"Guaranteed" as written by and Eddie Vedder....
On bended knee is no way to be free
Lifting up an empty cup I ask silently
That all my destinations will accept the one that's me
So I can breath

Circles they grow and they swallow people whole
Half their lives they say goodnight to wive's they'll never know
Got a mind full of questions and a teacher in my soul
So it goes

Don't come closer or I'll have to go
Holding me like gravity are places that pull
If ever there was someone to keep me at home
It would be you

Everyone I come across in cages they bought
They think of me and my wandering
But I'm never what they thought
Got my indignation but I'm pure in all my thoughts
I'm alive

Wind in my hair, I feel part of everywhere
Underneath my being is a road that disappeared
Late at night I hear the trees
They're singing with the dead
Overhead

Leave it to me as I find a way to be
Consider me a satellite for ever orbiting
I knew all the rules but the rules did not know me
Guaranteed


Lyrics submitted by CCDevlin, edited by arsinux, freelikethesea

"Guaranteed" as written by Eddie Vedder

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Guaranteed song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentThis song embodies a man's struggle to go back to the simpliest way of life. The guitar and the perfect rendition is very moving ansd is particularly touching the heart and the gift of life. Going back to basic is knowing the freedom that we have in life. Easy living, simple life , basic necessities dont even matter. I praise eddie for the song and his rendition, i was touched , i was moved, i was inspired to go into the wild.
    byrd2befree4uon October 13, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General Comment"I knew all the rules but the rules did not know me
    guaranteed..."

    that sentence is so true to chris mccandless.

    beautiful song.
    jdeppsfavfan1on January 25, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentPearl Jam is my favorite band of all time and I have all their albums, and I love Eddie as their singer. But Eddie Vedder the folk singer might mean more to me than Eddie Vedder the singer of the greatest band in the world. I've always thought nature was the key to spiritual enlightenment and I've always felt very close to the world around me, especialy the people I love. I can put this song on repeat for hours and it will mean more every time it plays... and I'm singing along by the end of the first verse.
    For me this song reminds me of like, the only person I can count on to keep me sane with all the shit that goes on in the world.
    Eddie Vedder, you are truly the most inspired, and inspiring, person on earth :D every line of this song is like a wave carrying a whole new set of emotions expressed in a different way. I think this is one of the greatest song ever written. On my iPod, I put a heart at the end of the title :P yes I'm a fanboy.
    Tig45on September 18, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentAs for this song and McCandless, being its position on the album after The Wolf and End of the Road, I think it's supposed to be his spirit, finally at peace roaming the wilderness, where he was happiest, urging his family (Eddie said that the "Dont come closer..." verse refers to McCandless' sister)not to worry about where his spirit has passed onto, and not to worry that he died in vain. That he is at peace.
    This song is so sweet and peaceful and yet so wistful and longing and haunting.
    Tig45on May 05, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Commentwhat I found intersting in the songs and the movie the char tries to remove himself from everything and every one but in the end he(we) need some one
    pj-dm-bd-pfon November 01, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentFirstly, I think this song is so well written and composed (even if I do not agree with the opinion that is expressed here)...almost like a lullaby.
    Which, come to think of it, might be a clue to the meaning.

    If Eddie did write this to resemble something of what Chris thought then this song might "sing him to sleep"

    I think this song is extremely sad.

    On bended knee is no way to be free
    lifting up an empty cup I ask silently
    that all my destinations will accept the one that's me
    so I can breath

    [clearly the bended knee refers to religion - but if it is, then I do not know who he is asking in the next line?
    It looks like he's saying that religion and people or "society" rather should just let him be whi he is]

    Circles they grow and they swallow people whole
    half their lives they say goodnight to wive's they'll never know
    got a mind full of questions and a teacher in my soul
    so it goes...
    [The circles might refer to the rat race or the rats (people) running in it.
    They are chasing something and losing everything else that is supposed to have some substance.
    He does not seem to understand this idea that people do that sacrifice what's real for something so fake.
    I think he thinks that he will figure it out and on some level his soul knows the answers his soul wil find his truth not the Truth(in which he does not believe).
    So it looks like he is an "everything's relative" kinda guy]

    Don't come closer or I'll have to go
    Holding me like gravity are places that pull
    If ever there was someone to keep me at home
    It would be you...

    [this might be his sister, but I think it's everyone that knows him as his old self...as Chris.
    Also it seems like he is looking to live life alone - he has got questions, but also has the answers in his soul!]

    Everyone I come across in cages they bought
    they think of me and my wandering
    but I'm never what they thought
    got my indignation but I'm pure in all my thoughts
    I'm alive...
    [People (the rats) are happy in their cages, the american dream,
    and Chris confuses them, he was smart enough for a good career and to get a good cage...
    but he just left wandering - that is his indignation - running away, but Chris thinks he is running towards something]

    Wind in my hair, I feel part of everywhere
    underneath my being is a road that disappeared
    late at night I hear the trees
    they're singing with the dead
    overhead...

