"Love, Hate, Love" as written by and Staley/cantrell....
I tried to love you I thought I could
I tried to own you I thought I would
I want to peel the skin from your face
Before the real you lays to waste
You told me I'm the only one

Sweet little angel you should have run
Lying, crying, dying to leave
Innocence creates my hell

Cheating myself still you know more
It would be so easy with a whore
Try to understand me little girl
My twisted passion to be your world

Lost inside my sick head
I live for you but I'm not alive
Take my hand before I kill
I still love you, but, I still burn

Yeah, love, hate, love
Yeah, love, hate, love
Yeah, love, hate, love
Oh, Love, hate, love
Yeah, Love, hate, love


Lyrics submitted by Ice

"Love Hate Love" as written by Sean Kinney Layne Staley

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC , Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Love, Hate, Love song meanings
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  • +7
    General CommentI think this is clearly about someone (in this case a guy) who was cheated on. I'm surprised not everyone realizes this.

    I tried to own you I thought I would (he "thought" he owned her but she wasn't loyal)
    I want to peel the skin from your face (as a result he's angry/feeling violent)
    Before the real you lays to waste (the "real" her is a cheater)

    You told me I'm the only one (clear hint that she cheated)
    Sweet little angel you should have run (to escape his anger)
    Lying, crying, dying to leave
    Innocence creates my hell (HIS innocence in trusting her)

    Cheating myself still you know more
    It would be so easy with a whore (he's contemplating cheating back)

    Lost inside my sick head
    I live for you but I'm not alive (he feels out of control, dead inside)
    Take my hand before I kill (feels like killing the "other" guy)
    I still love you, but, I still burn (yet still loves her)

    I think it's 100% about adultery/cheating but still loving the person who did it to you.
    Kameradinon July 25, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentMan this song is about sooooo much more than that. Read it again. Feel his anquish. This song is about the suffering the author is going through in general and how this person he is with is his only salvation but at the same time the only thing that stops him from giving into his greatest evils. He loves and wants to love but feels as if life has no meaning so it creates a downward spiral of emotional and concious breakdown. "Innocence creates my hell' is both a reference to her innocence but also is full of melancholy towards the innocence that he used to posses which she draws out of him. Once again causing him to try to 'feel' human again instead of just giving into the beast.
    bigpapirickon May 09, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentSome very good points here!

    My two cents:

    "I tried to love you I thought I could"

    In my opinion, this song is primarily about the author's mixed feeling about his girlfriend and his inability to fully commit to a relationship with a girl, he feels he is not able to love his partner either because of his own emotional troubles or because she isn't really the right person to love.


    "I tried to own you I thought I would"

    The second line is, imho, about unhealthy behaviour in a relationship when you feel insecure because you question your partner's commitment so you try to rule every aspect of your partner's life (also "Try to understand me little girl/My twisted passion to be your world")and literally flood her/him with love but feel empty inside because you feel your love is not returned("I live for you but I'm not alive")
    Or maybe it's the author complaining that he wasn't able to create a genuine bond with his girlfriend.


    "I want to peel the skin from your face
    Before the real you lays to waste"

    Apart from references to violence that appear throughout the song (the "hate theme"), I would say this is mainly about wanting that your partner be honest with you (I want to know "the real you", to find out what your true feelings about me are)


    "You told me I'm the only one"

    As some people mentioned before, I also think it's either about a girl who cheated on the author or the author thinks she did - "you told me I'm the only one/cheating myself still you know more". And the underlying theme is - once again - his insecurity - he isn't sure if she truly loves him or not so he acts like crazy.


    "Sweet little angel you should have run"

    I think this line is totally brilliant - it perfectly describes his ambivalent feelings towards the girl - he wants to hurt her because he thinks she betrayed him but at the same time she loves her and feels pity for her and thus he dissociates from these violent feelings.


    "Lying, crying, dying to leave"

    I guess these lines describe his and/or her emotional struggles when both of them know their relationship doesn't work but neither of them is actually willing to call it quits.


    "Innocence creates my hell"

    My interpretation is probably wrong but, imo, that "innocence" could mean that he or she pretends everything is ok and that's why he can't really vent his feelings and talk about his insecurities/issues openly.


    "Cheating myself but you know more"

    This probably means that even though he tries to convince himself that her feelings for him are true and everything is ok and he doubts his love for her at the same time, she "knows more"= is better in cheating, i.e. she - in his opinion - really cheats on him with someone else, not just questioning her own feelings like he does.


