It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine) by R.E.M. Lyrics Meaning – Dissecting the Anthem of Calm Amid Chaos


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for R.E.M.'s It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine) at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning

Lyrics

That’s great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane-
Lenny Bruce is not afraid
Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn-
world serves its own needs, don’t misserve your own needs
Feed it up a knock, speed, grunt no, strength no
Ladder structure clatter with fear of height, down height
Wire in a fire, representing seven games in a government for hire and a combat site
Left her, wasn’t coming in a hurry with the furies breathing down your neck
Team by team reporters baffled, trump, tethered, crop
Look at that low plane! Fine, then
Uh oh, overflow, population, common group, but it’ll do
Save yourself, serve yourself
World serves its own needs
Listen to your heart bleed
Tell me with the rapture and the reverend and the right – right
You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty psyched!

It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Six o’clock – TV hour
Don’t get caught in foreign towers
Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn
Lock him in uniform and book burning, blood letting
Every motive escalate, automotive incinerate
Light a candle, light a motive
Step down, step down
Watch your heel crush, crush
Uh-oh, this means no fear- cavalier
Renegade steer clear!
A tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies
Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives and I decline.

It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it (it’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine (it’s time I had some time alone)
I feel fine.

I feel fine.

It’s the end of the world as we know it (it’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it (it’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine (it’s time I had some time alone).

The other night I tripped a nice continental drift divide
Mount St. Edelite, Leonard Bernstein,
Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs
Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom!
You symbiotic, patriotic, slam, but neck, right? (Right!)

It’s the end of the world as we know it (it’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it (it’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine (it’s time I had some time alone)

It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine (it’s time I had some time alone) (repeat til fade)

Full Lyrics

In the midst of contemporary pop culture, where the doomscroll is king, and the apocalyptic seems ever on the horizon, there comes a song from the annals of rock that captures the essence of serene acceptance in tumultuous times. R.E.M.’s ‘It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine),’ a song that bursts with rapid-fire imagery and rollicking energy, manages to paint a picture of catastrophe while insisting on an underlying tranquility.

At the collision point of political unrest, environmental forewarnings, and personal change, this track stands as a testament to the enduring human spirit. But how exactly does a song teeming with apparent disarray broadcast such a powerful message of composure and grit? Join us as we peel back the layers of this undying anthem, delving into its streaming cascade of references and its mantra-like chorus that remains a paradoxical source of comfort.

A Cascade of Cultural References: Decoding R.E.M.’s Rolodex

R.E.M. didn’t just craft a song; they created a cultural tapestry woven with an eclectic mix of figures and events. The lyrics drop names and phrases that span political figures like Leonid Brezhnev to music icons like Leonard Bernstein and Lenny Bruce. These rapid-fire namechecks serve as potent reminders of a world in constant motion, filled with influencers who shape our zeitgeist. What may seem as name-dropping at high speed taps into the shared consciousness of listeners, triggering a mosaic of associative thoughts and emotions.

The clever use of famous personalities and critical moments in history positions the song as a time capsule of sorts. Yet, despite the years that have passed since its release, these references continue to resonate, underlining the circular nature of societal issues and the eternal recurrence of cultural motifs.

Navigating Through the ‘Eye of a Hurricane’: The Internal Monologue

The song’s verses resemble an inner monologue, a stream-of-consciousness that whisks the listener from one scenario to the next. This rapid succession of images — from natural disasters to political uprisings — portrays the mind’s ability to grapple with vast amounts of information, even when it verges on the overwhelming. It’s as if R.E.M. takes us through the internal processing of a person living in modern society, barraged by a 24-hour news cycle.

Yet the repeated mantra, ‘and I feel fine,’ reasserts control over the chaos. This juxtaposition of anxiety-inducing verses and the nonchalant chorus captures the duality of living in a world fraught with issues but finding personal solace, or perhaps resigning to a sense of inevitability.

Unearthing the Hidden Meaning: A Rebellious Mantra of Survival

Some interpret the chorus as a nihilistic shrug, but a closer listen reveals a deeper defiance, a bold affirmation of survival. The proclamation of feeling ‘fine’ is not about ignorance or detachment; it’s about resilience and choosing to navigate through the end times with one’s head held high. In doing so, R.E.M. taps into a lineage of human defiance against the dark, crafting a modern-day stoic hymn.

The song may suggest that in the acceptance of chaos, one can find a strange sense of peace. By adopting a serene attitude in the face of the world’s end, the band implores us to focus on what we can control – our reactions, our emotions, and our determination to keep pushing forward.

Memorable Lines That Echo Through Time: The Song’s Lingering Impact

Certain lines from the song have burrowed their way into the collective psyche, capturing the essence of what makes it so unforgettable. Phrases like ‘That’s great, it starts with an earthquake,’ set the stage for a narrative that is grand in scale but deeply personal in execution. These words evoke the beginning of something catastrophic yet rendered through a lens that is almost exciting, almost invigorating.

The declarative nature of ‘It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine’ has become a cultural marker. Whether used in film, television, or memes, this line encapsulates a humor-tinged reckoning with reality. R.E.M.’s ability to craft a phrase that resonates on multiple levels is part of the song’s enduring legacy.

From Anxiety to Zen: How the Song Became an Unlikely Source of Comfort

In a world where anxiety has become a constant companion for many, ‘It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)’ has morphed into an unlikely anthem for facing fears head-on. Amidst the song’s whirlwind of words, there lies a core message of calm – a suggestion that, even when bombarded by the bewildering complexities of life, each of us can find a personal equilibrium.

Its repeated airplay in the face of actual global crises became a source of irony and consolation. The paradoxical comfort it provides lies not in a message of hope, but in the acceptance of reality with a wink. Its lasting appeal is that it makes us dance to the rhythm of chaos, with a steadfast heartbeat that says, ‘Regardless of all, I endure.’

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