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R.E.M - Everybody Hurts - Lyrics Meaning

This track was released as a single by R.E.M in 1993 and was written mainly by the band's drummer Bill Berry. It's basically an anti-suicide song and Berry is reported to have said he wanted to reach out to anyone feeling their life was without hope. He also wrote, "The reason the lyrics are so atypically straightforward is that it was aimed at teenagers...I've never watched `Buffy the Vampire Slayer' but the idea that high school is a portal to hell seems pretty realistic to me."

The track has often been misconstrued as being a sad, "what's the point of it all," song, probably due to its somber tone, but the exact opposite is actually the case. The lyrics contain a strong message of not giving up hope with the most important, and most repeated words, being, `Hold on.'

Throughout the verses, the overriding theme is that everyone experiences sadness and pain at some point in their lives but no matter how isolated you feel, `You are not alone.' The state of Nevada in the US has a high teenage suicide rate and the band received high praise there for, "encouraging the prevention of teen suicides," through the lyrics of this song.

Part of the band's unique style was frontman Michael Stipe's reputation for blurring lyrics but on this track he sang every word clearly as he wanted the message to be heard and understood.