I don't know why you're mean to me
When I call on the telephone
And I don't know what you mean to me
But I want to turn you on
Turn you up, figure you out
I want to take you on

These words, you will be mine
These words, you will be mine, all the time

Now fool might be my middle name
But I'd be foolish not to say
I'm going to make whatever it takes
Ring you up, call you down, sign your name
Secret love, make it rhyme
Take you in and make you mine

These words, you will be mine
These words, you will be mine, all the time

I tripped and fell, did I fall
What I want to feel
I want to feel it now

You know with love comes strange currencies
And here is my appeal
I need a chance, a second chance, a third chance
A fourth chance, a word, a signal
A nod, a little breath
Just to fool myself, to catch myself
And make it real, real

These words, you will be mine
These words, you will be mine, all the time

These words, you will be mine
These words haunt me, hunt me down, catch in my throat
Make me pray, to say love's confines, oh

Lyrics submitted by Novartza

Strange Currencies Lyrics as written by Peter Buck Bill Berry

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Strange Currencies song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentI've never thought of it like the guy ruined the relationship. I've always thought this was a passionate crush almost. He really wants this person, but they don't necessarily want hiim. It's full of emotion - something which many feel at times when you feel you are unwanted by a person who you are besotted with. I can definitly relate to the being 'mean' part - a person I've liked in the past was, even though I later found that he liked me back. But it was too late then.
    butterflykiss84on March 10, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think this is one of the greatest songs for when a guy fucks up and wants to win someone back. I am trying to do that now but i am just gonna play her this song beucase i couldn't say it any better if i tried. I think the song means he messed up big time and he wants another chance to prove himself.
    Viper_xlon September 13, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is one of their finest songs ever.... I'm with Butterfly... on this one. I think it's about someone who's so intensely fixated on one person.... And I guess he calls them all the time (which, Michael, might explain why they're mean to you... If I'm right that is...) The "I'm gonna need a chance, a second chance..." part suggests that nothing has happened between them, and he's desperate for the opportunity to show this person that he'll try not to screw up, but be patient because nobody's perfect.... And "Just to fool myself, catch myself make it real..." he's been caught up in his own thoughts so much, he's desperate to make a go of it... And we've all been there!
    partofthiswasmineon January 10, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"You know with love come strange currencies"

    I love that line! Especially if you use the whole definition of currencies as: Transmission from person to person as a medium of exchange (TY Dictionary.com)....just because love has the power to bring about the strangest currencies.....aka asking for 4th chances, hunt me down, make me pray.

    Prolly my most favorite REM song ever.
    SpliceGalon July 04, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song. It is one of those songs that pulls at me. This is the kind of song all of us on this page would write, if we could, to that person who just won't or can't give us a chance. Life is so short, and to be able to find someone that you truly love is a blessing. But to not be able to get through to that person, for whatever reason, and the frustration and longing that go along with that, those are things that I guess so many of us can relate to. I remember this girl I had a huge crush on, and about the time all of that was at it's apex, this song came out. I used to just drive around and play my "Monster" cassette, and just sing along. Man, did I feel this song. God, I feel alone.
    Brandon53on May 16, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwikipedia says this song is about a stalker or unrequited love. i highly doubt the stalker interpretation but its clearly about unrequited love.

    great song.
    wesXcoreon February 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentas above! ditto, and bless! dont b alone chicken!
    little Lon May 20, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can see the unrequited love thing, but I don't think it's all that plain. He says I don't know why you're mean to me and then I don't know WHAT you mean...sounds like he's not sure what he feels. Maybe it's the thrill of the hunt. The sloppiness, the uncertainty not just of whether the felings are reciprocated, but also of what he truly feels himself.

    Perhaps its an affair, or an old romance revisited. And both people enjoy the fantasy and chase of it all, but both know or at least suspect that at some point, it will end. And end that's protracted by a familiar breaking point where their "currencies" no longer jive. But for this moment in time, it's extremely intense and foolish and careless, but wonderful.
    jmearchon January 14, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn 2003, my husband left me for a year. He was seeing another woman. I remember listening to this song over and over and over again. The part where he says, "I don't know why you're mean to me when I call on the telephone..." that always hit me so deep because I'd call in desperation, just trying to get him back and he'd be so cold and so heartless. And then, "These words, you will be mine... all the time..." They made me feel stronger. I'm really not sure why because they are just words, but the emotion behind them was so intense! "Going to make whatever it takes, ring you up, call you down, sign your name, secret love... Couldn't I take you in and make you mine?" There's not many parts of this song that didn't mean something to me during that hard time. I agree, it's about unrequited love. Fortunately, my husband came to his senses and we've been married for 12 years now, but... wow... this was one of the hardest parts of my life and this song... it just spoke volumes for me. AMAZING SONG!!

    "I need a chance, a second chance, a third chance, a fourth chance, a word, a signal, a nod, a little breath just to fool myself, catch myself, to make it real..."
    MJM79on November 14, 2010   Link
  • 0
    MemoryIt always makes me think of this dorky but sweet boy who used to call me when I was in high school and kept calling, no matter how mean I was to him. Despite that, I love this song, and I am sorry that I was so mean to you, S. I hope you're rich and happy now.
    sharkycharmingon August 07, 2013   Link

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