R.E.M.’s 1987 song ‘End of the World’ re-enters charts amid outbreak

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R.E.M. (photo credit Paul Natkin/PhotoReserve)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Indie rock outfit R.E.M. is still broken up, yet one of its seminal anthems has returned to the forefront of popular music.

The band’s 1987 song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” reached the number 64 position on the iTunes singles charts on Sunday, according to Consequence of Sound. In comparison, at its peak more than 32 years ago, it reached number 69 on the Billboard Top 100.

Despite the song’s hook, singer Michael Stipe said the song’s lyrics were more of a collection of streams of consciousness than a political message.

R.E.M. called it quits in 2011 after 31 years of activity. Guitarist Peter Buck told Billboard in 2016 the breakup was amicable.

Lyrics for “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

That’s great! It starts with an earthquake,
Birds and snakes, an aeroplane;
and Lenny Bruce is not afraid.

Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn.
World serves its own needs, don’t mis-serve your own needs.
Speed it up a notch, speed, grunt, no strength.
The ladder starts to clatter with fear of height, down height.
Wire in a fire, represent the seven games
In a government for hire and a combat site.
Left her, wasn’t coming in a hurry
With the furies breathing down your neck.

Team by team reporters baffled, trump, tethered crop.
Look at that low plane! Fine, then.
Uh oh, overflow, population, Common Food,
But it’ll do. Save yourself, serve yourself.
World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed.
Tell me with the rapture and the reverent in the right, right.
You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright light;
Feeling pretty psyched.

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

Six o’clock. TV hour.
Don’t get caught in foreign tower.
Slash and burn, return,
Listen to yourself churn.
Lock him in uniform and book burning, bloodletting.
Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate.
Light a candle, light a votive.
Step down, step down.
Watch a heel crush, crush.
Uh oh, this means no fear; cavalier.
Renegade and steer clear!
A tournament, a tournament,
A tournament of lies.
Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives
And I decline.

It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine (It’s time I had some time alone)
I feel fine

It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine (It’s time I had some time alone)

The other night I tripped a nice
Continental drift divide.
Mountains sit in a line.
Leonard Bernstein, Leonid Brezhnev,
Lenny Bruce, and Lester Bangs
Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly beans, boom!
You symbiotic, patriotic, slam, but neck, right? (Right!)

It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine (It’s time I had some time alone)

It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine (It’s time I had some time alone)

It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine (It’s time I had some time alone)

It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine (It’s time I had some time alone)

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