Michael Stipe Details The Inspiration Behind The Lyrics Of ‘Losing My Religion’

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During his recent interview with Broken Record Podcast, R.E.M. icon Michael Stipe talked about writing one of their iconic songs, ‘Losing My Religion,’ of which people questioned true meaning. Also, the singer revealed which lyrics he changed in the track by explaining why.

R.E.M. released their seventh studio album named ‘Out of Time’ on March 12, 1991. The album produced several hits, but the most popular was ‘Losing My Religion.’ The song instantly became the band’s most liked song and was listened to a lot worldwide thanks to its unique sounds and lyrics.

Because of its title, some people thought it was about someone losing faith and sharing feelings about that. However, Stipe denied it, saying it means ‘losing temper’ in the Southern region. Then, he added that it referred to unrequited love. He admitted that he didn’t guess it would gain such popularity in his latest conversation. They released it as a single to set up the following pop-oriented song, and it surprised them.

Additionally, Stipe stated that the song’s initial lyrics were ‘That’s me in the kitchen’ instead of ‘That’s me in the corner.’ He wanted to describe a person pretending like a wallflower at a party and can’t talk to the person they like. The relationship is happening in that person’s mind, so they don’t know if they are talking too much or not saying enough. Then, he decided to change ‘kitchen’ to ‘spotlight,’ which became a story about his own life.

Stipe said in his interview that:

“We released it as the first single, thinking it was going to set up the next song, which was something much more pop. I don’t remember what it was. Then, eventually, ‘Everybody Hurts’ was a big ballad that became a hit song around the world that was also really good for us. That’s a beautiful video as well. It’s such a weird song. We had no idea it was going to resonate the way that it did.

I changed one lyric, ‘That’s me in the corner/That’s me in the kitchen,’ what I was pulling from was being the shy wallflower who hangs back at the party or the dance and doesn’t go up to the person that you’re madly in love with and say ‘I’ve kind of got a crush on you, how do you feel about me?’ This whole relationship is happening only in the person’s mind, and he doesn’t know whether he’s said too much or hasn’t said enough.

In the corner of the dance floor, he’s watching everyone dance and watching the love of his life on the dance floor dancing with everyone because that’s the most exciting person, or he’s in the kitchen behind the refrigerator. I changed ‘kitchen’ to ‘spotlight,’ and instantly, of course, the song became about me, which it never was. I don’t think I’m pretty self-aware.”

You can check out the interview and song below.