Sinking fast, the weight chained to my feet
No time to argue with belief
I'm not alone, a thousand others dropping
Faster than me
What put me here?
Nothing to hold on to
Nowhere to brake

Where is the ripcord, the trapdoor, the key?
Where is the cartoon escape-hatch for me?
No time to question the choices I make
I've got to follow another direction (although fall down is much cooler)

The last thing I remember was climbing up the stairs
I threw the window open in challenge and despair
I don't know what I needed
I needed time
I needed to escape
I saw the future turn
Upside-down and hesitate.



The vista I see now is changing
Uncertainty is suffocating
Our hope has never felt so great and
Lit up down
A pounding pulse
To make it go
Make it slow down,


The city's burning, it's like it's ready to explode
Accelerate to make it slow
Make it go
Accelerate to make it slow
Make it go
I'm incomplete
I'm incomplete
I'm incomplete

Lyrics submitted by kierra

Accelerate Lyrics as written by Mike Mills Peter Buck

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Accelerate song meanings
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  • +1
    Song MeaningYeah it's true that REM is very political but I don't think everything they write is Bush-bashing, as fashionable as that was a few years ago. I think this song is more personal than political, and I think that it's about suicide. The protagonist of the song is climbing to the top floor of a building and "I threw the window open in challenge and despair". He's thinking about throwing himself out of the window and ending whatever pain he has. As he's ready to accelerate downwards, he thinks about what circumstances have brought him to this point "What put me here?". He knows that there's no easy way out of his troubles "Where is the ripcord, the trapdoor, the key?", and so is forced with the decision of ending his life or climbing back down the stairs and trying to change things the hard way. The ending is a little ambiguous as to whether or not he actually jumps. All of the imagery of high places seems to me to fit a lot better with suicide than with a political song. Just my 2 cents.
    mrjones1on August 08, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think you guys totally missed it. But maybe I did. Anyway, for me this song is about leaving the comforts of a long-term relationship. It spoke to every emotion I had when I went through that. Despair, fear, suffocating from the uncertainty but hopeful, feeling incomplete. I was one of a set and now I'm alone. But I'm not, there are so many others just like me. Everything moving so fast. Amazing how every line spoke to me.

    Stipe, if you read this, thank you. Regardless of what everyone else read, this song was practically my anthem when I went through the axiety-ridden decision to leave a formerly good but now unhealthy relationship.
    Surferjeron October 27, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWoo Hoo first comment. This is an awesome song. Like most of R.E.M.'s songs at times when the government is controlled by Republican's, I believe that this song is about escaping and repairing the damage that the Republican party causes to our country. The lines where is the ripcord, the trapdoor the key and where is the cartoon escape hatch for me prove this. They want W. out of the Whitehouse as do I and probably everybody else who listens to and enjoys R.E.M. They're back. :)
    pmac52188on April 06, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of my favourites from the new album, I love it.
    reddevilleanneon April 15, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwell this is my second favorite song by REM. I saw them live on friday and it was awesome, but for some reason they didn't play this, end of the world, or everybody hurts. Ya this song is definitely about being trapped in something (like the republicans) and wanting your ideas to shine through but the opponent's ideas are trapping you in and not letting you "accelerate."
    Mindbreaker4228on June 16, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree with the republican idea becuz r.e.m is obviously a political band an whatnot but i like 2 think of the songs meaning as when u feel like ur life is like falling apart an u want to stop from keep getting worse what with the ripchord an all that noise
    DraculaFromHoustonon August 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentUnlikely that it is directly aimed at W seeing as he is on the way out no matter what anyway. To me this song is more about soldier / war.

    "No time to argue with belief
    I'm not alone, a thousand others dropping
    Faster than me"
    Christian or whatever, if you are in the army and they shoot at you.. you shoot back. When the bullet flies past you, the politics goes out the window and you worry about getting the hell out of these. (Standard human nature). Looking around at all the others dyeing in the thousands you wonder why you are stuck there. And etc. You get my train of thought.
    But that's just me.
    s3ntinalon September 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDoes anyone have any idea about what he means with "Slow down, go!"?
    Leprosteveon January 25, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI can't listen to the song without thinking that it's from the point of view of someone at the top of the WTC. For me it was absolutely clear, and jumped out at me from the outset, and years later it still holds. But it's Stipe, that's the beauty of what he does - art is whatever the hell you want it to be.
    iaftoton October 29, 2013   Link

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