Call my name, here I come
Ninety to nothing, watch me run
You call
I am ashamed to say
Ugly girls know their fate
Anybody can get laid
You want a room with a fire escape
I want to tell you how much I hate this
Don't leave that stuff all over me
It pains me
Please, just leave it
I should toss that vanity license plate
Toss that make-up painted face
Box those poems, chocolate cake
Scratch that name on the record player
Please, just leave me be
Don't lay that stuff all over me
It crawls all over
All over me

Call my name, here I come
Your last ditch lay, will I never learn?
Caramel turn on a dusty apology
It crawls all over me
You turn all over
It pains me
Please, just leave it

Lyrics submitted by Novartza

Tongue Lyrics as written by Peter Buck Bill Berry

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Tongue song meanings
Add Your Thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +3
    Song Meaning
    I'm surprised there's debate about one of R.E.M.'s most straightforward songs. Michael Stipe himself has said it's sung from the perspective of a woman (that's why he's singing in a falsetto) who can only get laid as someone's last resort, and how that makes her feel. End of story. No abusive relationship, not sung from a man's point of view, gay or otherwise. And commenter Sweet Jane is full of it - there's nothing about "making love" in the song. One of the lamest phrases in the English language. It's called SEX, people!
    clauditoriumon October 11, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    I like to think it's about a young,unpretty girl who falls in love with someone,and loses her virginity with this person. But this doesn't sound like a pleasant experience,in fact she feels ashamed,scared and soring...She would like it to end as soon as possible (please just leave me be...don't lay that stuff all over me...) because she didn't simply want to "get laid",she longed to "make love"...That's different.
    Sweet Janeon April 06, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    I think this is about being used and wanting to forget it. "you want a room with a fire escape" suggests their partner just wants to have sex and leave. I think it's about being in an unequal relationship and not feeling like you can escape. It screams of regret "call my name, here I come. your last ditch lay, will I never learn?" The other person calls, and they come running, just to be used again. The line about ugly girls suggests low self esteem, perhaps she feels she can't do any better?
    Kyanon January 14, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    above person same difference it's about people doin it
    kempeon September 05, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    It's about feeling invaded and discomforted by sex, from a female perspective.
    THE!!!on November 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    i thought that the singer's voice sounded pretty different in this one, and then i noticed that it's in a high falsetto...because he's singing as a woman. i thought that was interesting.
    lexusinabasketon December 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    Stipe is queer, not gay.
    reptileon June 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    queer and gay are SO not the same thing, though i think camp would be a better word that queer but i agree with sweet jane on this one.
    im_no_supermanon November 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    There's obivously a scene of sex taking place, and some abuse between two people. The narrator is a girl, and to me it seems like she's too weak to leave the relationship, but she knows that it seems to be more and more about having sex. The passion and the sparks of being together has been burned out, but she can't make herself leave, maybe because she feels bad for the other part, but at the same time she realize that she should move on (second verse). A beautiful song. Love the way Michael's falsetto takes this one away.
    Low Feedbackon January 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    I remember reading Stipe say something about this song to the effect of "anybody can get laid, it's just a matter of lowering your standards enough". Seems oddly relevant - it's about a girl who's in a relationship with someone because she lacks the self esteem to leave - with a guy "you want a room with a fire escape" who, equally would leave the moment a better offer came along. Kind of sad, and I suspect, kind of true. And what does Stipe's being gay have to do with anything? (I thought he was bisexual, but it hardly matters) Surely that doesn't prevent someone from singing from the point of view of someone with a different sexuality from his own?
    el_hon March 08, 2008   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

More Featured Meanings

Album art
Another Love
Tom Odell
I think the meaning is pretty clear. This person got really burned in a previous relationship, and because of this is unable to love and show care in his present one, even though he so badly wants to. It's lovely song, and very sad. You can really feel how defeated and frustrated he is with himself.
Album art
Sunglasses at Night
Corey Hart
In the 1980s, sunglasses were a common fashion for people who wanted to adopt a "tough guy" persona (note all the cop shows from that era -- Simon & Simon, Miami Vice, etc. -- where the lead characters wore shades). So I think this song is about a guy who wears shades as a way of hiding his insecurity after learning that his girlfriend is cheating on him. He's trying to pretend that he's a "tough guy" to hide the fact that his girlfriend's affair is disturbing him.
Album art
The Last Dance
Within Temptation
@Kahiara Actually I think the husband passed away, "She sang for you last night She heard you were calling" Many people say they have felt, heard, or seen their loved ones after they have passed. "Don't be scared now Close your eyes She holds guard tonight Go on forward no remorse Life will take it's course" This is said to the late husband by a third part (never named), who encourages him to pass on. Because life will eventually continue. The phrase "holds guard" refers to the (… ) which is a Christian ceremony held after someone dies. Now it is usually held right after the funeral, but in most celtiic countries the wake is held before the funeral. "She danced with you last night so you will remember All you have shared, a lifetime." This sentence feels as if the only thing it wants to convey is their history together, namely, husband and wife. For the rest it just refers back to the first verse.
Album art
X French T-Shirt
Shudder to Think
This song is timeless, and nearly 20 years after its creation, still possesses the mystique it did the first time i heard it ~1994. To me, at first blush, all those years ago, it had some kind of homo-erotic allure. The line "so that the others may do" tells of something which must be done for others to follow suit. It felt like like some kind of roxy-glam-pop invitation to sexual liberation. Upon further introspection I think the song may not have an intrinsic meaning, but simply represents a sort of "holding open the door" for people who otherwise might be affronted by this song/band's unusual style. I know, as a sort of armchair rock-historian, that there have been few bands so daring and so true to the sound that wanted to emerge from within, whether the creator wanted it or not. This band handled it with elegance and grace seldom, if ever, seen.
Album art
Mad Hatter
Avenged Sevenfold
Matt Shadows their lead singer says the song was written as per request from the developers of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Watching the initial trailers for the game & looking at production sketches reminded him of the 'S-Town' podcast & its main protagonist, John B. McLemore. Matt also comments specifically on the lyrics: "I decided that the lyrics would shadow McLemore's life." In 2012, antiquarian horologist John B. McLemore sent an email to the staff of the show 'This American Life' asking them to investigate an alleged murder in his hometown of Woodstock, Alabama, a place McLemore claimed to despise. After a year of exchanging emails & several months of conversation with McLemore, producer Brian Reed traveled to Woodstock to investigate. Reed investigated the crime & eventually found that no such murder took place, though he struck up a friendship with the depressed but colorful character of McLemore. He recorded conversations with McLemore & other people in Woodstock. McLemore killed himself by drinking potassium cyanide on June 22, 2015 while the podcast was still in production. In the narrative of the podcast, this occurs at the end of the second episode; subsequent episodes deal with the fallout from McLemore's death while exploring more of McLemore's life & character.