"Rats" as written by Stone C. Gossard, Jeffrey Allen Ament, Eddie Jerome Vedder, Mike Mccready and David Abbruzzese....
They don't eat don't sleep
They don't feed they don't seethe
Bare their gums when they moan and squeak
Lick the dirt off a larger one's feet
They don't push don't crowd
Congregate until they're much too loud
Fuck to procreate till they are dead
Drink the blood of their so called best friend

They don't scurry when something bigger comes their way
Don't pack themselves together and run as one
Don't shit where they're not supposed to
Don't take what's not theirs, they don't compare

They don't scam, don't fight
Don't oppress an equals given rights
Starve the poor so they can be well fed
Line their holes with the dead ones bread

They don't scurry when something bigger comes their way
Don't pack themselves together and run as one
Don't shit where they're not supposed to
Don't take what's not theirs, they don't compare

Rats, They don't compare
Ben, the two of us need look no more


Lyrics submitted by Trent

"Rats" as written by Eddie Vedder David Abbruzzese

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Rats song meanings
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30 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentAs far as this song being ironic, it is. The ridiculous of his lyrics that portray rats as civilized is a mockery of similar rhetoric that humans are civilized and superior. Vedder is using this irony to reveal the truth that humans are just as animalistic as rats - and maybe worse due to the calculated cruelty we exact on one another on large scales.
    pumpikanoon December 20, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentRead the lyrics synically (sarcastically), then they'll make sense...
    forchette49on May 26, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Commentvedder compares humans and rats but not to say they're different but equal or even worse... he uses irony when he says "Don't take what's not theirs" the first thing we think is that rats do that.. yes! they do that so as we do, so we are like rats... on the contrary, when he says "they don't compare" we think no, they don't compare but we do, we are worse than rats... it's just a way to say that we act worse than animals...

    one of may favorite songs
    violiniston February 07, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe Ben at the end of the song is in reference to the song Ben by Michael Jackson for the movie of the same name. In the movie, a young boy befriends the rat Ben, but then the rat turns evil and recruits other rats to attack people.
    grevulonon March 03, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe irony is lost on me. because rats do most of these things, especially the ones in the first and second verses, only for some reason he turned it around and said they don't do that. rats do do all of these things. Thats why we hate rats. they steal cheese pack close together, fuck till they have so many babies that they are packed together and eat their dead and live in filth. He mut think they do compare, so why is he being sarcastic about it, or ironic? He must be being ironic through this song, or he has a totally warped idea of how rats act. maybe he was drunk when he wrote the song.
    KurdtTBOon April 14, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is about the stereotypes of Jews. Since WWII rats have always been used as an metaphor for Jews. The stereotype of them being misers can be found in the line starve the poor so they can be well fed. It could also just be used as stereotypes of other people, or how people view other people.
    rhcpypearljamon September 20, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSeems to me that this song is a jab at our behaviour as humans. By pointing out how rats behave in their own culture, it demonstrates how creatures with so much less capacity for thought can exist to be so much more thoughtful than us...
    stefanon January 09, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentvedder is obviously comparing rats and humans. however, he is vague as to which trait belongs to which species, and whether he is condemning humans or not. for instance, "they don't scurry when something bigger comes their way." does this apply to humans? if so, that doesn't necessarily describe a negative trait. but, "starve the poor so they can be well fed" seems to be a jab at people. this song is really good and one of my favorites on vs., but its message is confusing.
    icy40ozon June 19, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentactually, i think it refers to Ben the rat in the story Ratman's Notebooks, which became a movie in the 70s called Willard, now redone as a new movie more recently. The man befriends Ben and Socrates, 2 rats, and he gets payback from all the people that treated him bad with his legion of rats that will do what he says.
    ethicalsubroutineon March 12, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentactually, i think it refers to Ben the rat in the story Ratman's Notebooks, which became a movie in the 70s called Willard, now redone as a new movie more recently. The man befriends Ben and Socrates, 2 rats, and he gets payback from all the people that treated him bad with his legion of rats that will do what he says.
    ethicalsubroutineon March 12, 2003   Link

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