R.E.M. / Automatic For The People (1992)

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  1. Drive
  2. Try Not To Breathe
  3. The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite
  4. Everybody Hurts
  5. New Orleans Instrumental No.1
  6. Sweetness Follows
  7. Monty Got A Raw Deal
  8. Ignoreland
  9. Star Me Kitten
  10. Man On The Moon
  11. Nightswimming
  12. Find The River

Notes / R.E.M. Page / Translation in Italian

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Drive

 

Smack, crack, bushwhacked. (1)

Tie another one to the racks, baby.(2)

Hey kids, rock and roll. (3)

Nobody tells you where to go, baby.

 

What if I ride? What if you walk? (4)

What if you rock around the clock? (5)

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

What if you did? What if you walk?

What if you tried to get off, baby?

 

Hey, kids, where are you?

Nobody tells you what to do, baby.

Hey kids, shake a leg.

Maybe you're crazy in the head, baby.

 

Maybe you did. Maybe you walked.

Maybe you rocked around the clock.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

Maybe I ride. Maybe you walk.

Maybe I drive to get off, baby.

 

Hey kids, shake a leg.

Maybe you're crazy in the head, baby.

Ollie, ollie.

Ollie ollie ollie.

Ollie, ollie in come free, baby

 

Hey, kids, where are you?

Nobody tells you what to do, baby.

 

Smack, crack. Shack-a-lack. (7)

Tie another one to your back, baby. (8)

Hey kids, rock and roll.

Nobody tells you where to go, baby.

 

Maybe you did. Maybe you walk.

Maybe you rock around the clock

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

Maybe I ride. Maybe you walk.

Maybe I drive to get off, baby.

 

Hey kids, where are you?

Nobody tells you what to do, baby.

Hey kids, rock and roll.

Nobody tells you where to go, baby, baby, baby.

 

Try Not To Breathe

 

I will try not to breathe. (1)

I can hold my head still with my hands at my knees.

These eyes are the eyes of the old, shiver and fold.

I will try not to breathe.

This decision is mine. I have lived a full life

and these are the eyes that I want you to remember. Oh.

 

I need something to fly over my grave again.

I need something to breathe.

I will try not to burden you.

I can hold these inside. I will hold my breath

until all these shivers subside,

just look in my eyes.

 

I will try not to worry you.

I have seen things that you will never see.

Leave it to memory me. I shudder to breathe.

I want you to remember. Oh. (you will never see)

I need something to fly (something to fly)

over my grave again. (you will never see)

 

I need something to breathe. (something to breathe)

Baby, don't shiver now.

Why do you shiver now? (I will see things you will never see)

I need something to fly (something to fly)

over my grave again. (I will see things you will never see)

I need something to breathe. Oh. Oh. Oh.

 

I will try not to worry you.

I have seen things that you will never see.

Leave it to memory me. Don't dare me to breathe.

I want you to remember. Oh. (you will never see)

I need something to fly (something to fly)

Over my grave again. (you will never see)

 

I need something to breathe. (something to breathe)

Baby, don't shiver now.

Why do you shiver now? (I will see things you will never see)

I need something to breathe. (something to breathe - I have seen things you will never see)

I want you to remember.

 

The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight (1)

 

This here is the place where I will be staying.

There isn't a number. You can call the pay phone.

Let it ring a long, long, long, long time.

If I don't pick up, hang up, call back, let it ring some more.

If I don't pick up, pick up... The sidewinder sleeps, sleeps, sleeps in a coil

 

Call me when you try to wake her up.

Call me when you try to wake her up.

Call me when you try to wake her up.

 

There are scratches all around the coin slot

like a heartbeat, baby trying to wake up,

but this machine can only swallow money.

You can't lay a patch by computer design.

It's just a lot of stupid, stupid signs.

Tell her,

tell her she can kiss my ass, then laugh and say that you were only kidding.

That way she'll know that it's really, really, really, really me.

 

Call me when you try to wake her up.

Call me when you try to wake her up.

Call me when you try to wake her up.

 

Baby, instant soup doesn't really grab me.

Today I need something more sub-sub-sub-substantial.

A can of beans or blackeyed peas, some Nescafe and ice,

a candy bar, a falling star, or a reading of Doctor Seuss; (2)

 

Call me when you try to wake her up.

