Daysleeper

Album: Up (1998)
Charted: 6 57

Songfacts®:

  • The lyrics were inspired when lead singer Michael Stipe saw the word "Daysleeper" on the door in an apartment and wondered about the life of the person inside.
  • This was the first single released off the very experimental Up album. The song was chosen because it was the only thing that sounded anything like the R.E.M. of old. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ian - melbourne, Australia, for above 2
  • The lyrics are documenting the nocturnal trials of an international share trader on the verge of a breakdown.
  • The music to this song was already written during the New Adventures in Hi-Fi sessions, but it wasn't released then, because Michael Stipe didn't have any lyrics to it. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Martin - Rostock, Germany
  • "Lyrically, what can I say? I relate," Peter Buck wrote in the liner notes for the hits compilation In Time. "After all the years we've been a band, the one thing I know we have in common is that we stay up all night and sleep in the day. Also, we're all incredibly stubborn, so I guess that's two things. Anyway, I think this song perfectly captures that woozy, sea sick feeling you get during the daylight hours when you haven't slept."
  • The music video was directed by the Snorri Brothers and shot at Broadway Studios in New York City, and follows Stipe as a night shift office worker. "I think it's about the sort of alien nature of a night shift," bassist Mike Mills told Q magazine. "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."

Comments: 3

  • David from Maplewood, NjAlso one of my favorite later songs. In reality 3 AM in New York is 3 PM in Taipai and Hong Kong. So Asia would be well into the workday, not waking up. It would be 8 AM in London, but being a trader the Asian markets would be of critical importance. I'm a little surprised at Michael's inaccuracy.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesGreat return to form for REM after several years where they went off the rails
  • P.a. from Paris, FranceDefinitely my favorite post Automatic For The People REM song.
    The intro and the chorus are based on the same rythm, but the pre-chorus is totally different.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Brandi Carlile

Brandi CarlileSongwriter Interviews

As a 5-year-old, Brandi was writing lyrics to instrumental versions lullabies. She still puts her heart into her songs, including the one Elton John sings on.

Best Band Logos

Best Band LogosSong Writing

Queen, Phish and The Stones are among our picks for the best band logos. Here are their histories and a design analysis from an expert.

Jon Anderson of Yes

Jon Anderson of YesSongwriter Interviews

From the lake in "Roundabout" to Sister Bluebird in "Starship Trooper," Jon Anderson talks about how nature and spirituality play into his lyrics for Yes.

Gentle Giant

Gentle GiantSongwriter Interviews

If counterpoint and polyrhythms are your thing, you might love these guys. Even by Progressive Rock standards, they were one of the most intricate bands of the '70s. Then their lead singer gave us Bon Jovi.

Kristian Bush of Sugarland

Kristian Bush of SugarlandSongwriter Interviews

Kristian talks songwriting technique, like how the chorus should redefine the story, and how to write a song backwards.

Billy Steinberg - "Like A Virgin"

Billy Steinberg - "Like A Virgin"They're Playing My Song

The first of Billy's five #1 hits was the song that propelled Madonna to stardom. You'd think that would get you a backstage pass, wouldn't you?