Try Not To Breathe

Album: Automatic For The People (1992)
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  • I will try not to breathe
    I can hold my head still with my hands at my knees
    These eyes are the eyes of the old, shiver and fold

    I will try not to breathe
    This decision is mine
    I have lived a full life
    And these are the eyes that I want you to remember, oh

    I need something to fly over my grave again
    I need something to breathe

    I will try not to burden you
    I can hold these inside
    I will hold my breath
    Until all these shivers subside
    Just look in my eyes

    I will try not to worry you
    I have seen things that you will never see
    Leave it to memory me
    I shudder to breathe

    I want you to remember, oh (you will never see)
    I need something to fly (something to fly)
    Over my grave again (you will never see)
    I need something to breathe (something to breathe)
    Baby, don't shiver now
    Why do you shiver? (I will see things you will never see)
    I need something to fly (something to fly)
    Over my grave again (I will see things you will never see)
    I need something to breathe, oh, oh, oh, oh
    Oh, oh, oh, oh
    Oh, oh, oh, oh
    Oh, oh, oh, oh
    Oh, oh, oh

    I will try not to worry you
    I have seen things that you will never see
    Leave it to memory me
    Don't dare me to breathe
    I want you to remember oh (you will never see)
    I need something to fly (something to fly)
    Over my grave again (you will never see)
    I need something to breathe (something to breathe)
    Baby, don't shiver now
    Why do you shiver now? (I will see things you will never see)
    I need something to breathe (something to breathe)
    (I have seen things you will never see)
    I want you to remember Writer/s: Bill Berry, Michael Mills, Michael Stipe, Peter Buck
    Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 6

  • Rick from IndianaThere is a really good episode of the podcast Song Exploder where they discuss how this song was written and recorded. Michael Stipe said in the episode that it was written about his grandmother who was dying.
  • Mike from Berkeley, CaAn interesting story in diffuser.fm mentions the inception of the song. Peter Buck was recording in the studio, and the engineer said the he could hear his breath on the mic. "I'll try not to breathe," he said--which Michael Stipe heard and thought would be a good name for a song.

    Later, Stipe admitted that he was thinking about what might be going through his grandmother's head as she lay dying.

    Mike Mills felt that it was one of his favorite backing vocals, and that he felt like John Lennon when he came up with it.
  • Ambrose from AustraliaHey Dennis from Seattle, I just heard Michael Stipe confirm your theory. He says exactly that on Song Exploder: http://songexploder.net/rem
  • Phil from YeppoonHas been covered by Australian band Dappled Cities.
  • Dennis from Seattle, WaInterestingly, this song was released in 1992, the 10th anniversary of the movie Blade Runner. When I hear it I always remember the climatic scene when Roy (Rutger Hauer), the lead replicant, is at the end of his predetermined lifespan and is fighting with Deckard (Harrison Ford). Before he finally dies he is crouched, shivering in the cold rain, telling Deckard the amazing things the replicants have seen and done and says "I have seen things that you will never see." I can't help but wonder if Michael Stipe was influenced by this powerful movie when he penned the words to this song.
  • John from Port Washington, WiStipe has said on more than one occasion that this is a song about assisted suicide.
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