"Shame In You" as written by and Sean H Kinney Layne T Staley....
When I waken, and I'm achin', time for sleepin, yeah
When I'm sayin time to go and, I've been hurtin, yeah
When I'm layin, I'm still tryin, concentrating on dyin', yeah

You're right as rain, but you're all to blame
Agreed my crime's the same
My sins I'll claim, give you back shed pain
Go find a place for own shame
So you can deal with this thing unreal
No one made you feel any hurt, yeah

Body's movin, only provin, no one needs to move
Still believin, yet mistaken, all God's children, yeah
And I must say, I was stupid, selfishly she consumed, yeah

And you must change patterns all we trained
Or n'er regain peace you seek
Now you hear me, for the things I see
Yeah, I believe in inner peace, yeah

Throw out, blow up, hold in
Show fine, no signs, grow blind


Lyrics submitted by Ice, edited by Primus2112, Way26, NonConnotative

"Shame In You" as written by Michael Inez Layne Staley

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Shame In You song meanings
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  • +4
    Song MeaningIt's been almost a decade since I've given my AIC albums a listen. I listened to AIC quite a bit when they released Dirt while I was in high school. Listening to AIC again after all these years really helps me to appreciate the group that much more. Layne Staley definitely didn't shy away from expressing himself about his 'self-inflicted' drug problem. However, after listening to this song and looking over the lyrics (some of which are incorrect), the posters Cyclotus and Apotheose seem to be correct. This is about his relationship with Demri Parrot and how it was affected by both his and her drug use. An alternative hypothesis, however still revolving around Demri, might be how drugs helped them get through their turbulent times together caused by infidelity but eventually caused them to split. Either way, the song is most likely about Layne's post break-up emotions with his ex-fiancee. This is primarily because "Shame In You" was written/recorded around the same time or shortly after Layne and Demri broke off their engagement. Here are the lyrics and some interpretations:

    "When I waken
    and I'm achin',
    time for sleepin', yeah"

    This is probably how Layne felt after breaking off his engagement in 1994. I believe AIC recorded this album in early 1995 so it's possible he was still reeling from the breakup. It could also be about withdrawal from drugs. However, a heroin addict usually doesn't sleep off withdrawal symptoms. When somebody is "achin'" in an emotional sense (depressed) they usually sleep more than normal. Still, this line might be a double entendre, having two meanings, but yet doesn't contradict/muddle the meaning of the song. However, reading the proceeding verses will demonstrate that the lyrics start to address someone very close to Layne and not just a anonymous listener.


    "When I'm sayin',
    time to go and
    I've been hurtin', yeah"

    Here, he is probably admitting that his split from Demri hurts him. "Time to go" might mean that he has to "go" away from Demri. This verse could be a double entendre also, referencing the pain Layne is getting from going through heroin withdrawal. After all, just about every other song Layne wrote was about drug use. However, "time to go" doesn't really pertain to drug use.

    "When I'm layin',
    I'm still trying,
    concentrating on dyin', yeah"

    Possibly the emotions of being without her is making him think about killing himself (or the misery from being an addict). The former will make more sense than the latter as the song progresses.

    "You're right as rain,
    but you're wrong to blame,
    agreed my crime's the same"

    This must be pertaining to the reason why they ended the engagement/relationship. Whatever reason they had for separating (possibly drug addiction since they both were avid heroin users), they were both guilty of that behavior. It is a known fact that a single user in a relationship is bad, but if both people are users...that's even worse. He says 'agreed, my crime's the same" indicating that he agreed that he was guilty of what she accused him of, which, in turn, was an offense she was committing too (i.e. "my crime's the same"). HOWEVER, quite possibly, the "crime" that they both committed could been promiscuity. This is a possibility because Demri Parrot is portrayed on the internet as having been very popular in the Seattle grunge scene and also a bi-sexual. Layne Staley was, of course, a rock star after all. Layne probably didn't have any trouble finding interested women. So perhaps they were both guilty of promiscuity. This verse makes sense in the context of both: drug use or promiscuity. The drug use may have been a mechanism with which to deal with the promiscuity problem, compounding the problem.

