"Show Me How To Live" as written by Chris Cornell, Brad Wilk, Tim Commerford and Tom Morello....
And with the early dawn
Moving right along
I couldn't buy and eyeful of sleep
And in the aching night under satellites
I was not received
Built with stolen parts
A telephone in my heart
Someone get me a priest
To put my mind to bed
This ringing in my head
Is this a cure or is this a disease

Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live

Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live

And in the after birth
On the quiet earth
Let the stains remind you
You thought you made a man
You better think again
Before my role defines you

Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live

Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live

And in your waiting hands
I will land
And roll out of my skin
And in your final hours I will stand
Ready to begin

Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live

Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live

Show me how to live

Lyrics submitted by ruben, edited by Razgreez, Snowdog2112Rob, Grim_Poet

"Show Me How to Live" as written by Chris Cornell Brad Wilk

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Show Me How To Live song meanings
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  • +8
    General CommentIt has nothing to do with god or religion. Seriously guys? No one caught on that this entire song is a giant reference to Mary Shelly's Frankenstein?

    'I was not received - but with stolen parts' is a reference to Frankenstein's "monster" not being created by traditional means ('received' is a colloquialism for childbirth), but instead being created from various body parts stolen from dead bodies. Hence "but with stolen parts".

    'Nail in my head from my creator' is a reference to the procedure by which Victor Frankenstein's "monster" was created.

    'You gave me a life, now show me how to live' is a reference to what the "monster" tells Frankenstein. The monster resents Frankenstein for creating and then immediately abandoning him. Never showing him what to do with his life or how to deal with the people that fear him.

    'Is this a cure, or is this a disease' is a reference to Frankenstein's motives. He created the "monster" in hopes of finding a 'cure' for death. But instead all it brought was unimaginable horrors and grief. For the monster, Frankenstein, and the town's people it turned out to be more 'disease' than cure.

    'You thought you made a man - You better think again' is a reference again to Frankenstein's initial expectations for what he was creating. And then subsequent fear and horror. 'before my role defines you' is a reference to the way Frankenstein's life, once normal and wholesome, becomes defined by the existence of the "monster", to whom, after losing everything he loves, he follows all the way to the north pole.

    'Somebody get me a priest' is a reference to the "monster's" struggle with whether or not he has a soul. Whether he is worthy of happiness and life, or if he should be doomed to torment.

    'And in your final hours - I will stand - Ready to begin' is a reference to the "monster's" reaction upon finding his creator dead. Because he thinks of Frankenstein - his creator - as his father, he immolates himself with his father's burning body on a pyre, now sorrowful and angry at himself for all the grief he selfishly caused his father. He dies with him, ironically ready to begin his life as it should be. Which is to say, finally dead.
    rufsketch1on September 13, 2011   Link
  • +5
    General CommentRead Frankenstein, please. It's all there. The Modern Prometheus and the responsibility that comes when we try to play the role of god, using science or any other means.
    MagnusonParkon October 19, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentClassic song,like most Audioslave songs it is a deep as you want it to be,but it sure is a great song.
    Razormasticatoron June 29, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is probably my favorite Audioslave song...
    Doesnt this song just make you wanna run wild?
    Or is that just me
    Darkstar Battalionon May 04, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentJust because Chris Cornell wouldn't define himself as a Catholic or a Christian doesn't mean he can't sing a song with strong Christ-related references in it to question why he is on earth and why God created him. I know next to nothing about him or the bands he's been in, but I do know that seeking purpose in life is pretty much universal and if you've been immersed in a religious setting as a child that stuff stays with you in some way, even if you rebel.

    "Show me how to live" is a great thing to say to God, actually.
    jenbebeon April 24, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOhhhh! Scratch that! I just remembered my olllld thoughts on this song. Its about Jesus! I think its about a human view of Jesus as a man with human thoughts and emotions.

    1) Jesus is a drifter...a vagabond who moves with the early dawn

    2) In the most difficult trials of Jesus (temptation by the devil, crucifixion), his prayers (satellites) are not answered by God (he is not recieved)

    3) The telephone in the heart and ringing in the head signify Jesus' sort of 'direct line' to God and to man...something he can't turn off even when he wants to (wouldn't that drive you crazy?)

    4) The chorus is Jesus begging God for direction in life (Jesus was sort of plopped on earth without a manual)

    5) The bit about the afterbirth represents all time after the crucifixion on earth when Christianity is born (as a big scary force). God's creation of Jesus as a man is changed by the religion and instead of the mouthpiece of the New Covenant, Jesus becomes the Deity Himself.

    6) The "final hours bit is like above, but about the death of Jesus. Then its about all time after the crucifixion (in heaven) when at armageddon, Jesus is ready to begin the new kingdom.

    Just my take...
    fortheloveon June 30, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDefinitely about Frankenstein's monster.
    Mephisto77on November 17, 2007   Link
  • +1
    Memorymy brother showed me this band wen i was like 10 and still to this day we crank it up and try to sing wit it.
    audioslave93on December 07, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationTo me, "built with stolen parts" doesn't fit with the narrator being Jesus... or a normal human being. In Christian doctrine, God can't steal anything from the material world because He already owns it. Instead, "his creator" has to be a human, with all that usually implies. The product is the customer, and it isn't satisfied.
    seahenon November 19, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is a post I found on a soundgarden site.

    "I remember that too, Chris tweeted it when someone asked about the song (this was back when Chris used to tweet all the time). the person thought the song was about Jesus and crucifixion (nail in my hand) but chris said no it was "nail in my head" and it was about Frankenstein."

    If you listen too, it is pretty clear that he says head, although a lot of lyrics sites have it wrong
    stookson March 20, 2012   Link

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