Charades pop skill
Water hyacinth
Name by a poet
Imitation of life

Like a koi in a frozen pond
Like a goldfish in a bowl
I don't want to hear you cry

That sugar cane that tasted good
That cinnamon, that's Hollywood
Come on, come on
No-one can see you try

You want the greatest thing
The greatest thing since bread came sliced
You've got it all
You've got it sized

Like a Friday fashion show
Teenager cruising in the corner
Trying to look like you don't try

That sugar cane that tasted good
That cinnamon, that's Hollywood
Come on, come on
No-one can see you try

No-one can see you cry

That sugar cane that tasted good
That' freezing rain, that's what you could
Come on, come on
No-one can see you cry

This sugar cane, this lemonade
This hurricane, I'm not afraid
Come on, come on
No-one can see me cry

This lightning storm, this tidal wave
This avalanche, I'm not afraid
Come on, come on
No-one can see me cry

That sugar cane that tasted good
That's who you are, that's what you could
Come on, come on
No-one can see you cry

That sugar cane that tasted good
That's who you are, that's what you could
Come on, come on
No-one can see you cry


Lyrics submitted by parsprototo, edited by pabvid

Imitation Of Life Lyrics as written by Mike Mills Michael Stipe

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Imitation Of Life song meanings
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53 Comments

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  • +11
    General Comment

    I agree with thenarrator. In fact, I think this song is very deep, with several underlying messages. The name of of the song itself, suggests a sort of facade of real life. I believe it is a commentary on society, and the people who desire to be rich and famous. "like a koi in a frozen pond/like a goldfish in a bowl", suggests a celebrity who is trapped in this public life, albeit miserable and wishing to get out. "I don't wanna hear you cry" shows this celebrities desperation for not being able to convince society that although he is famous, he is sad and has problems just as everyone else does.

    "you want the greatest thing/the greatest thing since bread came sliced/you've got it all, you've got it sized." We don't realize that we are the ones who have it all, who have it "sized", for we are the ones being able to lead a normal life.

    "like a friday fashion show teenager/freezing in the corner". He is giving an example of a famous teen model, trying to put on a mask of happiness. "trying to look like you don't try". Making it look like his life is a breeze.

    "this lightning storm/this tidal wave/this avalanche, i'm not afraid." This gives us the idea of actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger who act like tough guys of unhuman strength in the movies, but in reality, are just like you and I...afraid.

    Finally, the chorus, which is one of the best parts of the song, perfectly sums up its message. "that sugarcane that tasted good/that's cinnamon that's hollywood/c'mon c'mon no one can see you try". At first, for us who are outside, it seems that money and fame is all we could wish for. The second line is almost an ironic remark in response to the first line. It could also be said that the fact that the sugarcane "tasted" good, is suggesting that now that they have been celebrities and lived through the hype of it, they have become disillusioned. In a variation to the chorus, Stipe sings "that's freezing rain, that's what you could", making an analogy to how it feels to be a celebrity now that they have known it.

    This song is amazing! It is almost a warning to the millions of people who only see happiness in glamour and wealth, overlooking the simple things of life. I'm sure this song is very personal to him. In one of the lines, he exchanges "no one can see you cry" for "me cry". This suggests t is definatelly a portrayal of how he must feel about the whole Hollywood thing. The melody of the song, and the way Stipe sings, especially the part "c'mon c'mon" gives a weird sense of desperation and hopelessness, as if Stipe was crying for help.

    Michael Stipe once again proves his genius and talent, by composing a meaningful song so lyrically and musically unique. This is not only one of the best REM songs ever, but one of the greatest songs of music history.

    pedrogouveiaon March 23, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Anybody seen the video for this? Its crazy.

    Lax74on May 23, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Yea, I have the music video on mie comp. Dude, kewlest song like in a long time (best by REM). The music video was like less than 30 seconds of film, but they just zoomed in and focused on different parts/people/places, in both forward and reverse motion. Pretty trippy stuff, but yea, definitely dope. REM is dope foos. Yee

    jkdudeon June 06, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    yeah one of the most weird and amazing videos ive ever seen, the music rocks too, i like it even if im not much of a 'pop lover'

    andomaron August 04, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    This song is about fakers, and how hollow and empty their lives really are. The chorus lists things like that.....that seem sweet but really are of no real value or substance. when the music quiets and michael sings alone "this sugarcane this lemonade, this hurricane i'm not afraid....this lightning storm, this tidal wave" etc, that's the naked truth. Underneath it hurts to be fake and not know who you are outside of what you want others to see. It's too hard to keep up, and it's not real. it's only an imitation of life. can anyone see my point on this?

    oldshoeon April 10, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    i will keep it short, i think this song is more of a satire on the people who try to fit in to a society, their desperate efforts to look "cool", and how hard they try to make it seem effortless to fit in.. Personally that's the message i seem to relate with this song.

    asim101920on November 05, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    The best REM song ever. It's basically just describing life. The verses describe the bad and the chorus says "Cry away your fears and I'll show you the goodness in the world." At least thats what I see.

    NtoTheDrkon April 26, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Thats a lie and you know it.

    NtoTheDrkon May 03, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    i think ths song is more about reassuring someone that everyone has to work hard for stuff, and bad stuff happens no matter what you do. thts wht i think neway

    em2000on August 18, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    o and i also think tht its saying you can't hide who you are.

    em2000on August 18, 2002   Link

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