My Coming Out Song

In April of 1991, Stevie Nicks dragged my ass into my first gay bar (The Gallery).  Man, I was such a wreck.  I mean, I’d known that I was a homo long before stepping foot into that bar.  But, I had never publicly acknowledged my gayness to the world (yet alone in a gay bar)!  Well, when I left that club and started heading home, I remember that I felt completely liberated!  And, as we drew into summer, I found myself going to the gay clubs virtually every night of the week.  Oh!  How I remember that very night in the video bar, at the Hippo, when I first heard that haunting mandolin.  The classic-defining-mandolin-a-playing of R.E.M.’s, “Losing My Religion” completely captivated the crowd, that night, as the video bar grew silent of chatter.  Everyone was mesmerized:

“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…….That’s me in the corner….That’s me in the spotlight….I’m 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 haven’t 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….I’m Choosing my confessions….Trying to keep an eye on you….Like a hurt lost and blinded fool, fool….Oh no, I’ve said too much….I set it up……Consider this….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….But that was just a dream….Try, cry, why try…..That was just a dream….Just a dream, just a dream….Dream!”

Now, that’s some great lyrics, isn’t it?!  Frankly, I wouldn’t expect anything less from Michael Stipe.  But, he simply compared the song’s theme to “Every Breath You Take” by The Police.  Stipe said, “It’s just a classic obsession pop song.   I’ve always felt the best kinds of songs are the ones where anybody can listen to it, put themselves in it and say, ‘Yeah, that’s me.”  And that’s exactly what I did….put myself in it, and said, “That’s me!”  Because, in my mind, this record was all about soul-searching.  Something which I was doing a lot of, back in the early 90’s, when I was coming out.  Anyways, listen to the below video, and then comment about your coming out song.  I wanna know all about it!



Filed under Baltimore, Gay, Maryland, Music, Quotes

2 responses to “My Coming Out Song

  1. Don’t have a coming out story.

    However, Stipe’s comments about the flexibility of meaning strikes me. I was only about 12 when “Losing My Religion” came out and I was struggling with religion in some fairly unique ways for a person my age. Not realizing that the title comes from a Southern colloquialism that means “to lose one’s temper”, I free-associated the song’s meaning.

    To me, this is the strength of Stipe’s lyrics – not just in this song – that you can apply yourself into the lyrics regardless of the artists original intent.


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