Her world collapsed early Sunday morning
She got up from the kitchen table
Folded the newspaper and silenced the radio
Those creatures jumped the barricades
And have headed for the sea, sea

Ooh
Ooh
Those creatures jumped the barricades
And have headed for the sea
She began to breathe
To breathe at the thought of such freedom
Stood and whispered to her child, "belong"
She held the child and whispered
With calm, calm, "belong"

Ooh
Ooh
Ooh
Ooh
She stood and whispered to her child, "belong"
She held the child and whispered
With calm, calm, "belong"

Ooh
Ooh
Ooh
Ooh
Those barricades can only hold for so long
Her world collapsed early Sunday morning
She took the child held tight
Opened the window
A breath, this song, how long
And knew, knew, "belong"
Ooh
Ooh
Ooh
Ooh


Lyrics submitted by Nelly

Belong Lyrics as written by Peter Buck Bill Berry

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Belong. song meanings
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25 Comments

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  • +3
    My Interpretation

    I always took this song quite literally: The barricades against the zombie hordes aren't going to hold much longer and then she's going to get eaten.

    What can I say? Michael Stipe is an odd guy.

    Crane42on November 30, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    meaning? cryptic. again, REM's theme is very 'meta' - can't quite put 'it' into words. somehow though i disagree with the jumping out the window with the child comment. yogaboat, explain? we have these words: belong, freedom, calm, whisper. doesn't sound suicidal to me. more like a 'becoming one' theme. no?

    omega-alatiaon December 26, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I love the vocals on this song, haha. I don't think it is about suicide either, and this is from the REM lyrics annotations FAQ:

    According to Stipe, the song is "not about defenestration"; that is, she is NOT about to jump out the window with her baby (apparent a common misinterpretation Stipe wanted to correct). [Ron Henry]

    bobwronskion May 28, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I thought it was about revolution.

    "These barricades can only hold for so long"

    I always wondered if it referred to a single event. It reminds me of when the Berlin Wall came down.

    Gay Christmas Treeon April 20, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    The thing I like about this song is that it doesn't have a simply positive or negative take on its characters. It brings up 2 images - the creatures gaining their freedom and the mother telling her child to "belong." It sounds like the creatures are threatening to the mother because "her world collapsed" because of them.

    Taken out of context, I usually think of the command "to belong" as being negative; it's telling you to be a conformist. But, when it's in the context of a mother saying it to her child, it sounds comforting and hopeful. If I hear the word "freedom" in another context, it has positive connotations but when it's in the context of "those creatures," not even a human other, it sounds frightening.

    You can't tell whether the song is on the side of belonging or of freedom though. It sounds like the mother is on the brink of a totally new world that could be horrible or wonderful for her child.

    logeson February 16, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation

    Here's my read:

    The mother is one of the "creatures" and unlike the others she eluded captivity and has settled into a domestic life.

    The repetitive line "those creatures jumped the barricades and have headed for the sea, sea" is from the newspaper / radio, it echoes in her head and signals to her that the illusion is over... it's time for her people to return to their home. She anticipates the freedom and the end of the lie.

    Her comforts to the child and the collapse of her world are a moral conflict: she must leave the child behind and hopes that unlike her, the child can belong there.

    "Creatures" is seen from the point of view of the society she lives in - they could be anything from literal monsters (a la Lovecraft?) to a foreign people or subculture who are dehumanized (think of the Jews under Nazi Germany).

    barsinisteron March 19, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I've heard that this song is about a mother and her child, and the mother is crazy. She tells her child to "belong" in society, because she does not.

    That's just what I think. shrug

    ProudestMonkey1on February 24, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    maybe I'm just reading too far into it, but for me I always think of the Berlin Wall coming down. it was a Saturday (November 9, 1989), and the woman in the song reads the news on a Sunday.

    REM songs are never simple though, I'm sure it's a myriad of things that perhaps the band members don't even recall anymore, you know?

    anyhow. awesome fucking song.

    quartkneeon September 05, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Belong almost sounds like it belongs in a comic book. Maybe the creatures are really just creatures, ect...

    iluvbigpapion May 16, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation

    Since writing the above comment, I have found REM's music video for the song. It's clear to me that the intent is political - repression of freedom in a closed society, the victory of the downtrodden and the mother's identification with the liberated. So modifying the comment above, I believe the mother's collapse is the moral imperative to sacrifice her comfort for the struggle... I believe she intends to join the "creatures" (again, the word creature is a dehumanization of the protestors by the regime), but it's not clear that she leaves the child behind. So it could either be:

    1. Belong, here, as I never could (and she leaves), or:
    2. Belong in the new place or new world that we're creating
    barsinisteron March 30, 2009   Link

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