R.E.M. Losing My Religion

R.E.M.’s classic music video, “Losing My Religion”, released in 1991, provided a mystical gathering point for a generation. The title of the song, “Losing My Religion”, comes from a Southern United States saying meaning, “at my wits end”.The video begins with members of R.E.M., Michael Stipe, Mike Mills, Bill Berry and Peter Buck, in a room unfurnished but for a chair in which Stipe sits. Outside it’s raining. We see on the window sill a bottle of water, two tumblers and a pitcher of milk. We hear the sound of rain and rattling. Members of the band begin to aimlessly run around the room. The music starts as the milk jug hits the floor.

REM members at the window in Losing My Religion music video

From here on in the music video is a collage of Stipe singing from his chair and dancing, images of Saint Sebastian, a bronze winged angel, an old man with wings, a Santa Claus figure, a woman, and Indian religious figures.

Click on the image below to play the video.

Credits and Background

Filming was shot by director Tarsem via Radical Media with director of photography Larry Fong, art director José Montaño, editor Robert Duffy at Spot Welders.

Inspiration for the old man with the wings came from the Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ short story, “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings”, in which a shabby old man with wings falls from the sky during a heavy rain fall in a South American village.

A tableau in Losing My Religion music video

St Sebastian figure in Losing My Religion music video

The young boy with arrows attached to his body is a reference to Saint Sebastian, who is said to have died for his faith during the Diocletian persecutions of the 3rd century. In art over the years Saint Sebastian has been shown tied to a post and shot with arrows.

Losing My Religion was declared Best Video of the Year at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards. In addition the music video won awards for best group of the year, best breakthrough video, best art direction in a video (José Montaño), best director of a video (Tarsem Singh) and best editing of a video (Robert Duffy).

Losing My Religion

Tarsem Singh went on to direct The Cell (2000) and The Fall (2006), along with many television commercials and music videos.

The video can be seen on two DVDs: This Film Is On, and In View: The Best of R.E.M.

This Film Is On DVD at Amazon.com

In View – Best of R.E.M. DVD at Amazon.com

A tableau in Losing My Religion music video

Lyrics for Losing My Religion

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

Thats me in the corner
Thats 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 havent 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 im
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

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