    "My sins I'll claim,
    give you back shed pain,
    go find a place for our shame"

    Layne seemed to be taking onus for his problems, and in the context of this song, these problems were probably causing the breakup (along with Demri's problems of similar nature from the previous verse). Again, he could be referring to his/her drug addiction and how it was affecting their relationship or he could have been referring to his possible infidelity. Demri might have been shameful of her actions also ("OUR shame" is the correct lyric I believe, as "place for OWN shame" is simply incorrect English, although I could be wrong). "Our shame" is probably the shame both of them felt for being addicts or unfaithful. And if drugs were the reason that they split, and it was her attempt to stop using by breaking up with Layne, then she would have to find a way to deal with her "shame" if she were to stop using drugs. And Layne would have to do the same. The lyric "shed pain" (if "shed" is the actual lyric) might refer to the pain that Demri "shed" or got rid of through drug use. Of course if she stopped using, she would have to take ownership of the pain once again. OR, that "shame" could have been Layne's shame for not being faithful causing Demri much pain. And as was conjectured earlier, his "sins" could be cheating on her (while she did the same from the previous verse "my crime's the same") and by leaving him, her pain would go away. And the last line, "go find a place for our shame" would mean that they had to find a place to store the shame they felt for cheating on each other. This is a very tricky part to interpret and could go either way. The people under question here were two heroin addicts post-breakup, so it's almost certain this is about drugs or infidelity or both.

    "So you can deal,
    with this thing unreal,
    no one made you feel any hurt,
    yeah"

    Again, "this thing" might be referring to either their drug addiction or the "unreal" feeling of having someone you love cheat on you. "Unreal" might be Layne claiming that his infidelity is not true or that he can't believe that she cheated on him...or maybe their drug addiction was so bad that it was unreal. The next line, "no one made you feel any hurt" leads me to believe that she is leaving for something that's not justified in Layne's eyes. I would assume he is disputing her hurt feelings, saying that nobody is responsible (except maybe herself if it's about drugs). If he cheated on her then he cannot possibly say "no one made you feel any hurt" because he would be the obvious culprit and he would know it. So, as Layne had professed before in various interviews, if one makes their bed, one has to lie in it. So this might be about her drug use and her self medicating her "hurt" with drugs. Another tricky verse that could go either way. (Also, this line is extremely personal which leads me to believe he is absolutely talking about Demri. In all of the previous lines such as "You're right as rain..." Layne could have been speaking to an anonymous audience, but this verse is far more personal. It is only conceivable that the whole song is directed at Demri. So every time Layne wrote "you" in this song, he was referring to Demri.)

    "But is movin',
    only provin',
    no one needed to move?"

    This could mean that once they moved away from each other (they had an apartment together) he wondered whether or not she missed him enough to convince herself that she should be with him again and should have never moved out in the first place. And the lyrics on the internet for this verse are definitely incorrect (to my ears anyway). These are the accurate lyrics.

    "Still believin',
    yet mistaken,
    all God's children, yeah"

    "Still believin' yet mistaken" might mean that he believed that they would get back together although he was mistaken because it was never going to happen. Or "mistaken" could mean that he made a mistake (i.e. cheating) but he still believes they would get back together. Or this could mean that Staley believes he/they can kick their drug habit together but it isn't possible. I assume "all God's children" means that in God's eyes he is still a good person (even though he was an addict or unfaithful).

    "And I must say,
    I was stupid,
    selfishly she consumed, yeah"

    This is the verse that absolutely confirms the song is about his relationship with Demri. This meaning is either metaphorical or in reference to Demri's consumption of drugs. If it's metaphorical then Layne is saying he is stupid for letting her consume his feelings. OR, he's saying that he was stupid not to see how addicted to drugs she was, consuming them for selfish reasons (i.e. to help her cope with her "shame").

    "And you must change,
    patterns all we trained,
    or never regain peace you seek"

    Although "trained' is the questionable lyric here, it does make sense. This was either about changing the habitual use of drugs so that Demri could find inner peace OR change the relationship dynamic that her and Layne established that may have been the cause of them splitting. They either had a pattern of using drugs together or fighting all of the time and using drugs to cope. But the reference to "we" definitely corroborates the fact that he is referring to both him and Demri.

    "Now you hear me,
    for the things I see,
    yeah I believe in inner peace, yeah"

    In this verse, Layne might actually be speaking to the listener. There are interviews in which Layne has spoken out against drug use and how he doesn't want anybody to go down the road he traveled. This might be the only part of the song that makes sense in reference to drugs. He might be trying to convince the listener to stay away from drugs.

