“What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” (R.E.M.)

What’s the frequency, Kenneth
Is your Benzedrine, uh-huh?
I was brain-dead, locked out, numb
Not up to speed

I thought I’d pegged you, an idiot’s dream
Tunnel vision from the outsider’s screen
I never understood the frequency, uh-huh
You wore our expectations like an armored suit, uh-huh

I’d studied your cartoons, radio
Music, TV, movies, magazines
Richard said,
“Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy”

A smile like the cartoon, tooth for a tooth
You said that irony was the shackles of youth
You wore a shirt of violent green, uh-huh
I never understood the frequency, uh-huh

What’s the frequency, Kenneth
Is your Benzedrine, uh-huh?
Butterfly decal, rear-view mirror
Doggin’ the scene

You smile like the cartoon, tooth for a tooth
You said that irony was the shackles of youth
You wore a shirt of violent green, uh-huh
I never understood the frequency, uh-huh

You wore our expectations like an armored suit, uh-huh
I couldn’t understand
You said that irony was the shackles of youth, uh-huh
I couldn’t understand
You wore a shirt of violent green, uh-huh
I couldn’t understand
I never understood

J.W.

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