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



A quote from Homer's Odyssey: "They fell in, soon enough, with Lotus-Eaters, who showed no will to do us harm, only offering the sweet Lotus to our friends... but those who ate this honeyed plant, the Lotus, never cared to report, nor to return; they longed to stay forever, browsing on that native bloom, forgetful of their homeland." [Kevin C Welch] * See also Be Mine.

"sarcastic silver swell"
Perhaps referring to "silver-tongued"?
[Ron Henry]

"ocean flower aquarium"
'Ocean Flower Aquarium' is the name of a store Peter Buck passed every day, I think in Athens.

See http://www.flim.com

"crowbar spine"
Someone walking stiffly, uptight, perhaps in reaction to narrator of song?
[Ron Henry] * This evokes Orange Crush ["I've got my spine..."]. [macrae]

"...and I feel fine"
Stipe acknowledges in interviews this refers to It's the End of the World as We Know It [ellipsis=dot dot dot]. [Ron Henry]

"opposing thumb, dorsal fin/that monkey died for my grin"
"Opposing thumb" refers to the ability of the [primate] hand to use the thumb opposite the fingers to grasp objects. A "dorsal fin" is the fin on the back of fish and marine mammals. The "monkey died" line has an echo of "Jesus died for my sins"; possibly a reference to animal testing of cosmetics such as lipstick.
[Ron Henry]

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Lyrics from Kipp Teague's Lyric Archive.