What does Shiny Happy People mean?

REM: Shiny Happy People Meaning

Album cover for Shiny Happy People album cover

Song Released: 1991

Shiny Happy People Lyrics

Shiny happy people laughing

Meet me in the crowd
People, people
Throw your love around
Love me, love me
Take it into town
Happy, happy
Put it in the ground
Where the flowers grow
Gold and silver shine

Shiny happy people...

  1. anonymous
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    Apr 13th 2020 !⃝

    I think it has something to do with the elderly man. He is working hard to keep it running, yet everyone else is dancing and celebrating and not helping out. Then he leaves the bike and is enlightened to see the shiny happy people. I think that could be another meaning. Yeah, it might be about Chinese government, but I think the other meaning could be about slavery. Slaves working hard when the majority is not. In fact the “shiny happy loving people” are celebrating. They do not ask him to join or take a break. Only the girl did, nobody else. Idk, but that’s just what i think :/

  2. anonymous
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    Jun 12th 2018 !⃝

    This is, in fact, one of the saddest songs of all time, REM is using an extreme irony on it and, extremely intelligent as usual, demands a sensibility to understand the metalanguage on it when it portrays the opposite what he wants to say.

  3. anonymous
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    Sep 15th 2017 !⃝

    This song gives me insight even before I started researching what it meant that as we see today as events are taking place and we see these governments,presidents.... "world leaders" (bollocks) greeting each other like everything is okay, but as we know they are puppets for the hidden hand.

  4. anonymous
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    Jul 21st 2017 !⃝

    People being on Prozac to help cope with life.

  5. anonymous
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    May 6th 2017 !⃝

    “It’s a fruity pop song written for children. It just is what it is,” Stipe told the BBC’s Andrew Marr in 2016. “If there was one song that was sent into outer space to represent R.E.M. for the rest of time, I would not want it to be Shiny Happy People.” [2]


  6. anonymous
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    May 5th 2017 !⃝

    I interpret it about the fake love of the 60s people who talk love but don't really feel it or genuinely share it.

  7. anonymous
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    Dec 23rd 2012 !⃝

    Racist lyrics "shine" is colored people. They are from Georgia, no?

  8. anonymous
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    Apr 9th 2012 !⃝

    No, It's a protest song. It's about the Chinese government under Communist rule.

  9. anonymous
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    Mar 27th 2012 !⃝

    Stipe is essentially suggesting that these 'shiny, happy people' make him feel sick. Just watch the video and listen to the lyrics. Sarcasm and big non-stop fake smiles all through. A 'happy' melody with a less than happy meaning.

  10. anonymous
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    Mar 23rd 2012 !⃝


    Perhaps no one has submitted an interpretation because they over-look it as a simple song about Shiny Happy People? Yet, given this IS an REM song, I think it is aimed at phony happy people. Trust others have some in-depth/other ideas?

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