Call me when you try to wake her up.

Call me when you try to wake her up.

 

The cat in the hat came back, wrecked a lot of havoc on the way,

always had a smile and a reason to pretend.

But their world has flat backgrounds and little need to sleep but to dream.

The sidewinder sleeps on his back.

 

Call me when you try to wake her up.

Call me when you try to wake her up.

I can always sleep standing up. Call me when you try to wake her.

Call me when you try to wake her up.

Call me when you try to wake her up.

I can always sleep standing up. Call me when you try to wake her.

Call me when you try to wake her up.

I can always sleep standing up.

Call me when you try to wake her.

I can always sleep standing up. Call me when you try to wake her.

We've got to moogie, moogie, move on this one. (3)

 

 

Everybody Hurts

 

When the day is long and the night, the night is yours alone,

when you're sure you've had enough of this life, well hang on. (1)

Don't let yourself go, 'cause everybody cries and everybody hurts sometimes.

 

Sometimes everything is wrong. Now it's time to sing along.

When your day is night alone, (hold on, hold on)

if you feel like letting go, (hold on)

when you think you've had too much of this life, well hang on.

'Cause everybody hurts. Take comfort in your friends.

Everybody hurts. Don't throw your hand. Oh, no. Don't throw your hand.

If you feel like you're alone, no, no, no, you are not alone

 

If you're on your own in this life, the days and nights are long,

when you think you've had too much of this life to hang on.

 

Well, everybody hurts sometimes,

everybody cries. And everybody hurts sometimes.

And everybody hurts sometimes. So, hold on, hold on.

Hold on, hold on. Hold on, hold on. Hold on, hold on. (repeat & fade)

(Everybody hurts. You are not alone.)

 

 

Sweetness Follows

 

Readying to bury your father and your mother,

what did you think when you lost another?

I used to wonder why did you bother,

distanced from one, blind to the other?

 

Listen here my sister and my brother

what would you care if you lost the other?

I always wonder why did we bother,

distanced from one, deaf to the other.

 

Oh, oh, but sweetness follows

It's these little things, they can pull you under.

Live your life filled with joy and wonder.

I always knew this altogether thunder

was lost in our little lives.

 

Oh, oh, but sweetness follows.

Oh, oh, but sweetness follows.

 

It's these little things, they can pull you under.

Live your life filled with joy and thunder.

Yeah, yeah we were altogether

lost in our little lives.

 

Oh. Oh. Ah.

Oh, oh, but sweetness follows.

Oh, oh, but sweetness follows.

  

Monty Got A Raw Deal

 

Monty this seems strange to me. (1)

The movies had that movie thing,

but nonsense has a welcome ring

and heroes don't come easy.

Now, nonsense isn't new to me.

I know my head, I know my feet,

but mischief knocked me in the knees.

Said, Just let go. Just let go.

 

I saw the ocean meet the man.

I saw you buried in the sand.

A friend was there to hold your hand,

Said, Walk on by.

So, I went walking through the street.

I saw you strung up in a tree. (2)

A woman knelt there said to me,

said, hold your tongue, man. Hold your tongue.

 

You don't owe me anything.

You don't want this sympathy. [waste your breath]

Don't you waste your breath. [waste your breath]

for the silver screen.

 

That nonsense doesn't mean a thing,

they tried to bust you in a sting,

but virtue isn't everything

so, don't waste time.

Now, here's a rhyme that you can steal.

Put this on your reel to reel.

Mischief threw a rotten deal.

Monty's laying low, man.

He is laying low.

Just let go, y'all.

Just let go.

 

You don't owe me anything.

You don't want this sympathy. [waste your breath]

Don't you waste your breath. [waste your breath]

Monty this seems strange to me.

 

Ignoreland (1)

 

These bastards stole their power from the victims of the Us v. Them years, (2)

wrecking all things virtuous and true.

The undermining social democratic downhill slide into abysmal

lost lamb off the precipice into the trickle down runoff pool. (3)

 

They hypnotised the summer, Nineteen seventy-nine.

Marched into the capital brooding duplicitous, wicked and able, media-ready,

heartless, and labeled. Super U.S. citizen, super achiever,

mega ultra power dosing. Relax.