    "It would be so easy with a whore"

    If you're engaged emotionally when having sex, it's a lot more difficult for you than if that person doesn't mean anything to you. It's a vulnerability thing, you try to think that you would feel better if you didn't have to deal with your emotions, hence the line - you feel nothing, you can't be hurt.

    "Lost inside my sick head"

    I think that the fact that the words such as "sick head", "twisted passion" and references to acts of violence and probable inability to love someone appear so often in the lyrics should imply that the author perceives his behaviour as inappropriate and yet he thinks he can't help himself because he is somehow emotionally crippled. Someone mentioned this happens to very sensitive people, I think this is very true.


    "Take my hand before I kill"

    That's another powerful line - and i guess this is about insecurity too - he's about to be aggressive because he doesn't know if she doesn't play with him but if she shows him real affection (takes his hand) he wouldn't be able to hurt her.


    "I still love you, but, I still burn"

    That's pretty self-explanatory. That's how you feel when you find out someone you deeply loved cheated on you - you still have some warm feelings for this person but feel hurt and angry.


    "Love, hate, love"

    That's quite clear too, the basic ideas of the song, ambivalent feelings about someone's relationship...


    Anyways, don't mind my lame interpretation :-), this song is fucking brilliant!
    dirrxon April 30, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentHe sounds depraved in this song; like someone hurt him so bad but he knows that a lot of it was his fault, which drives him to kill.

    If someone was to ask me how good a voice Layne had, I'd play this song. The emotion in his voice is tangible, and he shows off his range and raw power to the max.
    pleasebeatme92on November 28, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment''I live for you but I'm not alive ''

    Ouch...This is so..Sad.
    AnGeL_EyeSon August 07, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Love Hate Love = Rape. "
    i agree, that was the first thing that i thought when i read the lyrics

    i love the opening 6 on this cd
    richie8092on June 08, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFrom Layne himself..."That was a song about myself and my girlfriend and I wrote it during a time when I was treating her really badly and didn't know how to break the pattern. It was kind of therapeutic, you know? When you really don't know how to break a sick pattern, then you write it down and sing it and it kind of breaks the pattern."
    This was probably about Layne and Demri's relationship. Although it could have been written just before they met also since this song was written near the start of their relationship.
    NickZeppon March 22, 2014   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationHere's my interpretation that doesn't involve any cheating.


    I tried to love you I thought I could

    —> Trying to love her, but ends up doing a shitty job at it.

    I tried to own you I thought I would

    —> Admitting that he tried to control and own her. (Sister and also shameful)

    I want to peel the skin from your face

    —> I want to take off your mask. This is the mask that the relationship has created for her - a fake version of herself. In the fucked up fog of the relationship, Layne has somehow learned to see her as someone deserving of his abuse.

    Before the real you lays to waste

    In the song, Layne finally realizes what he’s done, and wishes to free her of this mask. If he keeps abusing this “punching doll” mask he’s created, the real girl beneath the mask is going to be ruined - layed to waste.



    You told me I'm the only one

    —> You actually committed to a relationship with me - ha!

    Sweet little angel you should have run

    —> You’re a fool for dating me. If you knew what’s good for you, you would have stayed away because I’m a monster.

    Lying, crying, dying to leave

    —> Now she wishes she could leave, she’s suffering but for some reason doesn’t leave.

    Innocence creates my hell

    —> Because she is so innocent, she doesn’t know how to leave him or fight back. Unfortunately, this just perpetuates the abuse, creating a cycle of hell for both of them.



    Cheating myself still you know more

    —> I’m cheating myself because I could have a good relationship but I’m ruining it. He realizes she understands things better than he does.

    It would be so easy with a whore

    —> She’s not a whore, he actually cares about her, which makes things hard.

    Try to understand me little girl
    My twisted passion to be your world
    Lost inside my sick head
    I live for you but I'm not alive


    —> Explaining to her that he knows his controlling behavior is messed up.

    Take my hand before I kill

    —> I’m reaching out - please help me stop my violent behavior.

    I still love you, but, I still burn

    —> I really do love you, but I am consumed by anger.
    beckminsterfullereneon January 12, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General Commentits about 1 of laynes girlfriends that hurt layne (duh)
    player1916on May 26, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmaybe more than that. i belive it to be about any person in a relationship that hurt their partner in some way
    KidneyTheifon July 28, 2002   Link

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