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(chorus 1)
This one goes out to the one I love
This one goes out to the one I've left behind
A simple prop to occupy my time
This one goes out to the one I love

(chorus 2)
Fire!!!
Fire!!!

(repeat chorus 1)

(repeat chorus 2)

This one goes out to the one I love
This one goes out to the one I've left behind
Another prop has occupied my time
This one goes out to the one I love

(repeat chorus 2 2x)



Lyrics taken from http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/r/rem/the_one_i_love.html

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songmeanings

  • g
    +1
    ggggMay 17, 2008 at 12:53 pm
    Many people misinterpret this song by believing that the "simple prop to occuply my time" is the one he left behind. This is a serious misreading, because it would indicate that the one being left behind was not a serious relationship, but only "a simple prop".

    But this is not a correct interpretation. The "Fire!" chorus clearly indicates that the breakup of this relationship was devastating to the singer. In truth, the "simple prop" is the song itself!

    The song itself is clearly what is being referred to as "this one". In addition, in the final verse you will note that the tense changes to "another prop HAS OCCUPIED my time". See, the song is over, the prop is over.

    By using the cliche "This one goes out" the singer is clearly sending a message from the stage to the person he left behind. The ironic conclusion is, this song is about a relationship that breaks up *because* the singer is away so much on tours singing. The only way he can even communicate with his lost love is by signing on a stage to thousands of strangers. The very thing that caused him to lose his love becomes his only way of communicating with that love.

    This interpretation is far more subtle and ironic than the more common (and clearly wrong) interpretation that the lost love was the "prop". The grammar of the song strongly supports the more ironic interpretation.

    Leave it to REM to come up with a song that has only two short, nearly identical verses that is so full of subtley, irony, and deep meaning!
  • d
    -0
    dparkerMar 24, 2009 at 4:02 am
    You can interpret the song all you like but Stipe said "It's very clear that it's about using people over and over again". It's about a person who just sees others a props in their life, something to occupy their time and not something substantial.
  • b
    -0
    blankcheckMay 19, 2008 at 6:17 am
    I believe that this shows the simplistic cycle of human frailty to flesh or physical companionship or emotional support (eg. person/s, a belief, drugs, alcohol, an outlet, a fad, to fame etc.)
    The initial direction goes to the first "PROP" where the poet in the artist expresses gratitude for its support/pleasure/escape it provided. The "FIRE" is more tricky as it can be a conflict (breakup) or a melding/warmth (harmony) prior to its abandonment in exchange to the new "PROP". The fire seems a decision the artist has to take because of pressure to change. Again, the song is about the true love or first choice - a final salute to that mystical being or element. Moreover, he is cynical to his present position being at the acme of fame, but doesn't deserve to be the same person at the same time, hence, the abandonment.

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