Imitation of Life
R.E.M. Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Charades pop skill
Water hyacinth
Name by a poet
Imitation of life

Like a koi in a frozen pond
Like a goldfish in a bowl
I don't want to hear you cry

That sugar cane that tasted good
That cinnamon, that's Hollywood
Come on, come on
No-one can see you try

You want the greatest thing
The greatest thing since bread came sliced
You've got it all
You've got it sized

Like a Friday fashion show
Teenager cruising in the corner
Trying to look like you don't try

That sugar cane that tasted good
That cinnamon, that's Hollywood
Come on, come on
No-one can see you try

No-one can see you cry

That sugar cane that tasted good
That' freezing rain, that's what you could
Come on, come on
No-one can see you cry

This sugar cane, this lemonade
This hurricane, I'm not afraid
Come on, come on
No-one can see me cry

This lightning storm, this tidal wave
This avalanche, I'm not afraid
Come on, come on
No-one can see me cry

That sugar cane that tasted good
That's who you are, that's what you could
Come on, come on
No-one can see you cry

That sugar cane that tasted good
That's who you are, that's what you could




Come on, come on
No-one can see you cry

Overall Meaning

R.E.M.'s "Imitation of Life" is a song that expresses the pressures of trying to maintain a false image. The lyrics mention "charades" and "imitation of life" which illustrate the idea of pretending to be someone else in order to fit into society's norms. The line "name by a poet" suggests that one's identity can be constructed by others, rather than being an organic process. The song emphasizes the idea of perception vs. reality, as the singer attempts to convince himself that no one can see through his facade of pretending to be something he's not.


The use of imagery also adds to the meaning of the song. The lyrics compare humans to fish, trapped in their own environment, creating an illusion of freedom. The idea of "sugar cane that tasted good" and "cinnamon that's Hollywood" paints a picture of the delusion of glamour and the false promises of happiness that come with it. The singer acknowledges that he too is guilty of playing the charade, "no one can see me cry," as if he's trying to convince himself that the act is worth it.


Overall, "Imitation of Life" is a commentary on the modern world's obsession with perception and reputation over substance and authenticity. The song warns against living a life of pretense and urges us to embrace our true selves with all our flaws and imperfections.


Line by Line Meaning

Charades pop skill
The ability to put on a show, to pretend, to play a game of charades


Water hyacinth
A beautiful flowering plant that grows in water and can represent the illusion of beauty hiding something beneath the surface


Name by a poet
To have a name that sounds poetic and beautiful, regardless of its true meaning


Imitation of life
Trying to copy or mimic society, living a superficial life that lacks depth and true meaning


Like a koi in a frozen pond
Feeling trapped and helpless in a situation that is out of one's control, like a fish trapped in ice


Like a goldfish in a bowl
Being confined in a small, restricted space, unable to explore, grow, or experience life


I don't want to hear you cry
I don't want to be confronted with the pain and vulnerability of others; I prefer to live in an illusion of happiness and perfection


That sugar cane that tasted good
The temporary pleasure of something sweet that is quickly consumed and forgotten


That cinnamon, that's Hollywood
The fake, manufactured, and exaggerated aspects of life that we see in movies, TV shows, and celebrity culture


Come on, come on
Encouragement to keep up the act, to keep pretending, to keep living the imitation of life


No-one can see you try
The pressure to maintain the illusion of effortless success, to avoid showing the hard work, sweat, and tears that go into achieving something


You want the greatest thing
The desire for success, recognition, and validation from others


The greatest thing since bread came sliced
A hyperbolic comparison to emphasize the importance and greatness of the desired achievement


You've got it all
Believing that one has everything they need to succeed and be happy, even if it's just an illusion


You've got it sized
Feeling confident and in control of the situation, like having measurements or sizes figured out


Like a Friday fashion show
Being part of a superficial and shallow display of fashion and trends that change quickly and have little substance


Teenager cruising in the corner
Feeling lost, insecure, and trying to fit in by following others and avoiding standing out


Trying to look like you don't try
Hiding the effort and struggle behind a façade of ease and confidence


That's freezing rain, that's what you could
The cold, harsh reality that exposes the illusions and false promises of the imitation of life


This sugar cane, this lemonade
The search for a temporary and superficial source of pleasure, the desire for a quick fix to avoid pain and discomfort


This hurricane, I'm not afraid
Feeling powerful and in control in the face of adversity and chaos, even if it's just an illusion


This lightning storm, this tidal wave
The unpredictability and uncontrollable aspects of life that can destroy or transform everything in its path


This avalanche, I'm not afraid
The imminent danger and destruction that can bury us alive, but feeling fearless and invincible in the face of it


That's who you are, that's what you could
The realization that the imitation of life is not who you truly are, and that you have the potential for something greater and more authentic




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

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
To comment on or correct specific content, highlight it

Genre not found
Artist not found
Album not found
Song not found
Most interesting comments from YouTube:

@glads1977

Imitation Of Life
R.E.M.

