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R.E.M. - Losing My Religion - Lyrics Meaning

This song was released on the band's 1991 album Out of Time. The term, "losing my religion" is rooted in the southeastern United States vernacular and means to lose one's temper. The lead singer, Michael Stipe, has stated in interviews that the song is about the frustrations of unrequited love. Stipe is infatuated with someone and cannot be with them, so he lashes out. Throughout the song he uses the phrase, "Oh no, I've said too much" followed by "I set it up" or "I haven't said enough", which is Stipe telling the object of his affection more than he should about how he feels, then realizing he was not forthcoming enough.

Stipe wants his obsession reciprocated so badly that he envisions the other person smiling, laughing, singing and even making an attempt to reach out to him. Then he realizes that these things were all a dream. He is "losing his religion" for a lack of attention from the person with whom he is obsessed. He tries to keep up with his love and watch their every move. He fantasizes about being with them, but in the end he realizes he is being foolish and his love will never be returned. Stipe has come out and said that he wanted to write a catchy pop song with simple lyrics about a common affliction of young people.