Lotus (R.E.M. song)

"Lotus" is a song by R.E.M., released as the second single from their eleventh studio album Up. The song is somewhat minimalist, with Michael Stipe singing surreal lyrics in a percussive manner. It builds on a four-note keyboard part, with a distorted guitar riff at the beginning and after the second chorus. The song's recurring line "I ate the lotus" appeared in an alternate form ("I'll eat the lotus...") in a previous R.E.M. song, "Be Mine". The line "dot dot dot and I feel fine" is a reference to R.E.M.'s 1987 hit "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)".

Single by R.E.M.
from the album Up
B-side"Surfing The Ganges"
ReleasedDecember 7, 1998 (1998-12-07)[1]
GenreAlternative rock, glam rock[2]
LabelWarner Bros.
R.E.M. singles chronology
"At My Most Beautiful"

For live performances of the song, Peter Buck alternates between electric guitar (chorus) and keyboard (verse). "Playing keyboard always excites me," Buck explained in a soundbite during MTV Uplink, a recording of the band's performance at New York's Bowery Ballroom in October 1998, "even though it's only with one finger." "But it's a big finger," joked Mills. "It's great."

Music video

The single's video, directed by Stéphane Sednaoui, was included as a bonus video on the DVD release of In View - The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003. "I wanted to work with Stephane for a long time," Stipe explained to MTV UK during An Hour with R.E.M. in 2001 after selecting the video for airplay. "Since I saw the video that he did with Björk for, what was that called, "Big Time Sexuality" or something? Where she looks exactly like Shirley MacLaine, 1959-1961. The Apartment, I think, was the name of the film. Shirley McLaine and Björk as Shirley MacLaine on the back of a pick-up truck driving down 5th Avenue in New York City, probably. But I thought this guy exudes sex, he's like sex on a stick, and I wanted to work with him for that reason. He somehow transmogrified that very thing through me. I look very, very foxy in this video, which is why I chose it; it shows off my incredible stomach muscles."

Track listings

All songs were written by Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe unless otherwise indicated.


  1. "Lotus" - 4:31
  2. "Surfing the Ganges" – 2:25
  3. "Lotus" (Weird Mix) – 4:33

7-inch and cassette

  1. "Lotus" – 4:31
  2. "Surfing the Ganges" – 2:25

UK 3-inch CD

  1. "Lotus" – 4:31
  2. "Suspicion" (live in the studio) – 5:39
  • This version of "Suspicion" is different from the Ealing Studio recording found on the "Suspicion" single.


Chart (1998–1999) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[3] 18
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[4] 32
Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)[5] 56
Canada Rock/Alternative (RPM)[6] 25
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[7] 88
Iceland (Íslenski Listinn Topp 40)[8] 1
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[9] 50
Scotland (OCC)[10] 23
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[11] 60
UK Singles (OCC)[12] 26
US Adult Alternative Songs (Billboard)[13] 4
US Alternative Airplay (Billboard)[14] 31
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[15] 31


  1. "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music Week. December 5, 1998. p. 23. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  2. Zaleski, Annie (October 26, 2018). "20 Years Ago: R.E.M. Find Their Way as a Trio With 'Up'". Classic Rock. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  3. "Ultratop.be – R.E.M. – Lotus" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  4. "Top RPM Singles: Issue 7350." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  5. "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 7152." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  6. "Top RPM Rock/Alternative Tracks: Issue 7450." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  7. "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 15 no. 52. December 26, 1998. p. 7. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  8. "Íslenski Listinn (5.3–12.3. 1999)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). March 5, 1999. p. 10. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  9. "Charts.nz – REM – Lotus". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  10. "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  11. "Swedishcharts.com – R.E.M. – Lotus". Singles Top 100. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  12. "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  13. "R.E.M. Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  14. "R.E.M. Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  15. "R.E.M. Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved May 24, 2013.