    Leave it to me as I find a way to be
    consider me a satelite for ever orbiting
    I knew all the rules but the rules did not know me
    guaranteed...

    [he thinks that in nature he feels some fellowship with the animals and nature in general]
    McDoogleon February 04, 2013   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningSome of the interpretations here seem to be a bit misguided, so I wanted to clear some things up. Having read John Krakauer's article in Outside magazine, the book, followed the recent affair of the controversy over how he actually died, and seen the movie several times, as well as knowing how to play this song on guitar (and therefore having had the time to memorize and mull over the lyrics), here's my view.

    On bended knee is no way to be free.
    [In society, people have specialized skill sets and therefore are interdependent. If you can't achieve what you want by yourself, you depend on others and are reduced to begging. On bended knee means begging. You are not free if you must beg]
    Lifting up an empty cup, I ask silently
    All my destinations will accept the one that's me.
    So I can breathe.
    [I have stripped myself of the desires of society, in lifting up my cup (i.e. when I beg) I ask only that there be air to breathe and places to go. I don't depend on others to achieve those desires]

    Circles they grow and they swallow people whole.
    Half their lives they say goodnight to wives they'll never know.
    [Friend circles in society are big. You lose yourself in the group and don't really know anybody that well, even your wife].
    A mind full of questions and a teacher in my soul
    [I know little and there is always more to learn, but you know even less so I feel it is my duty to impart what I have learned.]
    So it goes
    [It's ironic that I find myself in a teaching role despite how little I know. How is it that people in society know so little?]

    Don't come closer or I'll have to go.
    [Becoming emotionally attached threatens my independence, so I'll leave if you try to get close to me].
    Holding me like gravity are places that pull
    [I'm not ready to become attached; there is so much more out there left to see]
    If ever there was someone to keep me at home
    It WOULDN'T be you.
    [I've listened to this part closely and am convinced he says wouldn't. McCandless wanted to settle down one day once he had finished his adventures, but only if he found the right person to settle with. He didn't. Also he left home partially to explore, but also simply to get away from his parents.]

    Everyone I come across in cages they bought.
    [The material possessions that people buy, including houses, root them in their hometowns and prevent from simply getting up and leaving. They're trapped]
    They look at me and my wandering, but I'm never what they thought
    [People misunderstand my motives]
    I've got my indignation but I'm pure in all my thoughts.
    [Although I look down on others, I don't live this way out of spite. I live my life by a set of good morals]

    I'm alive.
    Wind in my hair I feel part of everywhere.
    Underneath my being is a road that disappeared.
    Late at night I hear the trees they're singing with the dead.
    Overhead.
    [I am truly alive and in sync with nature. Nature is my spirituality].

    Leave it to me as I find a way to be.
    Consider me a satellite forever orbitting.
    [I will answer my own questions and find real answers, not the dogma that society has passed on through the generations, so don't try to impose your views on me.]
    I knew all the rules but the rules did not know me.
    Guaranteed
    [I knew society's rules but chose to eschew them as they didn't make sense. The system didn't anticipate this].
    willlmaon October 20, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Commentgalite, maybe I can tell you how I interpret those lines.

    Although many people (especially in Alaska) have faulted Chris for "stupidly" going into the wild with such a scarce amount of supplies and preparation, I believe that he knew quite well what he was doing. He was obviously a smart man and had been on the road long enough to understand just how valuable supplies can be, especially in the cold.

    I don't think his problem was that he stupidly did not know the rules of the wild, I think that he knew them quite well and chose to confront them in order to find what he is looking for.

    I think the most important quote of the movie is when Catherine Keener tels Alex

    "You look like a loved kid, be fair."

    "I'll paraphrase Thoreau here: Rather than love, than money, than fame, than fairness, give me truth."

    He was not ignorant of the rules, he just wanted to know the rules of raw reality as much as possible, to a very dangerous extent.

    The rules of reality however, as cruel as they are, did not know him and his dreams and his quest. They were as they are with everyone, indifferent.
    lewikeeon March 01, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Happiness is only real when shared". I think this was in reference to a line in Leo Tolstoy's short story Family Happiness - "True happiness is living for others." Similar realizations? Maybe I'm wrong.
    bs1on September 11, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationIn response to a few questions about the three minute silence in the middle of the song, I personally believe that it is because Vedder wants to have the listener think in depth about everything he has sang about, or just to listen to the natural surroundings. It seems like when people are listening to music, they are automatically biased in their decisions based upon the music they are listening to. Vedder's song is created to open up a persons mind and help them see what it is that they are truly living for, and during the silence it helps them realize.
    Again, this is just what I think because it is what happened to me while listening to it. Then Vedder starts up again just playing the guitar and humming, which doesn't distract the listener with lyrics.
    Just a thought. It is a fact though that that silence is no accident.
    sulltrainon April 25, 2013   Link

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