It's the End of the World as We Know It
R.E.M. Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

That's great, it starts with an earthquake
Birds and snakes, and aeroplanes
And Lenny Bruce is not afraid

Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn
World serves its own needs
Don't mis-serve your own needs
Speed it up a notch, speed, grunt, no, strength
The ladder starts to clatter
With a fear of height, down, height
Wire in a fire, represent the seven games
And 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, trumped, tethered, cropped
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 reverent in 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, T.V. hour, don't get caught in foreign tower
Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn
Lock him in uniform, book burning, bloodletting
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 and steering 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 (I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it (I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine (time I had some time alone)
I feel fine (I feel fine)

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

The other night I drifted nice continental drift divide
Mountains sit in a line, Leonard Bernstein
Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs
Birthday party, cheesecake, jellybean, boom
You symbiotic, patriotic, slam but neck, right, right

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

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

It's the end of the world as we know it (time I had some time alone)




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

Overall Meaning

The lyrics to R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" express the chaotic and overwhelming feeling of the world coming to an end. The song opens with a description of various natural and man-made disasters, ranging from an earthquake to government corruption. The line "Lenny Bruce is not afraid" could refer to the comedian's fearlessness in pushing boundaries and challenging authority.


The chorus repeats the phrase "It's the end of the world as we know it," emphasizing the idea that the world as we know it is coming to an end. However, the singer notes that they "feel fine," suggesting a sense of acceptance and even liberation in the face of this change.


The second verse continues the themes of chaos and disarray, with references to book burning, bloodletting, and automotive incineration. The singer urges the listener to "offer me solutions, offer me alternatives and I decline," perhaps suggesting that the old ways of thinking and problem-solving are no longer adequate for facing the end of the world.


The song concludes with a rapid-fire listing of names and phrases, creating a sense of information overload and sensory overload. The final repetition of "It's the end of the world as we know it /...and I feel fine" suggests that even in the face of overwhelming change, there is hope and a willingness to adapt and evolve.


Line by Line Meaning

That's great, it starts with an earthquake
The world as we know it is experiencing some kind of chaotic event that signifies a turning point.


Birds and snakes, and aeroplanes
The chaos is affecting all kinds of things, including nature and technology.


And Lenny Bruce is not afraid
Even famous people who are used to being in the public eye are not immune to the chaotic events happening around them.


Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn
In the midst of this chaos, it's important to stay grounded and listen to your own thoughts and reactions.


World serves its own needs
The world is a self-serving entity that does not care about individual human needs or desires.


Don't mis-serve your own needs
It's important to take care of oneself and not let the world's chaos interfere with personal well-being.


Speed it up a notch, speed, grunt, no, strength
In times of chaos, people feel a sense of urgency and need to act quickly and with determination.


The ladder starts to clatter
The structures of society that people have relied on are starting to break down.


With a fear of height, down, height
People are afraid of the uncertainty and instability that comes with this breakdown of societal structures.


Wire in a fire, represent the seven games
Perhaps a reference to seven deadly sins, the chaos is tied to human behavior and desires.


And a government for hire and a combat site
The government and military are also caught up in the chaos, perhaps even contributing to it.


Left her, wasn't coming in a hurry
People are leaving their old ways behind as the chaos forces them to adapt and change quickly.


With the Furies breathing down your neck
The chaos is so intense that it feels like a mythical force (the Furies) is coming after individuals.


Team by team, reporters baffled, trumped, tethered, cropped
Even the media is struggling to keep up with the fast-paced changes and chaos happening around them.


Look at that low plane, fine, then
Even small, seemingly insignificant events can feel ominous and contribute to a sense of impending doom.


Uh oh, overflow, population, common group
There are too many people and not enough resources or solutions to deal with the chaos happening globally.


But it'll do, save yourself, serve yourself
Individuals are left to take matters into their own hands and find ways to survive in this tumultuous environment.


World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed
Again, the world is not interested in individual needs or desires, which can feel overwhelming and lead to a sense of despair.


Tell me with the Rapture and the reverent in the right, right
Perhaps a reference to religious beliefs, people are searching for a greater meaning or purpose in the face of the chaotic events happening around them.


You vitriolic, patriotic, slam fight, bright light
People are turning on each other and becoming more aggressive and divisive in their beliefs and actions.


Feeling pretty psyched
Despite the chaos, some individuals feel energized and even excited by the changes happening around them.


It's the end of the world as we know it
The chaos is leading to the end of the current way of life and understanding of the world.


and I feel fine
Despite the chaos, some individuals are able to find a sense of peace or acceptance.


Six o'clock, T.V. hour, don't get caught in foreign tower
People are urged to be cautious and aware of their surroundings in this unstable environment.


Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn
People are encouraged to stay true to themselves and their beliefs even as the world changes drastically around them.


Lock him in uniform, book burning, bloodletting
The chaos has led to authoritarianism, where individuals are punished for their beliefs or actions.


Every motive escalate, automotive incinerate
People are becoming more extreme and destructive in their actions and interactions with others.


Light a candle, light a motive, step down, step down
People can find hope and motivation even in the darkest of times.


Watch your heel crush, crush, uh oh
Again, the chaos is causing people to feel a sense of fear and danger.


This means no fear, cavalier, renegade and steering clear
People must face their fears and be brave and innovative in this new world.


A tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies
The chaos has led to a sense of competition and falsehoods in society.


Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives and I decline
Despite the chaos, individuals may be unwilling or unable to embrace change or new solutions to the problems facing society.


The other night I drifted nice continental drift divide
Perhaps a reference to cultural or social divisions becoming more pronounced in this unstable environment.


Mountains sit in a line, Leonard Bernstein
This line may not have clear meaning, but may be a reference to the beauty and order that still exists in the world despite the chaos.


Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs
Again, even famous or influential individuals are not immune to the chaos and changes happening in the world.


Birthday party, cheesecake, jellybean, boom
Perhaps a reflection on the fleeting nature of enjoyment and pleasure in the face of the chaos and instability of the world.


You symbiotic, patriotic, slam but neck, right, right
Again, people are turning on each other and becoming more divisive and hostile in their beliefs and actions.




Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
Written by: John Michael Stipe, Michael E. Mills, Peter Lawrence Buck, William Thomas Berry

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

@Dragonaiis

Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the national anthem of 2020

@sammillward62

More like the world anthem

@jasondierbeck4392

@@sammillward62 Indeed

@canovwrms2684

Well said.

@iwoodnotwood5102

😂😂 good one

@OvertheHedge06

@B F over time this is becoming more and more accurate

15 More Replies...

@vsmith1688

This song is strangely comforting at this crazy time we're all living in now.

@redneck3117

I want to like but 69 so no

@christinaduncan2283

What you said!

@jackiegodwin4966

This song on loop in my mind...🤣

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