1991Released
4:28

Did You Know?

Interesting facts and trivia about Losing My Religion. By Songfacts®.

The title is a variation on the Southern expression "lost my religion," meaning something has challenged your faith to such a degree you might lose your religion. The song has nothing to do with religion, but the title is significant: If you are "losing your religion" over a person, you are losing faith in that person and questioning the relationship.

R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe wrote the lyrics, which he has said are about "obsession" and "unrequited love," which is powerful and dangerous combination. Throughout the song, he is baring his soul, searching for hidden meaning and hopeful signs, but driving himself mad in the process. "I love the idea of writing a song about unrequited love," he told Top 2000 a gogo. "About holding back, reaching forward, and then pulling back again. The thing for me that is most thrilling is you don't know if the person I'm reaching out for is aware of me. If they even know I exist. It's this really tearful, heartfelt thing that found its way into one of the best pieces of music the band ever gave me."

This song has its origins in guitarist Peter Buck's efforts to try learn to play the mandolin. When he played back recordings of his first attempts, he heard the riff and thought it might make a good basis for a song. Explaining how the song came together musically, Buck told Guitar School in 1991: "I started it on mandolin and came up with the riff and chorus. The verses are the kinds of things R.E.M. uses a lot, going from one minor to another, kind of like those 'Driver 8' chords. You can't really say anything bad about E minor, A minor, D, and G - I mean, they're just good chords. We then worked it up in the studio - it was written with electric bass, drums, and mandolin. So it had a hollow feel to it. There's absolutely no midrange on it, just low end and high end, because Mike usually stayed pretty low on the bass. This was when we decided we'd get Peter (Holsapple) to record with us, and he played live acoustic guitar on this one. It was really cool: Peter and I would be in our little booth, sweating away, and Bill and Mike would be out there in the other room going at it. It just had a really magical feel. And I'm proud to say every bit of mandolin on the record was recorded live - I did no overdubbing. If you listen closely, on one of the verses there's a place where I muffled it, and I thought, well, I can't go back and punch it up, because it's supposed to be a live track. That was the whole idea."

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Song Analysis

Key, BPM (tempo) and time signature of Losing My Religion.
AKey
MinorMode
4/4Time Signature
126BPM

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