"Exploder" as written by Chris Cornell, Brad Wilk, Tim Commerford and Tom Morello....
I met a man locked away
For things he hadn't done
Innocence on a ball and chain
He'll never feel the sun
Again on his face or roses
In his hands but when he smiled
At me I could understand

If you're free you'll never see the walls
If your head is clear you'll never free fall
If you're right you'll never fear the wrong
If your head is high you'll never fear at all

There was a daughter of a man
Who took his life too young
She swore she'd never do the same
Then did just what he'd done
And a boy who's gone insane
Voices in his head
No one knows what they say
Now his mother's dead

If you're free you'll never see the walls
If your head is clear you'll never free fall
If you're right you'll never fear the wrong
If your head is high you'll never fear at all

There was a man who had a face
That looked a lot like me
I saw him in the mirror and
I fought him in the street
And when he turned away
I shot him in the head
Then I came to realize
I had killed myself

If you're free you'll never see the walls
If your head is clear you'll never free fall
If you're right you'll never fear the wrong
If your head is high you'll never fear at all


Lyrics submitted by ruben, edited by vsG734

"Exploder" as written by Chris Cornell Brad Wilk

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Exploder song meanings
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26 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentMan, to me, this song is a mirror of Fight Club.

    You've got a guy who's chained down, by his day job and society, but he's also free in his mind, he finds release. A-la Jack/Tyler Durden's relationship in Fight Club.

    Especially in this line

    there was a man who had a face
    it looked alot like me
    i saw him in the mirror and i fought him in the street
    then when he turned away i shot him in the head
    then i came to realize i had killed myself


    That is so much like the end of the book and the movie. I think there is a pretty good connection there.

    In other words, I think the song is about the psychosis the narrator of the story goes through in freeing himself, and in the end has to free himself from himself.
    magicmanx9on December 30, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is about the inner darkness that seems to live as an entity within every one of us. Once you begin to recognize it or fear it, it overtakes you, or entraps you (the walls). They are saying that if you can free your mind from the darkness that overcomes so many people, then you will free yourself from guilt and wrongdoing.
    Runningace18on June 28, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIm gonna agree with RandomDude020. The chorus is pretty clearly about typical human short-sightedness. The Verses can be grasped in many different ways tho. The first one is the toughest. Cornell is my fave singer, and i've listened to most of his stuff, but i still cant get a full grasp on what it is he's trying to say most of the time. Perhaps he means, in saying "I could understand" at the end, he means he came to the conclusion that he speaks in the verse. The man (who's probably in prison) is still happy nonetheless cuz he has the state of mind Chris explains

    Second verse is pretty easy to get. First the chain-reaction effect of suicide. Father kills himself, daughter cant live like that, and decides to take the 'easy way out', not realizing that she'll just cause more pain around her. Then a psychotic boy who hides his psychosis pretty well (he obviously isnt treated, probably because of the lack of awareness of his family) lets his anger build up inside of him until he explodes on his unwitting mother.

    The last verse is also pretty deep. Maybe he's illustrating the tough time he's having getting himself to break out of the mold, and in the process kills his old personality (?).
    therambler07on January 02, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThere seem to be a lot of people here under the impression that the chorus is a celebration of freedom. I don't believe this is the case. It's a condemnation of ignorance. It's as if to say, "You don't understand this situation because you're privileged enough to not have to."
    Maniac Copon March 16, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy personal favorite song on the cd. I hope this is their next single.
    HeirKommtDieSonneon July 06, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdoes this song kind of touch the subject of someone having split personalities and then eventually killing himself?
    LilbeeDawgon May 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is my interpretation. i'm sure the first verse is a lot deeper than i can think of for the moment though.. anyhoo
    he met this guy who had been wrongfully imprisoned, but he was okay with it. actually this just came to me: maybe he's 'locked away' inside his own head. he's been put away for 'things he hasnt done' - he didn't just go crazy, people have hurt him and he's become depressed or insane.
    i think the chorus is talking about if you accept yourself, nothing will get you down. the "freefall" is the feeling of slipping into depression further
    the 2nd verse is talking about the daughter of this man. he had become depressed, took his own life, and she swore she wouldn't end up doing the same thing as him, but she did. and then her son has also become affected because she committed suicide and now he is depressed/insane.
    i'm not sure how the final verse fits with the rest of lyrics...maybe he's saying he is that boy. he's grown up and he's ended up like his mother and her father, he hates himself ("fought him in the street") and killed himself as though he was killing someone else, because he didn't accept himself as part of himself.....ohh man im getting confusing now
    thats my idea anyway. the message may be that suicide can affect a lot of people in a chain reaction, and you should not get depressed because you hate who you are, but accept yourself instead
    petoxon November 22, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with magicmanx9, but I also think there are other films in it, like the first verse

    Met a man locked away
    for things he hadn't done
    innocense on a ball and chain
    never feel the sun
    again on his face
    or roses in his hands
    but when he smiled at me, i could understand

    Is a lot like The Green Mile with the Big Guy (cant remember his name) and Tom Hanks. I cant see any other film references, but im young and aint seen that many films, so perhaps there mght be some more in there.
    ed_vedder100on January 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentno no no it's about morals, met a man locked away, for things he hasn't done=he locked himself away from sin (even though he didn't do it yet and was innocent) but when he smiled at me i could enderstand=when he smiled at me i see that he was happy cus there was no chance he could sin
    the chorus helps explain this
    if you're free you'll never see the walls=if u r free u will never see your boundaries of when u go overboard with something
    if you're head is clear you'll never freefall=if your head is clear of sin you will never falter
    if you're out right you never fear the wrong=if u are right all the time (which is achieved only when there is no sin) then u won't fear the wrong
    if you're head is high you never fear at all=if your head is high (in the heavens with god) you will never be afraid

    the next verse was kinda hard for me to understand but try this
    there was a daughter of a man
    took his life too young
    she swore she'd never do those things
    then did just what he'd done
    she did what her father did because she had seen it done before, she knew what the sin was, and even though she swore she wouldn't do it she knew about it, and she knew how to do it, it goes to the saying for every ounce of knowledge u gain, u lose a pound of innocence
    and a boy whose gone insane
    voices in his head
    no one knows what they say
    now his mothers dead
    i am guessing that the voices in his head is temptation, or maybe anger, and his mom ticked him off so bad by telling him to idk clean his room or somethin he killed her (that one was a stretch)

    there was a man who had a face
    it looked alot like me
    i saw him in the mirror and i fought him in the street
    then when he turned away i shot him in the head
    then i came to realize i had killed myself
    this has to do with the fact that usually your greatest enemy is yourself, i had something like this happen to me b4, i was chewing sum1 out for something i have done in the past, it's like hypocracy
    rockinloud14on May 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI hate to say it but to me it's solely about drug usage (I know people tend to say it too often about song lyrics). The first verse, I would say, is about how people seem to blame things too much on drug addicts and judge them. I think the chorus fits very well into this meaning, it has a sarcastic meaning of how wonderful it is to be high. The second verse is rather obvious, the girl took her own life, she had too many regrets, and the boy killed his mother because he heard voices that possibly told him to kill her. The third verse would then be about a man who had damaged his brain so badly on drug usage that he couldn't tell he was fighting himself and shot him(self).
    But that's my interpretation.
    penrhynon February 07, 2006   Link

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