"Auctioneer (Another Engine)" as written by and Peter Buck Bill Berry....
She didn't want to get pinned down by her prior town
Get me to the train on time, here, take this nickel, make a dime
Take this penny and make it into a necklace when I leave
What is at the other end? I don't know, another friend
Another wife, another morning spent

Listen, listen to the auctioneer
Another engine, another engine

We never wrote the reasons that I need explained
Some things are givens and others get away
This time, it's for myself, you call it what you may
Okay, we won't say goodbye so long, so much more

And listen to the auctioneer
Another engine, another engine

Listen to the bargain holler
Listen to the barter holler
Listen to the auctioneer

Get me to the train on time
Here, take this nickel, make a dime
Take this penny and make it into a necklace when I leave
What is at the other end?
I don't know, another friend
Another wife, another morning spent

Listen, listen to the auctioneer
Another engine, another engine
Another engine, another engine

Do I stand the bargain holler? Listen to the barter holler

Lyrics submitted by rieve

"Auctioneer" as written by Peter Buck Bill Berry

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Auctioneer (Another Engine) song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentIt's all about moving on and moving out and being so superficial that you sell yourself to the highest bidder.
    rockmanon January 26, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment... another friend, another wife, another morning spent ...

    Similar to One I Love? He's done with this lover/friend, there will be another at the next stop.
    REJon June 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Listen to the bargain holler...."

    In Life And How To Live It, there's a line: "Listen to the holler..."
    reptileon June 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationAlright, I'm probably completely wrong with this interpretation, especially since firstly I'm making it up on the spot and secondly R.E.M. has claimed before that the songs on their first three albums have no real meaning, but I might as well give it a go, for fun.

    The first line is important. It implies "she," most likely the singer's lover, is moving on because she desires new things. The singer is mad at her, or just frustrated as implied by the sudden urgency in the lyrics and music when Stipe sings "Get me to the train on time, here take this nickel make a dime." The person is running away too, probably in order to find someone new as well ("What is at the other end, well I don't know, another friend?). "Another wife" may mean this person has had bad luck with relationships in the past, although I'm not sure what "another morning spent" is supposed to mean. Maybe Stipe is actually singing "mourning," as over the loss of a lover (not necessarily by death).

    I really have no idea what the chorus means, or even a good guess, which is probably more proof my interpretation is wrong since the chorus is important enough to the meaning of the song (if there is one) that the title was taken from it.

    Okay, my guess for the first two lines of the second verse is that he never really got a good explanation as to why his lover left him, and that while sometimes it was obvious why he lost past lovers, other times he never really knew, like this time. The only thing I can think of for the other two lines is that he found another girlfriend, but he's breaking up with her this time, instead of the other way around. Also, he wants to make his goodbyes short so he can hurry up and... do exactly what he did in the first verse, as evidenced by it being repeated.

    Once again, I have no idea what the "Listen to the..." lines mean. I will say that they seem to be pretty important, though, if you consider the way the song is set up around them, so maybe someone else can elaborate on what they mean. I really doubt this song has a particular meaning, though, but it's pretty fun trying to interpret it regardless.
    Cobblestoneon February 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAuctioning engines?> A weird thought. Juxtaposing.
    Value creates money. Debt machines, I suppose.
    vogonjron June 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMichael Stipe said that he wrote the song at 3 o'clock in the morning on a train trip after splitting up with his girlfriend (who later featured in the video for "The One I Love"). On the next three tours he would preface the song with stories about her. When he looked at the lyrics three months later, he had no idea where they came from.

    The song clearly has two apparently unrelated themes:
    1. The end of a relationship resulting in a train journey
    2. An auction

    But the juxtaposition creates an almost cinematic drama in which two people go their separate ways against a backdrop of a bustling old-time train yard, with goods being auctioned and loaded.
    darlomundayon June 27, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn the Live at the Olympia recording, Stipe dedicates this song to his deceased grandfather and explained that during his childhood, his grandfather would take train trips between Washington DC and Atlanta, GA. Before he would depart, he gave each of his grandchildren a penny to place on the track, so that after the train had left each of them had a squished penny to remember him by until he returned. That would explain all the images of coins and trains, but I'm not sure about the rest of the song.
    ernzoaon October 29, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningHe wants her but she is still looking at what else is out there. At the end he wonders if he should stay, 'Do I stand the bargain holler?'
    He doesn't want to stay in the situation he is in, 'Get me to the train on time.' Out of anger he tells her, 'here take this nickel make a dime.' As in, if you want more, then take it!
    'Take this penny and make it into a necklace when I leave', he wants to be remembered. He still wants something of the relationship but he is tired of her not being ready to fully commit to him.
    He doesn't know where life will lead him without her, she is his friend. Will there be another wife for him. He doesn't want that, all that leads to is, 'another morning spent' - time wasted.
    In the second paragraph, he is still upset. He wants to know more but also just wants all this mess to be done. 'Okay, we won't say goodbye so long, so much more.' Again, he goes back to wanting the relationship and goes on to say listen to the auctioneer but he is upset. 'Another engine keeps going through his mind.' Meaning someone will replace him.
    And that is this song.
    22739on June 02, 2013   Link

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