View more of Brian's work here.

View more of Brian's work here.

BRIAN STEELY

King of Birds by R.E.M.

A thumbnail sketch a jeweler's stone
A mean idea to call my own
Old man don't lay so still you're not yet young
There's time to teach point to point
Point observation children carry reservations
Standing on the shoulders of giants leaves me cold leaves me cold.
A mean idea to call my own a hundred million birds fly
Singer sing me a given singer sing me a song
Standing on the shoulders of giants everybody's looking on
(Old man don't lay so still you're not yet young,
There's time to teach, point to point,
Point observation, children carry reservations).
Standing on the shoulders of giants leaves me cold
A mean idea to call my own,
A hundred million birds fly away, away.
I am king of all I see, my kingdom for a voice
Old man don't lay so still, you're not yet young
There's time to teach, point to point
Point observation, children carry reservations
Standing on the shoulders of giants leaves me cold
A mean idea to call my own,
A hundred million birds fly away
Everybody hit the ground.
Everybody hit the ground.

I grew up listening to R.E.M. in their earlier years. I think this song is probably about Isaac Newton, but to me, it’s a song about the difficulty of finding your own ‘voice’ as an artist, because we’re all ‘standing on the shoulders of giants,’ which is to say, our perspectives are formed by the fact that we’re lifted up by these monuments to the past, these influences of ours, and so what is truly ‘ours’?
— Brian