Defense, defense, defense, defense.

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ignoreland. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ignoreland.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ignoreland. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ignoreland.

 

The information nation took their clues from all the sound-bite gluttons.

Nineteen eighty, eighty-four, eighty-eight, ninety-two too, too. (4)

How to be what you can be, jump jam junking your energies.

How to walk in dignity with throw-up on your shoes

They amplified the autumn, Nineteen seventy-nine.

Calculate the capital, up the republic my skinny ass.

T.V. tells a million lies. The paper's terrified to report

anything that isn't handed on a presidential spoon,

I'm just profoundly frustrated by all this. So, fuck you, man. (fuck 'm)

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ignoreland. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ignoreland.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ignoreland. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ignoreland.

 

If they weren't there we would have created them. Maybe, it's true,

but I'm resentful all the same. Someone's got to take the blame.

I know that this is vitriol. No solution, spleen-venting,

But I feel better having screamed. Don't you?

 

They desecrated winter, Nineteen seventy-nine.

Capital collateral. Brooding duplicitous, wicked and able, media-ready,

heartless, and labeled. Super U.S. citizen, super achiever,

mega ultra power dosing. Relax.

Defense, defense, defense, defense.

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ignoreland. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ignoreland.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ignoreland. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

  

Star Me Kitten (1)

 

Keys cut, three for the price of one.

Nothing's free but guaranteed for a lifetime's use.

I've changed the locks

and you can't have one.

You, you know the other two.

The brakes have worn so thin that you could hear,

I hear them screeching through the door from our driveway.

Hey love, look into your glovebox heart.

What is there for me inside? This love is tired.

I've changed the locks. Have I misplaced you?

Have we lost our minds?

Will this never end?

It could depend on your take.

You. Me. We used to be on fire.

If keys are all that stand between,

Can I throw in the ring?

No gasoline.

Just fuck me kitten.

You are wild and I'm in your possesion.

Nothing's free so, fuck me kitten.

 

And I'm in your possession.

So, fuck me kitten.

And I'm in your possession.

So, fuck me kitten.

  

Man On The Moon (1)

 

Mott the Hoople and the game of Life. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. (2)

Andy Kaufman in the wrestling match

Monopoly, Twenty one, checkers, and chess  (3)

Mister Fred Blassie in a breakfast mess. (4)

Let's play Twister, let's play Risk.

See you heaven if you make the list.

 

Now, Andy did you hear about this one? Tell me, are you locked in the punch?

Hey Andy are you goofing on Elvis? Hey, baby. Are we losing touch?

 

If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon. (5)

If you believe there's nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool.

 

Moses went walking with the staff of wood.

Newton got beaned by the apple good.

Egypt was troubled by the horrible asp.  (6)

Mister Charles Darwin had the gall to ask.

 

Now Andy did you hear about this one? Tell me, are you locked in the punch?

Hey, Andy are you goofing on Elvis? Hey, baby. Are you having fun? (7)

 

If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon.

If you believe there's nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool.

 

Here's a little agit for the never-believer.

Here's a little ghost for the offering.

Here's a truck stop instead of Saint Peter's.

Mister Andy Kaufman's gone wrestling [wrestling bears].

 

Hey Andy did you hear about this one? Tell me, are you locked in the punch?

Hey Andy are you goofing on Elvis, hey baby, are we losing touch?

 

If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon.

If you believe there's nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool.

 

Nightswimming

 

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night. (1)

The photograph on the dashboard, taken years ago,

turned around backwards so the windshield shows.

Every streetlight reveals the picture in reverse.

Still, it's so much clearer.

I forgot my shirt at the water's edge.

The moon is low tonight

 

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night.

I'm not sure all these people understand.

It's not like years ago,

The fear of getting caught,

of recklessness and water.

They cannot see me naked.

These things, they go away,

replaced by everyday.

 

Nightswimming, remembering that night.

September's coming soon.

I'm pining for the moon.

And what if there were two

Side by side in orbit

Around the fairest sun?

That bright, tight forever drum

could not describe nightswimming.

 

You, I thought I knew you.

You I cannot judge.

You, I thought you knew me,

this one laughing quietly underneath my breath. (2)

Nightswimming.

 

The photograph reflects,

every streetlight a reminder.

