I woke the same as any other day
Except a voice was in my head
It said seize the day, pull the trigger,
Drop the blade
And watch the rolling heads

The day I tried to live
I stole a thousand beggar's change
And gave it to the rich

The day I tried to win
I dangled from the power lines
And let the martyrs stretch

One more time around
Might do it
One more time around
Might make it
One more time around
Might do it
One more time around
The day I tried to live

Words you say never seem
To live up to the ones
Inside your head
The lives we make
Never seem to ever get us anywhere
But dead

The day I tried to live
I wallowed in the blood and mud with
All the other pigs

I woke the same as any other day you know
I should have stayed in bed

The day I tried to win
I walled in the blood and mud with
All the other pigs

And I learned that I was a liar
Just like you

Lyrics submitted by jt, edited by Mellow_Harsher, BigCheese

"The Day I Tried to Live" as written by Cornell

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The Day I Tried to Live song meanings
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  • +4
    General Comment:Fools! It's basically their song that says how disgusted they are with the rest of the human race; how corrupt everyone is deep down - But in a first person, sarcastic tone. I really wish more people could put sarcasm meaningfully into a song like this. The day he "tried to live" is the day that Chris decided he would try to fit in with everyone else; and by doing so, he gave up all moral integrity for the purpose of just getting along and doing well, unfortunately.
    sommyon August 29, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:I think it's the exact opposite, Timmay. Instead of trying to be like society, I think the figure protrayed in the song woke, deciding he was gonna go out, change the world, and do something memorable and worthwhile. At the very end he realizes that he's just like everyone else, no matter what he does, that he's not special. This is after the day is done, him reflecting on what's happened. The voice in his head when he woke up, for instance, was himself, but he's been distanced from that. In the morning, he was an idealist, but by the time he fell asleep, he was a realist, finally having realized that "words you say never seem to live up to the ones inside your head."
    Blind Opiuson July 05, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Chris sings this song with emotion, makes me think it's more than a story about some guy he's thinking of.
    It's about trying to fit in and not being accepted, realising you're not a true person , you're just like everyone else you loathe, a liar, the day you tried to change something, the day you tried to live. This is one of those songs that SOME people can relate to.
    Calculator Joseon May 15, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:it is defenitely about waking up and deciding that it was time to 'live' and 'win'...which meant to join the rat race, lie, support capitalism...

    anyone know what this verse means??

    The day I tried to win
    I dangled from the power lines
    And let the martyrs stretch
    daddioon April 30, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Since you're all so off-base I feel I have to set it straight.

    This song is about existentialism. The references are all there, if you know your existentialist literature. Existentialism at its core is about getting off your ass and living life to the fullest because there's no god and no heaven and nobody else can live your life for you and once your life is over that's it.

    A lot of the people who have commented seem to have very negative views toward capitalism. That's idiotic, of course: Chris Cornell is a capitalist! He makes millions of dollars off of his talents, and by buying his albums and being fans of his music you are all capitalists as well. The line "stole a thousand beggar's change and gave it to the rich" is NOT about capitalism, because capitalism (1) redistributes wealth more evenly than any other economic system and (2) is the opposite of theft, since under capitalism all exchanges are voluntary. Socialism and communism are systems which take money by force and place it into the pockets of the rich and powerful.

    More than anything, this song is about accepting the fact that you are a member of the animal kingdom, and in doing so, accepting both the flaws and wonders of being human.
    Nadaavon December 18, 2008   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning:This song obviously explains a lot lyrically but Chris' vocal and emotional input is simply astounding. The message of the song is a man that has been depressed for a very long time and he tries to change his life by getting out of bed and being active, forgetting that he has been seperated from society he isn't accepted by anyone and decides it would of been better to stay in bed and live another day feeling like death!
    mehoweeon July 19, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning:Alright ive got it! This songs meaning is very simple! This is the story of a man who has lived life, trying his best to not step on toes. he tries his best to not hurt ppls feelings or cut anyone down for his own gain. but one day he wakes with an idea to try and live.

    To seize the day, pull the trigger, and watch the rolling heads. Going against what hes always done.

    This results in him stealing from the poor to give to the rich.

    And become a danger for other good people who would give themselves up to save another. "I dangled from the power lines, and let the martyrs stretch."

    "The day i tried to win" The man in the song has always been a good guy, and it always been said that the good guy never wins. So in response he will try to be the bad guy to win.

    "One more time around might do it(make it)" I Believe this is the man thinking "ok ill make it back to my old self after one more time of doing something as a bad guy.

    But when he thinks back he realizes that he has enjoyed becoming one of the pigs of society. Saying.
    "Words you say never seem to live to the ones inside your head." he now knows that what hes always been doing and saying(being the good guy) is not what hes always thought of being.

    Next he says "The lives we make never seem to get us anywhere but dead." he believes he is now living by doing what his mind is telling him to. That making up a life to live is not good and will make you dead inside.

    "I walled in the blood and mud with all the other pigs." He has become a pig like the rest of society.

    Then he regrets what he has done "I shouldve stayed in bed" Possibly wishing to go back to the good guy he once was, but knowing he cannot.

    In the end the man learns that he is a liar. Just like the rest of us. Cornell sings this end to the song with a sigh of relief to it. Making me to believe that the man is ok with that end as long as he is not alone like he was before.
    atc43on November 01, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Maybe I've always heard it wrong. I thought near the end it said "I learned that I was alive" soon followed by "on the day I tried to live just like you".

    In other words, one day I tried to live like you, thinking I had been missing something. But what I discovered was that I wasn't missing anything after all. And it's a cooler way to put the song together if you think about it. It seems to make no sense - the day I tried to live all kinds of terrible things happened. But at the end we discover that we've haven't been given the whole line.

    Dunno. I like mine better.
    fasteddie72on July 31, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I think this is one of their best songs and I think it is about a guy who doesn't care about life until one day a voice inspires him to be confident ("If you build it they will come"- Field of Dreams) thus the quote "It said seize the day, pull the trigger, drop the blade, and watch the rolling heads" but he did the wrong things and failed and felt worse than ever before and he thinks that he says "I should have stayed in bed".
    berserkeron May 08, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:this is one of the coolest songs ever written...I think its about a guy who wakes up one day and decides to change his life, only instead of becoming a better person he decides on doing whatever he feels like, not caring about what is right or wrong (stealing from the poor and giving to the rich, executing people, torturing them)...he realizes that he isn't special at all and that everyone around him is a pig so he might as well join them and become corrupt like everyone else, that he isn't any more perfect than anyone else so he's a liar too...this is his day to try living his life the way he REALLY wants to, not the way he's forced to
    treestumpon June 15, 2002   Link

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