"Daysleeper" as written by and Michael Mills Peter Buck....
Receiving dept. 3 a.m.
Staff cuts have socked up the overage
Directives are posted.
No callbacks complaints.
Everywhere is calm.
Hong Kong is present
Taipei awakes

All talk of circadian rhythm
I see today with a newsprint fray
My night is colored headache gray

The bull and the bear are marking
Their territories
They're leading the blind with
Their international glories
I'm the screen the blinding light
I'm the screen, I work at night.
I see today with a newsprint fray
My night is colored headache gray
Don't wake me with so much.

I cried the other night
I can't even say why
Fluorescent flat caffeine lights
Its furious balancing
I'm the screen, the blinding light
I'm the screen, I work at night
I see today

Don't wake me with so much. the
Ocean machine is set to nine
I'll squeeze into heaven and valentine
My bed is pulling me.

Daysleeper, daysleeper.
Daysleeper, daysleeper, daysleeper

Lyrics submitted by Nelly

"Daysleeper" as written by Michael Mills Peter Buck

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

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Daysleeper song meanings
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  • +5
    My Interpretation"Receiving dept., 3 A.M.
    Staff cuts have socked up the overage
    Directives are posted.
    No callbacks, complaints.
    Everywhere is calm."

    These lyrics lay the groundwork/imagery for the circumstances/setting. Early morning, overworked, nightshift worker on a loading dock.

    "Hong Kong is present
    Taipei awakes
    All talk of circadian rhythm"

    Circadian rhythm is the 24 hour life cycle, the fact that Hong Kong and Taipei have awakened prove the Circadian rhythm concept.

    "I see today with a newsprint fray
    My night is colored headache grey

    Seeing today with a newsprint fray is the individual reading/visualizing the previous days events via newspaper.
    "My night is colored headache grey" which means; when the shift is over in the morning, the individuals night is daybreak/dawn(which would be grey in most cases) and is also accompanying headache. Indeed his days are all f*cked up.

    "The bull and the bear are marking
    Their territories"

    Yes, Bull and Bear markets are determining what goes where, when, how much ect...

    "They're leading the blind with
    Their international glories"

    This basically means those outcomes dictate the lives of the uninformed(the blind)(uninformed in relation to how that system works/dictates).

    I'm the screen, the blinding light = the screen/window is blinding in the day
    I'm the screen, I work at night. = the individual monitors actively screening at work

    "I see today with a newsprint fray
    My night is colored headache grey
    Don't wake me so much. = Try to Keep It down please, there's a daysleeper.

    "I cried the other night
    I can't even say why
    Fluorescent flat caffeine lights
    Its furious balancing"

    Indeed I would have to agree with the other posters that the individual is just tired and angry with the routine of their life. However "Fluorescent flat caffeine lights" is more than likely a reference to fluorescent lighting and light on an all too familiar coffee pot. "It's furious balancing" Could be trying to balance a normal life with the abnormal work life or just trying to get some sense of normalcy. Gets to be irritating. It's a statement like if I were to say, 'this is pissing me off'.

    I see today with a newsprint fray
    My night is colored headache grey
    Don't wake me with so much = don't wake me with all that Life(noise, light)

    The ocean machine is set to 9
    I'll squeeze into heaven and valentine = Sleep aides
    My bed is pulling me.
    Gravity = Bed has power equal to gravity from lack of sleep.
    Daysleeper. daysleeper.
    Daysleeper. daysleeper. daysleeper.

    It's 2pm, I got off at 6am. ready to pass out
    decemberBoozeron March 03, 2010   Link
  • +4
    General Commentwell i know the bull and the bear refer to the two different types of market conditions.. ..and i really like the idea of a deeper meaning so here goes: REM prolly uses the story of a shipping dept. worker, this man of the late shift, to emphasize the idea that society is non-stop. We are an anxiety ridden ppl, which i think was said earlier, and we tend to lose sight of the romanticism after the industrialized era... I may not agree with "pro-romanticism" and i dont really like REMs "soft" style but this song sounds amazing and the is, as much of REMs work has been, lyrical and poetic.
    thisisptless56on June 02, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThe song is simply an anecdote about modern working life, using the point of a view of a stock market trader. There's nothing more to it than that and I don't see why people read more into it - there are plenty of other REM songs to interpret. This is good old fashoined story telling.
    And in short a bull market is one in which shares are on a continuous upward trend and a bear a continuous downward trend. Although it is 'slightly' more complex than that, that's all you really need to know!
    HaroldErwinon January 20, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentHaving been a regular nightshift worker for a looong time, I think it is about how people who work nights tend to get divorced from reality.

    You get used to not being a part of normal life because everything is reversed.

