What does It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine) mean?

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REM: It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine) Meaning

Song Released: 1987

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It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine) Lyrics

That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane -
Lenny Bruce is not afraid. Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn -
world serves its own needs, regardless of your own needs. Feed it up a knock,
speed, grunt...


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    Feb 19th, 2008 2:31pm report

    I think this song is an expression of how desensitized people had become to global threats during the Cold War.
    During the period when this song was written, there was a lot of controversy about the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan, and some people talked about a possible nuclear war between the US and the Soviets...

    It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine..

    of course, by now, everyone was so numb to the notion that they didn't really care as much as they used to in the 60s.

    They were basically like "Oh boy! it's the end of the world...again! Just like that time in Cuba! Maybe we'll start shooting each other this time! What the f**k ever!"


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    Sep 6th, 2008 9:57pm report

    I agree with the first interpretations, Cuba Missile Crisis, Bob Dylan writes A Hard Rains A Gonna Fall to show how bad things were, Reagan starts spending big to match the commies, everyone things there's going to be a war, this is REM saying, not this again.

    Also it is believed to be inspired by a dream Stipe had, where various LP's appeared, Lenny Bruce, Lester Bangs etc.


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    Aug 28th, 2019 8:37am report

    I have to agree with those who say this is a commentary on policy debate (specifically collegiate, formalized). I have no idea if Mr. Stipe was a debater or not, but all debate rounds back then generally ended with the “winner” being the person whose plan killed the fewest in a nuclear war. Silly? Yes. That’s the point of the song.

    Also, as point out “A tournament of lies” and I would argue, “offer me
    Solutions, offer me alternatives...” which sounds much like a counterplan and solution counters to me.

    Plus the speed is making fun of the debate style back then which was close to 300 wpm. Which of course, is silly to
    The author. Can’t blame him.

    Honestly no matter what? This song definitely fits debate in the 80s and 90s.


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    Mar 23rd, 2018 3:41am report

    If you look at the world now it describes our almost our exact situation.! And the press and trump OMG WHAT DID THEY KNOW THEN?


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    Jan 4th, 2015 1:33pm report

    This song by REM came out during the cold war days when pres. REAGAN [r.i.p] spooked us and the Russians with the parts of the world within the sattellites of the Federation in the Star Wars defence space project. I could only guess that REM wanted us to be more '' aware & think'' not to take anybody's mad belief theory systems serious in trapping our minds in the ''fear to control'' us for their own agendas in the fires they [world leaders] started for their own cause, not ours by fear propaganda to influence us to think that the end of the world might be coming by some ''unatural evil force'', and even if it does I[we] should feel fine meanwhile until the time comes for change because it is not in my[our] control no matter what the inttelectuals tell us of what is wrong or right.


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    Sep 24th, 2014 9:37pm report

    Stripe was a Debater, and he wrote this song during a college debate round at the university of Georgia. He was making fun of the nature of debate in which people will argue that nearly every action will lead to human extinction. He also mocks philosophical debate in his referencing critiques of over-consumption and capitalism. the line "a tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies" makes the context for this song pretty clear.


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    Sep 5th, 2014 9:09am report

    I believe the song is saying everything changes, and no matter what is going on around you, either in your world or the "whole" world you have to do what's right for you! Excluding EVERYONE and everything but ourselves.
    It's truly about self


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    Feb 10th, 2014 2:08pm report

    I agree that it is about the cold war it was written right about when it ended (in 1991) and has many lines that show it like materialism and patriotism


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    Nov 4th, 2012 11:20pm report

    You are all wrong it is about a policy debate round. in which the impacts talk about the end of the world.
    The singer of REM was a debater also.


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    Sep 25th, 2011 9:48pm report

    I think the song is spoken from the point of view of an individual who sees himself as detatched from the cluttered up world around him. "Oh, the world is going to end? Good. It's about time I had some time alone."

    Or it could be a sarcastic reply to the umpteenth rapture warning.


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    Sep 5th, 2011 9:32am report

    They just loved drugs. It had no meaning.


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    Aug 27th, 2011 8:18pm report

    It's based on a dream that michael stipe had.


    Mick Price
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    Aug 4th, 2011 8:22am report

    It's about how the end of the world as we know it isn't the end of the world. Change happens and it seems overwhelming but the narraotr feels fine. The world serves it's own needs and you should serve yours and not worry so much about current events.


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    Jul 22nd, 2011 7:58am report

    I believe it just has to do with the way adults are so concerned about everything and the poor kid is stuck inside the house when his parents are out doing drugs in the 1980's.


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    Mar 19th, 2011 3:21pm report

    I think this song means that the world is going to start anew and people overreact whenever someone says the world is going to end. if the world will end it doesn't mean it's gonna blow up every time. There could just be a big huge change.


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    Feb 10th, 2010 2:16pm report

    I personally believe it is about the media, and how everyone freaks out over everything. Most of the lyrics don't seem to have anything to do with the Cuban Missile Crisis, or anything in general. That's just my interpretation.


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    Apr 15th, 2009 4:44pm report

    It's about change and an unclear future

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