    "Throw out,
    blow up,
    hold in,
    show fine,
    no signs,
    grow blind"

    All words pertaining to an argument, OR, drug use! "Throw out" probably means Layne or Demri throwing the other out of their apartment. "Blow up" meaning to yell or get mad. "Hold in" meaning to reserve oneself. "Show fine" meaning to pretend like nothing is wrong and not showing any "signs" of anger/resentment to avoid future confrontation. "Grow blind" might be a metaphor for pretending everything is fine for so long that one becomes oblivious to it. OR, these lyrics could be describing the use of whippets (inhalants). I believe there were several spray paint cans found in Layne's apartment when he was found deceased. It is easy to see that you make a whippet by taking a can of compressed NO2, "blow up" a balloon with it, inhale it, "hold in" your breath, and then everything, including a severe argument, might not be as bad. This would enable Layne to "show fine" with "no signs". But use of inhalants for an extended period can cause glaucoma and eventually blindness, hence "go blind".

    To sum up, this song might be about how the conflict between Layne and Demri during their relationship led them deeper down the path of drug use to cope with the turmoil in their relationship. I believe this song chronicles the emotions felt by Layne Staley after breaking up with his fiancee Demri Parrot and the role drugs played in their relationship. To say this song is simply about drug use I believe is false. Some verses are far too personal to be construed as anything other than Staley's inner emotions about someone he cared about.


    whatwaswillneverbeagainon October 17, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is my favorite song of all time. It's definitely about being responsible for your own mistakes, and how life is all about how you make it, not just what happens to you. It's also about venting your anger, I think (throw out, blow up, hold in...) and how if you don't vent somehow (by writing lyrics maybe??) you'll go crazy. Or at least thats how I operate. LOL
    Angry Saron May 25, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Commentwell i belive this song is about the way the media treated layne. they all called him a herion junkie which was true but was rather harsh he thought.

    "you're right as rain
    but you're wrong to blame
    agreed my crime's the same
    my sins i'll claim
    give you back shed pain
    go find a place for own shame,
    yeah
    so you can deal
    with this thing unreal
    no one made you feel any hurt,
    yeah"

    step by step this means. you are all correct i am a junkie. but what gives you the right to judge me. i'll take responsibility for my actions. stop criticizing me and worry about your own self. i never did anything to you.

    "now you hear me
    for the things i see
    yeah, i believe in inner peace, yeah"

    layne tells them what he stands for. not for herion use or for drugs at all but for peace and understanding. and that was one of his biggest wants =to be recognized for his accomplishments and not herion.
    sliznuton July 05, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOh yeah and a couple of the lyrics are wrong on here:

    You're right as rain but you're all to blame SHOULD BE You're right as rain but you're wrong to blame

    Oh yeah, madass kickin good lyrics, Layne!!! RIP, my lover!!
    Angry Saron June 30, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is definitely a hidden gem, it's probably my favorite song on their last album.
    Muzzyon July 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is one of my favorite alice songs. this is one of laynes best. he is once again completely consumed by regret and sorrow. he also admits that he is the only one who has caused himself pain. he thinks about his pain constantly "now you hear me for the things i've seen. yeah i believe in inner peace". once again, he feels isolated, so he keeps everything bottled up "grow out, blow up, hold in, show fine, no signs, grow blind". he is degrading from within.
    SwornToTheBlackon August 19, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe Line "Selfishly she consumed" I wonder if that is also about Demri???who knows,but it's my fave,it's my username on aliceinchains.com,if you go there stop and say hi,we love newcomers,peace all!!!
    aicguy22on August 24, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat about if song is written to somebody that might hurt him (when i waken, and i'm achin'...) but he hurt thet person too and his cirme is as big as her? just think that Shame in u is a (love) song. mean love to somebody not i a way like shakira or christina love songs
    Negative cr33pon February 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think its about the guilt and continuing shame you feel about being an addict, but yet hoping maybe you'll cure your self of it.

    One of my favourite songs :-) superb outro
    sillybillyon March 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentlayne is definantly an underated lyricist, kinda overshadowed by jerry. great song
    fugnaron March 29, 2005   Link

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