    How it is so difficult to sleep in the daytime when the rest of the world is carrying on as normal and nobody thinks about people who work nights. You can never really get any decent sleep.
    broddron August 27, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentMy favourite song of all time (if you didn't guess by my name.) It captures the essence of having to sleep in the day perfectly. Everything becomes haphazard images "Florescent flat caffeine lights" and how everything becomes a grey haze, that sort of dirty grey that newspapers have.

    Often night shift workers get depressed, hence the crying for no reason, and after getting off work your bed just says SLEEP ON ME, which links to your bed pulling you like gravity.

    Simple meaning, yet such a complex subject.

    Daysleepingon June 01, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI tend to agree with Harold Erwin, it's simply an anecdote about modern life using a night shift stock broker to tell the story. There are some pretty interesting images though, which no one commented on. First the idea of him being a nightshift stock broker in the first place, or anyway someone who monitors the world markets while the rest of us are sleeping: "Hong Kong is present, Taipei awakes, all talk of circadian rhythm..." big movers on the asian stock exchange, they're just awakening at 3 am his time - money seems to be making the world go round. "I'm the screen, the blinding light...", he's become one with the machinery itself, it's blinded him to a sense of himself, but it's also blinding the world around him as we push further ahead in our quest for a global market. "I see today with newsprint fray..." of course, because the newspaper he's reading is really yesterday's, he's trapped in a kind of time warp, seeing "yesterday" as "today" while at the same time being several hours ahead of the rest of us in his knowledge of what's happening in the rest of the world. At any rate, he's left with a sense of boredom, emptiness and depression as he sits in his position of "godliness" and "overseer", a rather disillusioned diety, whose going to have to squeeze in between heaven and Valentine, by which I assumes he's talking about Valentine bed linens - a relatively famous Italian brand. He's being pulled back down from his ariel vision of mankind to earth by gravity, thus pulling him back into human form. "Don't wake me too much..." he does seem to prefer his state of quasi oblivion over that of having to face the reality of his failures - i.e. night shift stock broker, loner, loser. Aren't we all a little like him?
    bgravengoodon June 20, 2008   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningIt's interesting to see that a lot of people seem to think this song is about a night worker who sleeps in the day.

    Whenever I've heard this song I always get the impression that the song is taken from the perception of one of the big billboard screens that they use in places like New York and London to advertise things or projector screens.

    The first verse - this is supposed to be the screen setting the scene, this first verse is nothing to do with the screen apart from the fact that when it's switched on in America, Hong Kong & Taipai are just getting up due to the time delay, also possibly even referring to the place where the screen was made (most of these major signs are made in the middle eastern countries).

    Then the next bit carries on about that he sees today with the newsprint fray, night is coloured. During the day these screens are switched off and they go to a dull colour, the same as news papers dull print, and yet in the night the lights go on and they are all there in full bright illuminated colour.

    The next verse then is referring to the adverts the screen is showing - the bull and the bear are marking their territories, leading the blind with their international glories - rival companies advertising on numerous signs, all trying to get their loyal followers to buy their products, and even pull in new followers to buy their products, and trying to stay large companies throughout the world (international glories)

    The next bit he admits that he is a screen - the blinding light - referring to the fact he is one of these advertising screens and he works at night. The bit before could even be on about the time of replacement - crying because the fluorescent flat caffeine lights are replacing the existing screen, maybe some coffee company paid more to have an advert there, and that it's a furious balancing act for companies to keep their name up in lights.

    The final verse could be on about when it's been replaced, and being taken out of the city on one of the trash boats - the ocean machine is set to leave at nine, my bed - the landfill site, is pulling me..., maybe even referring to the landfill compactor squeezing it together (squeeze into heaven and valentine) and pulling it.

    That's my thoughts on the actual song every time I hear it, and I think what a really clever song that looks at something that's not real from it's perceptive.

    TheKLF99on September 29, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMicheal Stipe revealed the story on VH-1 Storytellers. He was walking in a NYC apartment complex and saw a sign on an apt door that said "please be quiet....daysleeper"
    he thought it was interesting so he wrote the song.
    spliff99on October 08, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI believe Michael Stipe specifically points where the song is headed at. "The bull and the bear" are not the visible powers of our world, but part global economics, and greatly enforced by the globalization progress. It's difficult, and quite frankly a bit boring, to explain what a bull and a bear market is - so enlighten yourself here:

    This furthers arguments made that this song was written about assemblyline workers, be it in a Export Processing Zone ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… ) in the far east, or some other place in the world where jobstability and working conditions are found to be "poor" or fucked.
    brownaleon September 26, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me, this song has a lot deeper meaning than what it sounds like. I havent quite figured that out yet though. Hopefully one day I can come to this web page and find out the meaning to my favorite song!
    OG_crewon May 09, 2002   Link

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