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night, deserves a quiet night.

 

Find The River (1)

 

Hey now, little speedyhead,

the read on the speedmeter says

you have to go to task in the city

where people drown and people serve.

Don't be shy. Your just deserve

is only just light years to go.

Me, my thoughts are flower strewn

ocean storm, bayberry moon. (2)

I have got to leave to find my way.

 

Watch the road and memorize

this life that pass before my eyes.

Nothing is going my way.

 

The ocean is the river's goal,

a need to leave the water knows

We're closer now than light years to go.

I have got to find the river,

bergamot and vetiver (3)

run through my head and fall away.

Leave the road and memorize

this life that pass before my eyes.

Nothing is going my way.

 

There's no one left to take the lead,

but I tell you and you can see

we're closer now than light years to go.

 

Pick up here and chase the ride.

The river empties to the tide.

Fall into the ocean.

 

The river to the ocean goes,

a fortune for the undertow.

None of this is going my way.

There is nothing left to throw

of Ginger, lemon, indigo,

coriander stem and rose of hay.

Strength and courage overrides

the privileged and weary eyes

of river poet search naivete.

Pick up here and chase the ride.

All of this is coming your way.

 

Notes

 
 

The album title is a reference to a claim of a restaurant in Georgia, named Waver D. The meaning is that the new record is finally available for all, after the great success of Out Of Time.

 Drive

(1)

It's probably a wordplay referring to the surname tof the US President at that time George Bush (senior).The entire song is interpreted as an exhortation for young people not to accept to be submitted by the power. "Smack and crack" are instead names of drugs, even these ones,  symbols of submission and defeat.

(2)

Of course it is a referring to the torture instrument used in Roman times and in the Middle Ages, according to tradition, even for martyrs and saints.

(3)

A stanza taken from an English rock song of the 1970s, "Rock On" by David Essex.

(4)

"To ride" could refers to ride a horse or a motorcycle or other two-wheeled vehicles. Since there is no allusion to a horse or a motorcycle in the lyrics it's probably only a generic opposition to "walk".

(5)

Clear allusion to the famous song by Bill Haley & The Comets, Rock Around The Clock.

(6)

Ollie is the name of a children's play, but may also refer to Colonel Oliver North, protagonist of the successful attempt to destabilize Nicaragua, then a socialist government, by means of the contras guerrillas, during the years of the Republicans presidents.

(7)

"Shack-a-lack" may be an uncommon idiomatic expression, but perhaps refers to a Junior Reid reggae record that has the title "Boom Shak-A-Lack" and is earlier than this REM album. It could therefore be a reference to a new way of dancing, without censorship, unlimited and for all ethnicities.

(8)

Probably is a reference to the idiomatic expression "monkey on the back" that has been commonly used since the '70s to indicate heroin dependence.

 

Try Not To Breathe

(1)

The protagonist of the song is an old man who draws a balance of his life with his partner and prepares himself serenely to "not breathe" anymore.

 

The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite

(1)

Quotation of a notable international success of the '60s "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", performed by the Tokens, a rehearsal of a previous South African song of the 1950s by Salomon Linda Mbube. Almost an anticipation of "world music". The song of R.E.M. describes the world of a homeless, associated by analogy with the serpent rolled up here and there.

(2)

The well known author of children's books. His most famous book, "The Cat In The Hat," is quoted in the song shortly afterwards.

(3)

What is the meaning of "moogie moogie"? There is a group, The Zeet Band, which released in 1969 a record titled "Moogie Woogie", interpretations on Moog of blues and boogie songs. Mike Bloomfield also collaborated with the project. Or maybe it is an onomatopoeic expression that alludes to some sexual activity.

 

Everybody Hurts

(1)

The song is an exhortation to emerge from depressive and self-destructive tendencies.

 

Sweetness Follows

(1)

A song about contrasts and lack of harmony within a family. But misunderstandings can be overcome if the family reflects on the "little things" that unite us, and "sweetness follows".

 

Monty Got A Raw Deal

(1)

The Monty to whom the song is dedicated is the famous actor of the 1950s and 1960s Montgomery Clift, one of the most popular of the time, until the car accident that left him half-formed and then to early death. Unforgettable interpreter of "Red River", "Suddenly Last Summer", "From Here to Eternity".

