Ignoreland
R.E.M. Lyrics


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These bastards stole their power
From the victims of the Us v Them years
Wrecking all things virtuous and true
The undermining social democratic downhill slide into abysmal
Lost lamb off the precipice into the trickle down runoff pool
They hypnotized the summer, ninteen-seventy-nine
Marched into the capital brooding duplicitous
Wicked and able, media-ready
Heartless, and labeled
Super US citizen, super achiever
Mega ultra power dosing, relax
Defense, defense, defense, defense

Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Ignoreland
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Ignoreland
Yeah, yeah, yeah

The information nation took their
Clues from all the sound-bite gluttons
1980, eighty four, eighty eight, ninety two too, too
How to be what you can be
Jump jam junking your energies
How to walk in dignity with throw up on your shoes
They amplified the autumn, ninteen-seventy-nine
Calculate the capital
Up the republic my skinny ass
TV tells a million lies
The paper's terrified to report
Anything that isn't handed on a presidential spoon
I'm just profoundly frustrated by all this
So, fuck you, man (fuck 'em)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Ignoreland
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Ignoreland

If they weren't there we would have created them
Maybe, it's true
But I'm resentful all the same
Someone's got to take the blame
I know that this is vitriol
No solution, spleen-venting
But I feel better having screamed
Don't you?
They desecrated winter, ninteen-seventy-nine
Capital collateral
Brooding duplicitous, wicked and able, media-ready
Heartless, and labeled

Super US citizen, super achiever
Mega ultra power dosing, relax
Defense, defense, defense, defense

Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Ignoreland
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Ignoreland
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Ignoreland

Yeah, yeah, yeah




I did not do the revolution
Thank you

Overall Meaning

In "Ignoreland," R.E.M. critiques the American political and social system. The song describes corrupt politicians and the powerful elites who manipulate the masses to maintain their hold on power. R.E.M. labels these people as "bastards" who have stolen their power from the victims of the "Us v Them" years. The band points out that the "undermining" of social democratic values has led to an "abysmal" state of affairs. The trickle-down economics that have become a centerpiece of American economic policy have turned the country into a "lost lamb" that has fallen off the "precipice."


R.E.M. refers to 1979 and the years that followed as a time of "hypnotized summer." The band sings about how the politicians of that era "marched into the capital brooding duplicitous, wicked, and able, media-ready, heartless, and labeled super US citizen, super achiever." The song describes these powerful politicians as "mega ultra power dosing" and emphasizes their obsession with "defense." R.E.M. blames the media for perpetuating lies and for being "terrified to report anything that isn't handed on a presidential spoon."


The song ends with a call to action--R.E.M. acknowledges that there is no easy solution to the problems plaguing America. However, they argue that it's important to speak out and "scream" in the face of corruption and misinformation. "Ignoreland" serves as a critique of American society, politics, and the media.


Line by Line Meaning

These bastards stole their power
The people in power gained their authority by stealing from the downtrodden


From the victims of the Us v Them years
This theft occurred during the time when society was divided into opposing factions


Wrecking all things virtuous and true
These powerful people destroyed everything that was good and honest


The undermining social democratic downhill slide into abysmal
Society was going down a path towards disaster because of an assault on its social democratic principles


Lost lamb off the precipice into the trickle down runoff pool
Ordinary people were pushed to the brink and ended up in a situation where they were the most disadvantaged


They hypnotized the summer, ninteen-seventy-nine
The people in power made everything seem perfect during the summer of 1979


Marched into the capital brooding duplicitous
These people marched into the capital with hidden, negative intentions


Wicked and able, media-ready
They were ready to use the media to their advantage to push their evil agenda


Heartless, and labeled
They were cold and calculated, and had a bad reputation


Super US citizen, super achiever
These people were seen as the epitome of American success


Mega ultra power dosing, relax
These people had to constantly maintain their power and control, and needed to take extreme measures to achieve this


Defense, defense, defense, defense
Their main focus was on defense and protecting their interests


The information nation took their
The public took their cues from the media


Clues from all the sound-bite gluttons
The media was saturated with short, catchy sound bites that people couldn't get enough of


1980, eighty four, eighty eight, ninety two too, too
Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, these people remained in power and continued to wreak havoc on society


How to be what you can be
The media taught people how to be successful and achieve their goals


Jump jam junking your energies
People were encouraged to channel their energy into frivolous activities


How to walk in dignity with throw up on your shoes
The media tried to convince people that they could still walk with dignity even if they were covered in the filth of their own actions


They amplified the autumn, ninteen-seventy-nine
The media made everything seem great during the fall of 1979, but this was just an illusion


Calculate the capital
These people were constantly calculating their next move to maintain their hold on power


Up the republic my skinny ass
The artist doesn't believe that the government is doing anything to help the people, and they're frustrated by this lack of action


TV tells a million lies
The media is full of misinformation and propaganda


The paper's terrified to report
Even the media that wants to report the truth is scared to do so because of the consequences


Anything that isn't handed on a presidential spoon
The government controls the media, and only wants certain things to be reported


