R.E.M. Lyric Annotations FAQ
R.E.M.: Up: Daysleeper



"staff cuts have socked up the overage"
"Overage" is another word for "surplus".
[Chris Piuma]

"directives are posted./no callbacks, complaints."
Directives are policy statements from a company's management; callbacks are return calls to new job applicants. "No complaints" presumably means that no current employees dare complain about bad conditions for fear of losing their jobs.
[Ron Henry] * I take this a different way. The daysleeper works in the receiving dept., is there to "receive" stuff (international mail, etc.) and handle calls, problems, etc., that arise in the middle of the night, probably because the company she works for is an international one and so needs to be able to transact a certain amount of business in the wee hours of the night, when Japan, etc., are in the full hours of the business day... So "callbacks" and "complaints" I see as referring to follow-up calls, complaint calls, etc., such a person might get from those who are transacting business with the company the daysleeper works for very late at night. [Lisa Gardner]

"all talk of circadian rhythms"
Circadian rhythms are the daily rhythms in living things (including humans) that govern such things as sleep cycles.
[Ron Henry]

"I see today with a newsprint fray"
Newsprint refers to the paper pulp used for newspapers, not the ink printed on it.
[Tad Schirz]

"the bull and the bear are marking their territories"
The bull and the bear are symbolic animals representing positive and negative performance in the stock market.
[Ron Henry] * Many animals mark their territories by urinating on them. [Chris Piuma]

"the ocean machine is set to 9"
An "ocean machine" a white noise making machine that helps people sleep by masking background noise, presumably turned to its highest [or next-to-highest] setting.
[Chris Piuma]

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Lyrics from Kipp Teague's Lyric Archive.