Losing My Religion

“Losing my religion”, according to Michael Stipe, is a southern expression. The idea is something like this: It means when there’s something you want so bad, you’re willing to sacrifice everything else that exists in order to get/achieve it. This thing is so important that you’d be willing to give up your religion In the words of Stipe during the VH1 Storytellers, it’s when “something has pushed you so far that you would lose your faith for it.. it’s pushed you to the nth degree”. So we’ve got that part down. So what is the song about? When you have a crush on someone, and you’re afraid.. and you want to find out if they like you, and you desperately want them to know that you like them, but you just can’t… And so you’re subtly dropping hints, and you’re certain each time that you’ve gone too far, and you’ve ruined everything… or you lay out these hints, and the person responds in a way you didn’t expect, or don’t understand… and so there’s this constant struggle inside your head to 1.) figure out what you have to do to get this person to notice you, and 2.) figure out what that person is thinking based on their actions/reactions… and it’s all just too much for you, and you’ve got this crush so bad that you’d give anything in this world for it.. That’s what this song is about. This song in one word: Unrequited


Oh, Life is bigger
It’s bigger than you
And you are not me
The lengths that I will go to
The distance in your eyes
Oh no I’ve said too much
I set it up

That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don’t know if I can do it
Oh no I’ve said too much
I haven’t said enough
I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try

Every whisper
Of every waking hour I’m
Choosing my confessions
Trying to keep an eye on you
Like a hurt lost and blinded fool
Oh no I’ve said too much
I set it up

Consider this
The hint of the century
Consider this
The slip that brought me
To my knees failed
What if all these fantasies
Come flailing around
Now I’ve said too much
I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try

But that was just a dream
That was just a dream

Oh life is bigger
It’s bigger than you
And you are not me

I like to think of this as a opening moment of clarity in what will become a fairly obsessive song. I don’t really know if that’s what’s intended with the lyrics, but I like the idea of the first few thoughts being the understanding that life is bigger than all of this, and there is an overarching purpose that’s more important than this crush.. than this person.

The lengths that I will go to
We begin the obsession. And I should note that I use that word without any desired negative connotations. I’m not thinking freaky stalker crazy guy.. I’m thinking someone so overwhelmed with a crush that everything just seems less important in comparison, and all events only matter in their relation to this crush. It’s probably unhealthy, but I’ve lived a good chunk for my life living that way, and still find the idea terribly romantic. So here we have 2 things. First, we have the realization that this guy would do anything for this girl. Nothing is too much. But we also have the thoughts about how far he can go (as far as hinting at his feelings, etc.) without it going too far. There’s this idea, and I was a true believer almost my entire life (and I’m sure I am still sometimes now) that these kinds of things all need to be very planned out, and once these millions of seemingly insignificant things happen, everything will proceed as it ought, and true happiness will follow. So you don’t dare say too much too soon, or it’ll ruin the overall plan, that always seems to require a long, long time, and lot’s of plans that never pan out. So he’d do anything for her, but doesn’t want to blow it by saying or doing too much.

The distance in your eyes
But she seems either uninterested, or doesn’t notice.. and something must be done.

Oh no I’ve said too much
I set it up

The fear that he’s gone too far, and ruined everything.

That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight
Losing my religion

Now he’s feeling exposed.. he’s said too much, and everyone knows, and it’s becoming too much for him.

Trying to keep up with you
And I don’t know if I can do it

Sometimes I think of this as the more stalker-esque “he’s trying to physically stay where she is at all times, to see her, and try to win her over by just sort of being there”, but more often I think of it more as him trying to keep putting forth the effort to win her over. Like love/relationship is this big game and he’s just trying to keep up with her in it, with the hopes that at some point he might win.

Oh no I’ve said too much
I haven’t said enough

The constant doubt about what you’re currently doing… if it’s too obvious, too much, not enough, if it’d get missed or misinterpreted.

I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try

Trying to gage her reactions, or read her somehow… which sometimes leads to trying to force yourself to believe things are a certain way.

Every whisper
Of every waking hour I’m
Choosing my confessions

The hours spent trying to think of the right words to say to win her over… or just to explain your actions…

Trying to keep an eye on you
Like a hurt lost and blinded fool

There are inevitable feelings of pathetic and self-loathing, or at least doubt that leads to thinking everything you’re doing is really dumb.

Oh no I’ve said too much
I set it up

Consider this
The hint of the century
Consider this
The slip that brought me
To my knees failed
What if all these fantasies
Come flailing around

When I hear “the slip that brought me to my knees failed” here, I think of a situation where the guy let’s slip this giant crush, or alludes to it in such a way as to make it obvious (at least from his point of view) how he feels.. Some small picture of his desire, and his hopes.. and nothing happens… It just falls flat. Maybe it doesn’t blow up in his face, but nothing changes at all.. That’s just horribly frustrating…. Because now all those feelings are out there, but they aren’t doing any good.. and you can’t really take them back, or make them new.. They still exist, but they’ve accomplished nothing.

Now I’ve said too much
And with that, you know that you’ve let too much out..

I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try
But that was just a dream
That was just a dream

And all those reactions you thought you saw, you realize aren’t really there at all… Pretty much nothing has changed. Back to the drawing board… more sleepless nights of thinking of ways to win her over.

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