(2)

It is probably related to Montgomery Clift's legal trouble with Senator McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee, who in the early 1950s had accused the actor, like many other movie characters, of communist sympathies.

(3)

"Reel to reel" refers to the reel recorders, predecessors (much better) than the then popular Philips musicassettes.

 

Ignoreland

(1)

It's a political song, an outburst of Stipe and R.E.M. against Republicans (called in the first verse "bastards") at the time governing the United States (Bush senior the President, Bill Clinton would prevail at the end of that year). The dates mentioned in the text are those of the presidential elections in which Republicans prevailed.

(2)

US (United States) or "us" against "the rest of the world". The meaning is the same and it's probably another pun in these lyrics of Stipe.

(3)

"Trickle-down" is the name of an economic Theory adopted by US President Ronald Reagan (1980-1988), which states that if wealthy people become wealthier, well-being "trickle down" to lower classes, and are therefore justified higher tax cuts. As we know, however, the distance between rich and poor persons in the years of "reaganism" has widened.

(4)

Stipe is pessimistic about the 1992 elections, which were still to be held. As we know, thanks to the division of the American conservators between Ross Perot, the Billionaire and the GOP candidate, George Bush senior could not be re-elected and won Bill Clinton, who will remain president until 2000.

 

Star Me Kitten

(1)

The title of the song should have been "Fuck Me Kitten", the title was modified for obvious reasons, not so the verses. "Star" means both "star" and "asterisk", and thus refers to the asterisks with which in the lyrics the inappropriate words are censored.

 

Man On The Moon

(1)

The song is dedicated to the singular American comedian Andy Kaufman, who died prematurely. It is this song which has revived the interest in this character and inspired the 1999 Milos Forman's film of the same name, featuring an outstanding Jim Carrey. Among his bizarre initiatives (real Kaufman) is the wrestling between men (himself, too) and women, not clear whether combined or true, abundantly mentioned in the rest of the song, as well as his imitations of Elvis Presley.

(2)

"Mott The Hopple" is the name of an English rock band active in 1970 (their main success was "All The Young Dudes"); throughout the song are disseminated references to Kaufman's contemporary characters.

(3)

All board games, as well as the two mentioned later.

(4)

Fred Blassie was one of the most well-known American wrestling champions, active until 1973. He collaborated with Kaufman in his intrusion in the world of free fighting and played in the bizarre "My breakfast with Blassie" movie with Kaufman, the film is indirectly quoted in the lyrics through the word "breakfast".

(5)

It refers to a well-known American (and hence world-wide) urban myth, according to which man has never arrived on the moon and all the Apollo missions have been a media invention of the American government (and the Russians remain incredibly silent).

(6)

Allusion to the poisonous snake, aspires, that Queen Cleopatra, according to tradition, used to commit suicide.

 

Nightswimming

(1)

A song created on the wave of teenage memories, midnight baths at the sea or in a lake, along with the loved one, the car parked nearby.

(2)

Let us imagine a person who laughs almost without showing it, for a mixture of shyness or retrospect. This seems to be the image that Stipe suggests.

 

Find The River

(1)

It is a piece composed entirely of poetic images, often indecipherable metaphors. Of course, the most immediate metaphor is that of the river as a symbol of life that quietly goes into the ocean, the goal of life itself. A direction and a sense that is the basis of the protagonist's reflections, expressed as an accumulation of disconnected images, such as those appearing in the sleeping quarters.

(2)

Bayberry is the name of a small fruit used for cake and candy shells.

(3)

Bergamot and vetiver are respectively a fruit and a herb used in perfumery or as an aroma. The bergamot is well known to tea consumers because it is used in the note "Earl Gray" quality. Other ingredients for perfumes or spices or aromas or natural dyes are cited in the following (coriander, ginger, indigo, lemon, roses). It seems to mean that everything, even the most minute and misunderstood things, is running and disappearing into the sea.

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Lyrics by R.E.M. (Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe) transcribed by Kipps Teague (K.T. Lyrics Archive)  / Notes & Translation Alberto Truffi -  Musica & Memoria 2001 / Reproduction for commercial use strictly prohibited (see DISCLAIMER for detalis) / Revised 2017

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