Let Me In

Album: Monster (1994)
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  • R.E.M. wrote this about Kurt Cobain after he died in 1994. Cobain was a fan of R.E.M., and when he died, Courtney Love gave them one of Kurt's guitars, which they used on this. It was a left-handed Fender (and one of the few guitars Cobain didn't smash), so Mike Mills had to restring it to play it right-handed. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Derek - Cheney, WA
  • Kurt Cobain (Rolling Stone, January 27, 1994): "I know we're gonna put out one more record, at least, and I have a pretty good idea what it's going to sound like: pretty ethereal, acoustic, like R.E.M.'s last album (Automatic For The People). If I could write just a couple of songs as good as what they've written... I don't know how that band does what they do. God, they're the greatest. They've dealt with their success like saints, and they keep delivering great music."
  • Michael Stipe was friends with both Kurt Cobain and the actor River Phoenix. Speaking during Radio 1's Evening Session Show in 1994 he reflected how their deaths contributed to the making of Monster.

    "We feel like we reached a zenith with that record," he said. "River's death prevented me from being able to write for almost five months. When I did start writing I came up with 'Crush With Eyeliner,' 'What's the Frequency, Kenneth?,' 'Circus Envy' and then when Kurt died halfway through making the record and I just threw my arms up and I had to express the frustration that I had, trying to pull him out of the state of mind he was in and not succeeding you know, I wrote that song ('Let Me In') and we put it on the record."
  • A remix of this song was released in October 2019, ahead of the 25th anniversary edition of Monster. The new version was done by longtime R.E.M. producer and short-time Nirvana collaborator Scott Litt. It was accompanied by a video created by the animator Nir Ben Jacob. Speaking to the BBC, Michael Stipe said that the clip "feels like Kurt."

Comments: 7

  • D from California, UsJoe, great analysis, but wanted to add that I believe the fisherman is actually Stipe himself, an original disciple, a true believer. The second line could be in quotes, begging himself to step down to a “less peculiar ground.”
  • Thale from Buskerud, NorwayIt's proven that REM's automatic for the people was playing while Kurt made his last decision.

    It's assumed that the last song he listened to was 'Everybody Hurts'
  • Mike from Thatcham, EnglandI saw a 'greatest albums' show one night featuring REM's Monster, in which the show examined each of the track's compositions with the audio mixing engineer, interposed with band interviews regarding song meanings. They confirmed that the song was indeed a lament for the death of Kurt, but I also seem to remember that for this track, each band member played a different instrument to the one they usually play; for instance Michael Stipe was on keyboards, IIRC. This accounts for the simplistic melody but is also one of the song's great strengths - the plodding beat maybe being used as a metaphor for the depression that eventually dragged Kurt down to alleged self-destruction. Mike, Newbury, England.
  • Jason from London, EnglandMichael Stipe has said in interviews it's for and about Kurt. The fisherman reference is down to the fact that Kurt was Pisces and had a slight obssession with fitting into the Pisces demeanour. Gathering up the loved ones refers to the fact that he had all his drug paraphenalia around him when he killed himself. The Let Me In refrain is Michael pleading to Kurt to let him help him, let him close. Michael had sent plane tickets to get Kurt to come and visit him to see if he could help.
  • Kelly from Weatherford, OkOh wow Joe, great perspective, amazing.
  • Joe from Staten Island, NyThis song is more about Judas Iscariot than Kurt.

    The fisherman represents Jesus, who gathered his friends at the last supper to say goodbye. (He gathered up his loved ones and he brought them all around)

    Meanwhile, Judas (who betrayed Jesus) wanted to be in the club spiritually. (let me in, let me in)

    He wanted to stop Jesus because he didnt understand his mission. (I've got tar on my feet and I can't see.)

    After Jesus was crucified, Judas hung himself from the highest branch he could find and the birds ate his flesh. (All the birds look down and laugh at me. Clumsy, crawling out of my skin.)

    That's what I think anyway...
  • Mandy from Smalltown, NyI've always loved that verse- "I had a mind to stop you/ let me in let me in/ I've got tar on my feet and I can't see/ The birds look down and laugh at me/" It's beautiful.
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