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"Nightswimming" is a slow song by R.E.M. on the Canon at most sites, Los Angeles being a notable exception. The song is about an adult man who wishes he could skinny dip, but knows he is too old. Alternative interpretations sourced from multiple interviews with R.E.M. band members state that the song was originally written about a night watchman at the R.E.M. office in Athens, Georgia or that in the early 80's, R.E.M. and its circle of friends would go skinny dipping in the pools of closed clubs in Athens.

At Saratoga, the non-slow dancing ravers hold their glowsticks and pretend to "swim" around the slow dancers, much to their chargrin.


Nightswimming deserves a quiet night
The photograph on the dashboard, taken years ago,
Turned around backwards so the windshield shows
Every streetlight reveals the picture in reverse
Still, it's so much clearer
I forgot my shirt at the water's edge
The moon is low tonight

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night
I'm not sure all these people understand
It's not like years ago,
The fear of getting caught,
Of recklessness and water
They cannot see me naked
These things, they go away,
Replaced by everyday

Nightswimming, remembering that night
September's coming soon
I'm pining for the moon
And what if there were two
Side by side in orbit
Around the fairest sun?
That bright, tight forever drum
Could not describe nightswimming

You, I thought I knew you
You, I cannot judge
You, I thought you knew me,
This one laughing quietly underneath my breath

The photograph reflects,
Every streetlight a reminder
Nightswimming deserves a quiet night, deserves a quiet night