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Daysleeper - R.E.M.


In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003
rock alternative alternative rock 90s REM

"Daysleeper" is a song by R.E.M., released as their first single from their eleventh studio album Up, and the first single to be released by the band since the departure of drummer Bill Berry. Sleep and dreams have often played an important part in R.E.M. lyrics, for example "Get Up" and "I Don't Sleep, I Dream". Sung from the point of view of a nightworker corresponding with far eastern colleagues, the song focuses on the disorientation of time and "circadian rhythm" in such a lifestyle, leading to despair and loss of identity. During R.E.M.'s performance for VH1 Storytellers, Stipe explained the background to the song: "I was in New York, putting together a book of haikus that I worked on with several dear friends of mine over the course of a year. And I was walking down the steps of this building, it was probably four o’clock in the afternoon, and I come to a door — it’s apartment 3d or something — and there's a sign on it that says "Daysleeper," and I walked a lot more carefully, quietly down the steps, thinking about that poor person who's trying to sleep, and me and my big old boots interrupting her sleep. So I wrote this song about a daysleeper that's working an 11-7 shift and how furious the balance is between the life that you live and the work that you have to do in order to support the life that you live." The video, shot at Broadway Studios in the Astoria district of New York City in September 1998, was filmed in stop-frame photography to get what Stipe called a "really druggy, really great look."] It features Stipe as the office worker who goes to work at night. All three band members then wear pajamas and bed socks, while failing to get to sleep during the day. The video was directed by the Icelandic Snorri brothers. "I think it's about the sort of alien nature of a night shift," explained Mike Mills. "The weird lighting, the fluorescent lights that you find and the isolation of working the graveyard shift - how it screws up your sleep patterns and that sort of thing, and I think that's the main image we're trying to get across." The song "The Lifting" from R.E.M.'s 2001 album Reveal is a prequel to "Daysleeper" and features the same character. According to the Daysleeper Songfacts, the lyrics document the nocturnal trials of an international share trader on the verge of a breakdown.

R.E.M. (an acronym for Rapid Eye Movement) was an American rock band from Athens, Georgia, that was formed in 1980 by drummer Bill Berry, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist/backing vocalist Mike Mills, and lead vocalist Michael Stipe. One of the first alternative rock bands, R.E.M. was noted for Buck's ringing, arpeggiated guitar style, Stipe's distinctive vocal quality and obscure lyrics, Mills' melodic basslines and backing vocals, and Berry's tight, economical style of drumming. Show more ...

Daysleeper - R.E.M.

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