the tour bus, over fast food or dingy hotel rooms or rehearsals after sound check) and then after the tour you are back in the studio trying to make sense of new material.

So if there is a theme based on all reconstruction era dashed hopes (or whatever) I think it's pretty loose at best. I would suggest focusing on just looking at the song for it's own sake not trying to get it to fit an album Theme. To me I think this is just a psychedelic song about how you can do anything in your dreams. Your superman 'Let me show you what I can do with it''Time and distance are out of place here'

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R.E.M. – Just A Touch Lyrics 11 years ago
He meaning 'Michael Stipe"

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R.E.M. – Just A Touch Lyrics 11 years ago
I remember seeing REM in the late 80's in New Haven, CT. He told a story about seeing an Elvis impersonator they night Elvis died. He had literally crumpled to the floor on stage (ie the impersonator in this story.) The name of the impersonators show was Just a Touch.

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R.E.M. – Moral Kiosk Lyrics 11 years ago
I think its a jibe to Society because it's become so organized with drive throughs and accessibility of goods that people have to go to a Moral Kiosk to get their religion. They find this more comfortable and attractive because they can no longer think for themselves and establish their own beliefs.

People would rather focus on scandals and cutting each other down rather then working on their own faith.

Religion has been sold to the public like everything else as a commodity like food, drugs, music and the arts.

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R.E.M. – Life And How To Live It Lyrics 11 years ago
[At] the LA Universal Amphitheatre 9-86 show
[...] Michael just told this story [...]: "A man had a house, he built a wall
down the middle of it, he had an apartment on *this* side, he had an apartment
on *this* side. [To a screaming person in the audience:] Shut up. In *this*
apartment he had furniture, clothes, food, books... a cat. In *this*
apartment he had different food, different clothes, different furniture,
different books. And a gerbil. ...No that's not true. He would live over on
this side for a while, until he got tired of it, then he would take off his
clothes and put his books down on the counter, and he'd move over to *this*
side for a while until he got tired of it and then move back over to *this*
side and he flip-flopped back and forth until he died. When he died they went
into the house and they crawled back in the back apartment, back in this
closet, over *here*... And the whole closet was filled, floor to ceiling,
with [someone in the crowd yells 'Gerbils!'] -- this is *my* story, c'mon you
guys... This is true, by the way, this is incidentally a *true* story. Peter
can confirm it for you [Peter Buck, wryly: 'This is indeed true.'] Must be
getting old.... When he died they went back in this part *over here* and in
the closet they found these books piled up, from the floor to the ceiling,
packed in, and it was this book that he wrote and every single copy of the
book that was ever printed was in there, he never gave one away or showed it
to anybody so nobody ever knew that he wrote it. He just kept it there. And
the name of the book was 'Life and How to Live It.'" [Furious guitar intro to
song.]

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R.E.M. – Wendell Gee Lyrics 11 years ago
Wendell Gee was a local businessman in the Athens, Ga area.
* He was a used-car salesman, if I remember correctly. In
the "Shiny Chatty People" interview, the guys say there is a little town near
Athens where there are a bunch of businesses owned by people named "Gee" --
pool hall, bail bondsman, etc. "You just know it must be some kind of family,"
Peter says. He doesn't quite explain why they used the name in the song,
though

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R.E.M. – Driver 8 Lyrics 11 years ago
From Songfacts.com: - it's nice that you think so hard about these things, but you're way off! First, you're confusing the Reconstruction (which is the term used to referred to the period following the Civil War that included trying to rebuild the political and economic infrastructure of the South and integrating the newly-freed slaves into society) with the Industrial Revolution. Second, the Pullman strike was a strike by workers who built railway cars, not by railway workers, especially not by engineers. Third, all of your interpretations are reading far too much into the song. Some of the lyrics can actually be taken literally. There's no reference to a strike in the song. It was common for engineers to sometimes push themselves and their trains too hard, trying to keep on schedule. This was a huge safety concern. The "take a break" was a literal plea.
- HelmetHead, Burlington, VT

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R.E.M. – Driver 8 Lyrics 11 years ago
From Song facts.com: The song is about a train engineer who is over-worked and urged by the conductor to take a break. That message could be applied to many facets of life. Trains were chosen according to Buck because the band grew up near the train tracks. According to lead singer Michael Stipe it's because they represent part of "mythological America."

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R.E.M. – Driver 8 Lyrics 11 years ago
I have to agree with Kaflerkta. Your applying way too much meaning to this song to justify an album theme. You should check out youtube for versions of this song for proof of this. Stipe throws around different words in different versions. In the early days lyrics were very insipid. They just fill space. The more important thing they helped convey was the melody which in this song and many REM songs weaves beautifully between the guitar bass and drums. The voice is just another instrument. The exact words in the early days changed often. Which added to the bands mystique.

Even 'Can't get there from here' which has most of the lyrics in the video has lyric changes in it through out the life of the band. Stipe would even mix up versus live because he couldn't remember the lyrics.

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R.E.M. – Can't Get There From Here Lyrics 11 years ago
I think these lyrics are inaccurate. (Although a lot these are in the video) I am pretty sure it's:

When the world is a monster
Bad to swallow you whole
Kick the clay that holds the teeth in
Throw your troubles out the door

If you're needing inspiration
Philomath is where I go (I go)
Lawyer Jeff he knows the low-down
He's mighty glad to visit home

(I've been there I know the way)
Can't get there from here
(I've been there I know the way)
Can't get there from here
(I've been there I know the way)
Can't get there from here
(I've been there I know the way)

If your hands are feeling empty
Kicking jumping off the ground
Chris is sure to share the tears out
Brother Ray can sing my song

(I've been there I know the way)
Can't get there from here
(I've been there I know the way)
Can't get there from here
(I've been there I know the way)
Can't get there from here
(I've been there I know the way)

Hands down, Calechee bound
Land locked, kiss the ground
The dirt of seven continents going
round and round
Go on ahead Mr. Citywide
hypnotize, suit and tie
Gentlemen testify

If your world is a monster
Bad to swallow you whole
Philomath they know the low-down
Throw your troubles out the door

(I've been there I know the way)
Can't get there from here
(I've been there I know the way)
Can't get there from here
(I've been there I know the way)
Can't get there from here
(I've been there I know the way)

(Thank you, Ray)

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R.E.M. – Catapult Lyrics 11 years ago
These lyrics are close but even though they are all over the internet they are not quite accurate. (Not that anyone can really what they were saying clearly in the early albums.
I am not sure it's Opie either. I think he says 'Cowered in our hole...Hungry or Henry mouthed a question' and the second sentence in the bridge I am pretty sure is 'March could get darker'.

I think the meaning of this song is a little dark. It's about kids getting punished for some reason and hiding from their parents because the beatings are coming. Hear the howl of the rope as it hits your fanny. They can't understand why they were getting beaten which is why they are asking if they missed anything. The beatings could get worse in March. Did I miss anything? Did I I miss anything?

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R.E.M. – Second Guessing Lyrics 11 years ago
The lyrics are not correct. Very close though. The Mike Mills counter lines aren't listed "I'm not trying to Second Guess You". Also it's not 'Be in my club, write a book this season'. It's 'Peter, Mike and Bill write a book this season.'. Stipe has said during shows that he wrote them into the song. Why, I am not sure. There could be meaning to that like maybe they have tried to predict him and pissed him off, or he just wanted to write them into the song.

However, clearly the song though is about someone Stipe knows who he doesn't like very much. (So since he has been with his band mates over 27 years I tend to think it's not about them and he just wanted to write them into the song like he says.) The person likes to guess or predict what he's going to say before he finishes saying it. I think the other two questions are rhetorical to Stipe. Stipe wonders what their look will be this season and what book will book they will read this season. Clearly the person isn't a voracious reader if it takes them a whole season to read a book. Book could also symbolize a lover. Therefore, I think both rhetorical questions are filled with sarcasm. The "Here we are" comment either means 'this is the way things are' or this is 'where we are at.' Or, it could be simply he's driving this person somewhere and when they get there he says 'Here we are'.

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