"Losing My Religion"

What, exactly, does this song lyrics mean? R.E.M. wouldn’t do a song that didn’t have meaning ;), so it must mean something. Every time I hear it, it stick’s in my head. Forever. I know what the song means, but not how the phrase fit’s into it.
When I was a kid I’d hear the phrase once in a while, mostly by old white southerners and black folks, and I took it to mean that the speaker was running out of patience or getting pissed off. But that doesn’t really fit the song.

When I was watching “Pop-Up Video” a while ago, they had that factoid pop up. “Losing my religion” does mean to lose your temper; appraently, it’s a Southern expression. I have no idea how it would fit into the song, but that’s my knowledge.


According to the infallible oracle that is Pop-Up Video on VH-1, “losing my religion” is a southern expression that means “I’m losing my temper.” I never heard it before, but then again I’m a Texan and Texas isn’t really part of the South.

If I can venture an interpretation, the singer is saying that he’s struggling with how much about himself to reveal to the person he’s singing to, and the effort is making him frustrated and angry.

Who knows what any of their songs mean? Pretty much the only one that’s clear is “Don’t Go Back To Rockville,” and that’s because the bass player wrote it instead of artsy-boy Michael Stipe.

It’s more along the lines of “I’m at the end of my rope.” Which could make you lose your temper, but it’s more to do with being desparate and out of options.


Flim’s annotated REM lyrics is a good place to try to figure out what the heck Stipey-boy’s mumbling about.

Here is thier little page on Losing My Religion. Not much here that hasn’t already been said, though.

What I’ve read about the song–and I’ve been a devoted (read as: obsessive) REM fan for 4 years now–has pretty much been this:

It’s a love song.

It’s not a usual love song, but it’s about a crush, and how every little movement can be read the wrong way (does he like me? is he expressing interest?) The person is “losing his religion” 'cause he’s at the end of his rope in regards to this person.

Hm…that’s what Lunatic’s link said. Oh well. I’m posting this anyway.

You’ve pretty much got it. “Losing my religion” is a Southern phrase for “I’m at the end of my rope.”

The song, the band has said in interviews, IS about having a crush on someone and being to shy to do anything about it and all the frustration and wondering that goes along with that. So yeah. That’s pretty much the story.

I recall a TV show on which Stipe said it was, as others have mentioned, about having a crush on someone, and then driving oneself crazy by wondering, “Does he/she (this is Stipe, after all, so it could be either) like me? I’m flirting outrageously, is he/she picking it up? I THINK he/she is flirting back… or am I imagining things? I THINK I saw him/her flirting back… but maybe not…”

A line like “consider this the hint of the century” is supposed to mean, “I want you bad, and I’m doing everything possible to show it, short of grabbing you! Are you getting the hint or not?”

Think of Charlie Brown going nuts, trying to guess whether the little red-haired girl knows he’s alive, and you’ll get the gist of what Stipe is saying.

Yeah, and “tin roof - rusted” means she’s pregnant. Those wacky Athenians…

Now I get it. He’s annoyed and frustrated with himself, and the situation he’s put himself in, for all the reasons mentioned above.
Love Stinks, eh?
I shall listen with a different ear next time.
Peace, and thanks.

Not according to Pop-Up Video:wink:

Does anyone have a cite for the meaning of “tin roof - rusted” as meaning pregnant?

My best guess was always “venereal disease.”

And I am myself (or have been, anyway) an Athenian.

Cindy from the B52’s adamantly stands by “Tin Roof – Rusted!” as a fluke of recording. She has repeatedly said that it just came off of the top of her beehived head and doesn’t mean anything at all.

See her comments at http://www.btinternet.com/~roc.lobsta/paper.html – you’ll have to scroll to the very end of the article.

Wow, I didn’t know this would become one of my more controversial posts, requiring a cite no less!

Didn’t mean to cause a hijack. Sorry for the confusion - please move along. :smiley: