Suspicion yourself, suspicion yourself, don't get caught
Suspicion yourself, suspicion yourself, let us out
Wilder lower wolves
Here's a house to put wolves out the door
In a corner garden, wilder lower wolves
House in order, house in order, house in order, house in order
Down there they're rounding a posse to ride

Suspicion yourself, suspicion yourself, don't get caught
Suspicion yourself, suspicion ourselves, suspicion myself
Wilder lower wolves
Here's a house to put wolves out the door
In a corner garden, wilder lower wolves
House in order, house in order, house in order, house in order
Down there they're rounding a posse to ride

Suspicion yourself, suspicion yourself, don't get caught
Suspicion yourself, suspicion yourself, let us out
Wilder lower wolves
Here's a house to put wolves out the door
In a corner garden, wilder lower wolves
House in order, house in order, house in order, house in order
Down there they're rounding a posse to ride

Suspicion yourself, suspicion yourself, don't get caught
Suspicion yourself, suspicion ourselves, suspicion myself
Wilder lower wolves
Here's a house to put wolves out the door
In a corner garden, wilder lower wolves
House in order, house in order, house in order, house in order
Down there they're rounding a posse to ride

Suspicion yourself, suspicion yourself, don't get caught
Suspicion yourself, suspicion yourself, let us out
Wilder lower wolves
Here's a house to put wolves out the door
In a corner garden, wilder lower wolves
House in order, house in order, house in order, house in order
Down there they're rounding a posse to ride

Suspicion yourself, suspicion yourself, don't get caught
Suspicion yourself, suspicion ourselves, suspicion myself
Wilder lower wolves
Here's a house to put wolves out the door
In a corner garden, wilder lower wolves
House in order, house in order, house in order, house in order
Down there they're rounding a posse to ride


Lyrics submitted by Bobo192, edited by jankout

Wolves, Lower Lyrics as written by Peter Buck Bill Berry

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Wolves Lower song meanings
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  • +5
    General Comment

    Good lord! Are people really so crazy and ignorant that they will go to great, proposterous lengths to prove a song that has absolutely nothing to do with sexuality is about sexuality, just because the singer is "gay"? Michael Stipe isn't even gay (he's bi), but that's beside the point. Even if he was gay, it's still ridiculous to think every song a gay singer's ever sung is about being gay. Does that mean every song a straight man sings is about being straight? And since when does the term "gentlemen", which isn't even used in this song, but is instead used in "Boxcars" (another song not about sexuality, actually about the movie "Elephant Man" according to the band themselves) have anything to do with homosexuality? Plain idiocy. Some people are just so stupid and discriminatory it makes me sick.

    HyperBullyon April 15, 2010   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    Michael literally admitted that lyrics on the first two albums, Chronic Town - EP, and Murmer were complete nonsense. I have heard the audio interview of this fact. Now having said that, there might still be some coherant, albeit, oblique abstract thoughts fighting through each and every song during this period, despite the admission.

    Michael is just too bright for me to think otherwise, nevertheless any attempts to dissect songs during this time will be the music listeners interpretations solely methinks...

    JP

    jpalbickeon November 24, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    this is a good song, i saw the video briefly and i thought it was good so i downloaded the song.

    underrated?

    maggotbrainon June 18, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    "Wolves, Lower" was the 1st song I ever heard from REM in 1982 when that EP, Chronic Town, put out by IRS Records during the booming Athens, GA indie scene. This song still holds up to this day, even against the material in the '90s when then started selling out big arena shows and true die-hard REM fans started to lose interest. Bottom line: their egos & wallets began to mean more to Michael Stipe & co. than their music. And we LOVED those days when they all were stoners who jammed a lot & played the local college drinking holes for free beer, LOL! The music lyrically was pretty insipid (another good thing about the Net: LYRICS!) but they had an original sound that set the standard for the '80s American indie scene popular w/college radio, where, IMHO, the "good" music got airplay--even exposure to non-conforming teenagers like me. Sweet! When Michael stopped mumbling on REM songs & one could understand him clearly (Green was that magic-yuck! album for me!) this band went downhill fast.

    pharmageekon August 19, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    It must be significant that "Wolves, Lower" and "Carnival of Sorts" both employ the phrase, "Don't get caught".

