Losing My Religion

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Single cover.

Losing My Religion is an alternative rock song by R.E.M. first released as a single on 1991-02-19 with Rotary Eleven as the B-side, then as track 2 on the studio album Out of Time. The initial music was composed by Peter Buck on mandolin, then the other band members Bill Berry, Michael Stipe, and Mike Mills helped complete the music and lyrics. The song was produced by Scott Litt and the band. On the album recording, Stipe sings vocals, Buck plays electric guitar and mandolin, Mills plays bass guitar and keyboards, sings backing vocals, and arranged the music, Berry plays drums and percussion, and Peter Holsapple plays acoustic guitar.

Despite the title of the song, the band members have been very clear that the song is not about religion. "Losing my religion" is a Southern US idiom used when a person is losing their temper or feeling desperate. Stipe stated that the lyrics are actually about someone who pines for someone else in an unrequited obsession.

The band's record label, Warner Bros. was initially hesitant at releasing the song as the album's first single because it wasn't a conventional alternative rock song, but it went on to be hugely successful. It became the band's most popular song, and caused Out of Time to be their best selling album.

The music video was directed by Tarsem Singh who wanted to create a video using an Indian style where everything is melodramatic and very dreamlike. The video takes inspiration from Gabriel Garcia Marquez's A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, Andrei Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice, the paintings of Caravaggio,

Personal

This song was released when I was ten years old. I remember it blowing up the radio and even seeing the music video, which was a rarity for me because I had no direct access to music videos at the time. Although I initially though the lyrics and music video were strange, and didn't have a clue as to what it was about, I still liked the sound of the music. Now, I think the song is fantastic and the music video inspired. From the song, I love the mandolin solo after the second chorus as well as during the outro. I also love Stipe's almost pained vocals and his arm-flailing dance in the video.

Lyrics

Oh, life, it's bigger,
It's bigger than you and you are not me.
The lengths that I will go to,
The distance in your eyes.
Oh no, I've said too much.
I set it up.

That's me in the corner.
That's me in the spotlight,
Losing my religion.
Trying to keep up with you,
And I don't know if I can do it.
Oh no, I've said too much.
I haven't said enough.

I thought that I heard you laughing.
I thought that I heard you sing.
I think I thought I saw you try.

Every whisper,
Of every waking hour,
I'm choosing my confessions.
Trying to keep an eye on you,
Like a hurt lost and blind and fool, fool.
Oh no, I've said too much.
I set it up.

Consider this:
Consider this: 
A hint of the century.
Consider this:
A slip,
That brought me to my knees, pale.
What if all these fantasies come flailing around?
Now I've said, too much.

I thought that I heard you laughing.
I thought that I heard you sing.
I think I thought I saw you try.

But that was just a dream,
That was just a dream.

That's me in the corner.
That's me in the spotlight,
Losing my religion.
Trying to keep up with you,
And I don't know if I can do it.
Oh no, I've said too much.
I haven't said enough.

I thought that I heard you laughing.
I thought that I heard you sing.
I think I thought I saw you try.

But that was just a dream.
Try, cry, fly, and try.
That was just a dream,
Just a dream,
Just a dream,
Dream.

Gallery

Videos

Official video.
Live from Glastonbury Festival, 1999.
Perfect Square, 2004.
Live from Trafalgar Square 2001.

Links

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