I'm just profoundly frustrated by all this
The singer is extremely frustrated by the entire situation


So, fuck you, man (fuck 'em)
The singer is angry and lashing out at those in power


If they weren't there we would have created them
The people in power might not have been created if society wasn't structured this way in the first place


Maybe, it's true
This could be possible


But I'm resentful all the same
The artist still blames those in power for their actions


Someone's got to take the blame
The singer thinks that those responsible need to be held accountable


I know that this is vitriol
The singer acknowledges that their anger and frustration is intense


No solution, spleen-venting
The artist has no solution to the problem, they're just venting their anger


But I feel better having screamed
The artist feels better after letting out their frustration


Don't you?
The artist is asking if anyone else feels the same way they do


They desecrated winter, ninteen-seventy-nine
The powers that be ruined the winter of 1979


Capital collateral
The capital was affected in some way


Yeah, yeah, yeah
This is repeated for emphasis


Ignoreland
The singer wants to ignore the negative aspects of society and focus on the good instead




Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
Written by: Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Michael Mills, Michael Stipe

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Most interesting comment from YouTube:

@refl3ktor

This is a song about how the hawks/neocons used the Iranian hostage crisis to get hapless President Carter out of office and themselves in, in 1979; and about how they used the media to trick the American people. It is about the Reagan administration. Reagan was not a bad guy himself, really; but had been surrounded by international baddies like George H.W. Bush, Caspar Weinberger, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld ( to name only a few ). It was the beginning of the neocon movement and Cowboy diplomacy.

They are still in power today.

Stipe is frustrated that people aren't getting it. Asleep at the wheel in Ignoreland..

The hostage crisis was a setup, designed to make Cater look weak, and it certainly worked.

They used the media to "hypnotize the summer", "amplify the autumn" ( the October surprise ), and "desecrate the winter" ( the election Reagan won, which put the neocons in ).

If you think this is an anti-Trump song, you're crazy.

But it is an anti-Clintons, Biden, Obama song. Although Democrats, they are just as much a part of the system as the Bushes ( 41 and 43 ).

Trump may have been controlled opposition, or maybe he was the real deal; but for sure.. he was the only president we've had since 1979 that wasn't reading from the globalist, war pig sheet music.

They hate him because he said "no" to infinite wars and endless foreign intervention. Biden, Hillary: not so much.

Once we've invaded Iran again, the globalists will get rid of America. They prefer the CCP system for the new world order. The handwriting is unmistakably on the wall. And still everyone stares at their TVs in Ignoreland, believing every word they say.

If you think the riots in summer 2020 were a step forward, you've played absolutely into their hands again. It's designed to tear the country apart. Have fun in Ignoreland because it won't last long.

The winter is coming. It will be long, dark and replete with shortages. It will last the spring, summer and fall



All comments from YouTube:

@bernardkelly7779

Mad how true this piece of songwriting reflects all that is happening today. Stunning.

@Retroearthling

It seems like from recent interviews that they weren't happy with the way this song came out. DISAGREE it's so powerful! Don't worry guys, you NAILED IT! I miss you guys a lot! Thanks for all the music. Your body of work is just so big and beautiful, and you should be very proud of what you accomplished. The sheer volume of material says that you deserved you're retirement.

@MackyPamintuan

REM just shared this video on facebook and said that it "needs to be on a continuous loop here in the USA."
Suffice to say, they approve of the song now.

@DavidSmith-iq4vr

I think that after Automatic For The People was released, the band felt that perhaps this song didn't quite fit in with the overall mellow tone of the album. Even if that is a valid argument, it's still a great song, has a powerful message with some of Stipe's best lyrics, and it can be good to have one particular song that offers up something quite different from those accompanying it.

@dougs8192

@@DavidSmith-iq4vr - I couldn't agree more. I love AFTP but I think this song was desperately needed on Side 2 (back in the day) to break up all those mellow ones.

@dougs8192

I was fortunate to follow Mike Mills at a celebrity (mostly rockers) golf tournament around 1996 in Potomac, MD for about 13 holes and I never bugged him at all while he golfed, I just followed his group quietly. BUT when it was over I somehow crashed the tiny reception for the celebs and was able to talk to Mike and his girlfriend at that time for I'd say 7-8 minutes. From what I recall he was okay with most of my questions and comments, but when I told him that I thought Ignoreland was greatly underrated and one of my favorites, I noticed his face grimaced a bit. I don't recall him saying much - he MAY have mumbled something about it not fitting well on the album but I mainly rem that grimace telling me he didn't share my enthusiasm.

@avidrocker

they nailed every thing they did!!

4 More Replies...

@JeremyCoppin

I seriously wished that REM performed this live. This song is so timeless, The lyrics hold key warnings for any generation. Epic piece of poetry.

@abrilcardenasvela8012

They did! In Perú. With the megaphone and everything. It was... Imma write it in spanish: trascendental.

@Komicklepto

They did on their final tour. I saw them perform it at Twickenham.

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