    In the latter song, this is expanded to, "Gentlemen, don't get caught," which (on the surface) refers to hoboes riding the trains at night, warning each other to be discreet. Consider the reference to "boxcars", important enough to be the subtitle of the song.

    But words have at least two meanings, as we should be aware when considering the work of a lyricist fond of ambiguity. We can parse "gentlemen" as two words, "gentle men". At the time he wrote this song, Michael Stipe was a gay man in the closet. He was a different kind of man -- more "gentle" perhaps, at least according to conventional wisdom. A stereotype, though one containing at least a kernel of truth.

    In addition we are told "suspicion yourself," which seems nonsensical...but in the context I've just described, it could mean Stipe is thinking "I have a secret; it could cause me a lot of trouble if it were discovered. To be vigilant and avoid getting 'caught' I need to be watchful for danger, even if it isn't always there." So, "suspicion yourself" refers to intentional, self-protective paranoia. The phrase is rendered in the imperative mood: indicating Stipe is urging caution not just for himself but also for others with similar leanings, the "gentle men."

    In 2007 this interpretation may seem overwrought, but for most gay men and lesbians (except those who--even from a young age--were never really closeted), there was a time in their life when maintaining that secrecy felt very much like self-preservation.

    Not merely on an internal, emotional level. Athens, GA is more liberal than other small towns, but it's not New York or Miami or San Francisco. Moreover, gay-bashings happen everywhere: including in large and supposedly-tolerant cities. Back in the early '80s when Chronic Town was released, the atmosphere was considerably more repressive than today. Sodomy laws were still prevalent. California's voters were considering whether it should be illegal to be a teacher if you were homosexual (or even a straight person who failed to condemn homosexuality).

    Extending this interpretation, "rounding a posse to ride" doesn't necessarily imply planning to hunt a criminal; it could refer to the Night Riders, the KKK. Blacks were their primary targets, true...but Klansmen and their ilk are somewhat less than tolerant of folks who are different. (White supremacists bombed a Seattle gay bar in '93.)

    Fear of "wolves at the door"--and the repeated cage/caging/prison imagery in companion song "Carnival of Sorts"--also seem relevant. I may now be wandering into actual paranoia. Though I can attest, when you're a kid perceived as "sissy": if a group of thuggish types are approaching you, they look like a wolfpack.

    The overall impression of "Wolves, Lower" is of someone fearful--imagining the worst--not entirely without justification.

    As for the "corner garden" and "house in order", you'll have to ask Michael. He might be the only one who knows.

    foreverdroneon July 17, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    It should be "wolves at the door"

    masonjaron April 09, 2021   Link
  • -1
    General Comment

    I agree with the last intrepretation except for the part about the lower wolves. I also think it's about staying in the closet about your sexuality. "..let us out.."

    The "house to put wolves out the door" is the "House in (an) order" not "House in Order". Listen carefully to the lyrics you will hear it. It's "house in an order."

    Inside this house is a posse ready to ride to kill the lower wolves (gays). The lower wolves like to hang out in the corner garden. The wolves aren't what it is feared. They are what is hunted by the order. They aren't wolves they are lower then wolves implying the order thinks that gays are lower forms of life then humans. Pretty friggin' cryptic if this is true.

    Kaflerktaon October 01, 2007   Link
  • -1
    General Comment

    I agree with the last intrepretation except for the part about the lower wolves. I also think it's about staying in the closet about your sexuality. "..let us out.."

    The "house to put wolves out the door" is the "House in (an) order" not "House in Order". Listen carefully to the lyrics you will hear it. It's "house in an order."

    Inside this house is a posse ready to ride to kill the lower wolves (gays). The lower wolves like to hang out in the corner garden. The wolves aren't what it is feared. They are what is hunted by the order. They aren't wolves they are lower then wolves implying the order thinks that gays are lower forms of life then humans. Pretty friggin' cryptic if this is true.

    Kaflerktaon October 01, 2007   Link

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