Charades, pop skill
Water hyacinth
Named by a poet
Imitation of life

Like a koi in a frozen pond
Like a goldfish in a bowl
I don't want to hear you cry

That sugarcane that tasted good
That's cinnamon, that's Hollywood
Come on, come on
No one can see you try

You want the greatest thing
The greatest thing since bread came sliced
You've got it all
You've got it sized

Like a Friday fashion show
Teenager freezing in the corner
Trying to look like you don't try

That sugarcane that tasted good
That's cinnamon, that's Hollywood
Come on, come on
No one can see you try

No one can see you cry

That's sugarcane that tasted good
That's freezing rain, that's what you could
Come on, come on
No one can see you cry

This sugarcane, this lemonade
This hurricane, I'm not afraid
Come on, come on
No one can see me cry

This lightning storm, this tidal wave
This avalanche, I'm not afraid
Come on, come on
No one can see me cry

That sugarcane that tasted good
That's who you are, that's what you could
Come on, come on
No one can see you cry

That sugar cane that tasted good
That's who you are, that's what you could
Come on, come on
No one can see you cry



@kauecardosodonas.9426

LYRICS

Charades, pop skill
Water hyacinth
Named by a poet
Imitation of life

Like a koi in a frozen pond
Like a goldfish in a bowl
I don't want to hear you cry

That sugarcane that tasted good
That's cinnamon, that's hollywood
Come on, come on
No one can see you try

You want the greatest thing
The greatest thing since bread came sliced
You've got it all
You've got it sized

Like a friday fashion show teenager
Freezing in the corner
Trying to look like you don't try

That sugarcane that tasted good
That's cinnamon, that's hollywood
Come on, come on
No one can see you try

No one can see you cry

That sugarcane that tasted good
That's freezing rain, that's what you could
Come on, come on
No one can see you cry

This sugarcane, this lemonade
This hurricane, I'm not afraid
Come on, come on
No one can see me cry

This lightning storm, this tidal wave
This avalanche, I'm not afraid
Come on, come on
No one can see me cry

That sugarcane that tasted good
That's who you are, that's what you could
Come on, come on
No one can see you cry

That sugar cane that tasted good
That's who you are, that's what you could
Come on, come on
No one can see you cry



@dadaferri229

Me lembro com muito carinho eu tinha 5 anos e era uma madrugada e eu acordei com o volume da TV

Meu pai tava sentado no sofá enquanto assistia uma coletânea de clipes do Rem

Nós dois ficamos a noite inteira assistindo os videos e cantando as músicas

Esse foi um dos bons momentos que compartilhei com ele enquanto ele era vivo

E é impossível suprimir em palavras como esse pequeno tempo que eu tive com ele foi importante e mágico

Kkkk hoje tenho meus 17 anos e sou um grande fã do REM por causa do meu velho

Que deus o tenha



@5xDille

Charades, pop skill
Water hyacinth, named by a poet
Imitation of life.
Like a koi in a frozen pond.
Like a goldfish in a bowl.
I don't want to hear you cry.

Thats sugarcane that tasted good.
Thats cinnamon, thats Hollywood.
C'mon, c'mon no one can see you try.

You want the greatest thing
The greatest thing since bread came sliced.
You've got it all, you've got it sized.
Like a Friday fashion show teenager
Freezing in the corner
Trying to look like you don't try.

Thats sugarcane that tasted good.
Thats cinnamon, thats Hollywood.
C'mon, c'mon no one can see you try.

No one can see you cry.

That sugar cane that tasted good.
That freezing rain, that's what you could.
C'mon, c'mon on no one can see you cry.

This sugarcane
This lemonade
This hurricane, I'm not afraid.
C'mon, c'mon no one can see you cry.

This lightning storm
This tidal wave
This avalanche, I'm not afraid.
C'mon, c'mon no one can see me cry.

That sugar cane that tasted good.
That's who you are, that's what you could.
C'mon, c'mon on no one can see you cry.

That sugar cane that tasted good.
That's who you are, that's what you could.
C'mon, c'mon on no one can see you cry



All comments from YouTube:

@Hy-Brasil

this song is like an old friend you haven't seen in ages.

@falankuk

Nostalgia

@JPbarbosa8

You are damn right

@katewilkinson6047

Emily Pollifax YOU GOT IT IN ONE.LOVE IT💝

@BeforeSleepASMR

I feel you!

@HalfLife83

🎈

32 More Replies...

@thegood9

Man I wish there was a 4K version of this video...there is so much detail, so many fine elements. Just a genius video to match a genius song.

@ipiap

There is too much zooming in it. I donT know how much the picture quality could be improved.

@chadderton

I don't ever remember it being anything other than grainy, even when it was on TV back in the day.

@asturiasrobocop1341

HEY! Notice that its done that way. The zooming its on "the video" itself , not on the image. Also , it was 2001 and the monkey is playing mandolin. Why? I dont know, but i think Mike Stipe its cool .

More Comments

More Versions