"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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  • +7
    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
  • +4
    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
  • +4
    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
  • +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
  • +1
    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
  • 0
    General Commenthey i agree with you i thought i was the only one who saw the idea of good friday in the song. I like that part because he did do one great deed for everyone for everytime.
    ryang11r0yon April 12, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentto me this song has always been associated with the fact that we as humans have no idea what our true purpose in life is. A lot of these lines refer to our creator, so i think he's kind of directly asking to be told what our purpose is. I dunno, that's just what i've always thought about this song. great song.
    Pushit117on May 11, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt seemingly has something to do with stigmata with the line "Nail in my hand"
    Zlpemplehon May 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgosh, this song confuses me so much...it seems religious at times, and then doesnt...definitely seems like he is wondering his purpose in life...whats with the whole "in your final hours"? who is he talking to? i think its the same person he is talking to when he says "you thought you made a man you better think again", is it God? i dunno!
    echoingnightingaleon June 02, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentRead Ishmael by Daniel Quinn.
    tipthetieon June 26, 2004   Link

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