"Hunger Strike" as written by and Chris Cornell....
I don't mind stealing bread
From the mouth of decadence
But I can't feed on the powerless
When my cup's already over-filled
But it's on the table.

The fire's cooking.
And they're farming babies
While the slaves are all working.
Blood is on the table.
The mouths are choking

And I'm going hungry
I'm going hungry [Repeat: x3]


Lyrics submitted by alisaifee

"Hunger Strike" as written by Chris Cornell

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Hunger Strike song meanings
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  • +6
    General CommentI think its pretty obvious to tell the truth. "I don't mind stealin' bread from the mouths of decadence". Decadence is over-indulgence. They are saying that they don't mind taking from the rich to satisfy themselves. "but I can't feed on the powerless when my cups already overfilled" basically means that they can't take from the poor because they are already better off then those individuals. after that things seem to get a little blurry for me haha. In my opinion, its about greed... and feeling sorry for greed... I think that this is one of the greatest songs ever written, not too depressing, and not too happy. Its dramatic and living. Glad I read about Temple of the Dog on Wiki. Else I wouldn't have heard the two greatest vocalists (also in my opinion) singing together!
    tsax421on May 26, 2007   Link
  • +6
    Song MeaningChris Cornell talks about this song in 'Pearl Jam Twenty'. Essentially, the song condemns those who take too much from people who couldn't afford to give it away (energy, money, love or anything like that).

    Like, be grateful for whatever you can get from everyone who gives naturally, and don't be greedy with it by pushing them to give more than what they already have given so far, or making them give you something they don't have in the first place.
    dajirokon September 24, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Commentisn't it "i'm going hungry" not "i'm growing hungry"?
    ilikefoodon April 23, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI agree that this song is about people in positions of power and wealth exerting dominance over those less well of than ourselves (e.g. in the 3rd world), but i'd also like to add a different interpretation of the song...
    The lyrics of the song remind me of human abuse of animals for meat (and dairy) production. Taking a more literal interpretation of the lyrics, the overall theme of food and a hunger strike could be seen as a protest against the treatment of animals for the food industry. "But it's on the table, The fire is cooking" - cooking and serving food of animal origin, "farming babies" - rearing young specifically to be killed and eaten. "But I can't feed on the powerless" could be interpreted as the fact that animals are unable to communicate with people effectively enough to protest against their mistreatment, and the idea that animals are infact enslaved by us ("While the slaves are working"). The reference to blood is also obviously linked to the preparation of animals for meat products. Overall the fact that the food choice to be 'stolen' in replacement of this system is bread - a non-animal food product.
    This is a personal interpretation, so not what I think the song was intentially written about, but possibly an interesting way of looking at the lyrics.

    P.S who is this Thruthusedtohurt guy and why is he/she writing about kurt cobain on a page about Temple of the Dog lyrics?!
    Also, whether it is "going" or "growing", the message is pretty much the same.
    Peace out dudes :)
    right-in-twoon May 27, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSounds like johnny depp and his minions need to be flogged senseless.
    muffstufferon February 01, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTemple of The Dog...Not sure with this combination of Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell you could find any better musicians, (at least during that time). But anyway, this is indeed one of my favorite songs all time. And good God, can Chris Cornell hit some high notes or what!?
    mgbon February 17, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMan I love this song. I interpret it as a political protest song, basically. But it's a great angry song, and wow, it perfectly flows. I love how they use an "Alice in Chains Staley-Cantrell" singing setup with Cornell and Eddie.

    I am going out on a limb and saying that Eddie Vedder, Chris Cornell, Stone, and Mike McCready succeeded in creating the perfect song on this one. This is like, the original grunge song.
    Tig45on December 23, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTemple of the Dog was a supergroup with the exception that none of them had yet achieved the fame they would go on to get in the following years. Imagine if they reunited now! Check out this f'n lineup:

    Jeff Ament
    Matt Cameron
    Chris Cornell
    Stone Gossard
    Mike McCready
    Eddie Vedder

    That's almost a who's who of grunge royalty! Or at least Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Mother Love Bone. Can you imagine Chris and Eddie trading off on vocals (either on the same song or taking their own songs to lead on), Chris prolly writing the lyrics (sorry Eddie) or at least most of them, and Ament, Cameron, McCready, and Gossard all rocking out behind them?

    FUUUUUUUUUUCK. This is one of the best albums ever, IMO. Every song on it rocks. Pearl Jam's "Ten" might be as good as this one, but in my mind no other album from them or any of the other groups that followed was as good as this one. Although Soundgarden's harder stuff like "Beyond the Wheel" kicked ass too, so maybe it's good they all explored their own sounds.

    I dunno, all's I know is it ROCKS!!!

    And yeah mgb, Chris could rip the roof off the ceiling with his highs back then. Don't get me wrong, I still love his voice, but he can't hit that upper register anymore. I mean, he smoked for a long time, plus the dude's in his 40s and been screaming his head off most of his life, so who can blame him? But he still kicks ass just in a more gravelly sort of way. Eddie's voice is still strong because the way he sings is more controlled and he doesn't strain it as much. He could never go that high in the first place, but his voice is buttery and natural just as it is. Those two plus Layne Staley had the best voices in "grunge", though Kurt's was great too because it was really emotional. Scott Weiland is ok. The dude from Marcy Playground has an awesome voice too but it's not a "hard rock" voice, more alternative. Anyway, I'll shut up now.
    stageonon April 12, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationFor me, this song talks about the Hunger Strikers in the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland in 1981.

    "I can't feed off the powerless when my cup's already overfilled".

    I interpret this as a nod to Margaret Thatcher, the British PM at the time. Thatcher's cup, or agenda, is overfilled by protests against her and her handling of the strike. The 'powerless' are obviously the hunger-strikers, in particular Bobby Sands.

    "Blood is on the table, the fire's cooking. They're farming babies, while the slaves are working".

    This line is about life in the Maze Prison. 'Blood is on the table' because the prison guards are mistreating the prisoners. The fire is cooking because the nation is disgusted by all of this. 'They're farming babies' is a nod to the nurses in the prison's hospital wing; they are farming babies because the hunger strikers have become so weak, so they must nurse them like babies. 'While the slaves are working' is a reference to the public and how the people of Northern Ireland felt like slaves under British rule... the slaves are working to end the hunger strike and change Thatcher's stance and unite Northern Ireland with Ireland.

    It's a pretty 'heavy' interpretation... but that's what this song means for me.

    If anyone wants to learn more about the Hunger Strikes of 1981, check out the film 'Hunger', starring Michael Fassbender as Bobby Sands, and directed by Steve McQueen.
    CARNLOUon September 06, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about 3rd world countries having a litter of kids and only enough food for a small family.
    callyououton August 02, 2002   Link

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