On most of the songs in Murmur the lyrics make little sense. This was because vocalist Michael Stipe was more interested in how the words sounded than what they actually meant. For instance in the lyric "Lighted, lighted, laughing. Laocoon and her two sons," a Laocoon was a Trojan priest who was strangled by a sea serpent. However Stipe inexplicably changed the sex from male to female, and in any case it is unclear what this male/female Trojan priest is doing in this song.
Rolling Stone ranked Murmur as the Best Album of 1983 and in 1989, the magazine rated it at number eight on their list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s.
Michael Stipe explained to Q magazine in 1992: "The first line is about Laocoon, a freak mythological figure who had two sons. All three were devoured by serpents. It was a popular theme in Renaissance painting. There's also John Barth's novel End Of The Road where a statue of Laocoon features heavily. Oh, I did change the gender in the song from a man to a woman."
The Four Tops' "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" was written by the Motown team of Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland and Eddie Holland. The phrase "Sugar pie, honey bunch" was something Dozier's grandfather used to say when he was a kid.
Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.