"Present Tense" as written by and Mike Mccready Eddie Vedder....
Do you see the way that tree bends? Does it inspire?
Leaning out to catch the sun's rays...a lesson to be applied...
Are you gettin' something out of this all encompassing trip?
You can spend your time alone redigesting past regrets oh...
Or you can come to terms and realize
You're the only one who can forgive yourself oh yeah...
Makes much more sense to live in the present tense...
Have you ideas on how this life ends?
Checked your hands and studied the lines?
Have you the belief that the road ahead ascends off into the light?
Seems that needlessly it's gettin' harder
To find an approach and a way to live...
Are we gettin' something out of this all-encompassing trip?
You can spend your time alone redigesting past regrets, oh...
Or you can come to terms and realize...
You're the only one who cannot forgive yourself, oh...
A-makes much more sense to live in the present tense...


Lyrics submitted by Trent

"Present Tense" as written by Mike Mccready Eddie Vedder

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Present Tense song meanings
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22 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentI see this song as one born out from deep insight. It seems to be a code in which to live life; ie. in the present tense, as well as a musing about the mysteries lies offers to us, ie. 'have you an idea on how this life ends?'
    jamfanon May 15, 2002   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationPlease excuse me if I sound like a very emotional wreck... I feel like this song goes through me and into me and runs through my veins and wears off like a drug. It's like a pinch, and a talk with my inner self to listen to this... a voice telling me my best interests, pointing me towards happiness. Eddie is blessed, he's a poet. The most beautiful words fall from his mind to a page and out of his mouth. It feels like listening to something inside yourself. What a wonderful piece of work lyrically, and musically. The musicianship on this track is perfectly in unison with Ed's vocals and the lyrics. It creates beautiful things in your mind, and soothes you and lulls you in the verses... only to hammer home the chorus in the strongest must stripped back way. So beautiful. Well done Ed.
    sartemison June 25, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti have listened to this song about 20 times in the past two days because it's so amazing. what this songs says to me is that rather than spending time wrapped up in our past, being ruled by our successes and failures that have already taken place, we can shed ourselves of that shroud and truly soak in what this life has to offer for us TODAY.
    stefanon January 09, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIs this the closure to grunge? The band which was so attached to the nihilist sound of the early 90s, finally find hope in the world and become happier with themselves.
    thenarratoron September 11, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have always argued that PJ was never "grunge", that they were classified that falsely because of where they came frome and their debut song, but in actuality they have something deeper, more mature than most "grunge" artists, and their song catalogue reflects it, look at the maturity of the songe from No Code on till now... none of the other "grunge" bands have ever shown that depth... sure PJ had the look and the raw emotion, but they also had a level of intelect and insight that none of the others had... on top of that I've always felt that PJ had a higher caliber musician than most other "grunge" bands (not meant to start a flame war, just an opinion)...

    CB
    driftinon October 12, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLots of commenters attribute this to Eddie, but it was written by Mike McCready. The more I read the more I think that this was one way he was saying farewell to the drugs: "You can spend your time alone redigesting past regrets or you can come to terms and realize you're the only one who can forgive yourself." The message is to emphasize compassion, and you do that by learning to live in the moment, the Present Tense.
    G-Farbulouson January 06, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI heard that Eddie was having trouble writing lyrics for this one and basically built up from the initials of his hero; Pete Townsende. Taking P and T and then building a whole song around the name Present Tense. This might not be true, I can't remember where i heard it, but if it is it speaks volumes about Eddies talent as a lyricist that he could come up with such an insightful song based on something so random.
    SandFoxon July 06, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song actually reads pretty clearly. Ao I would say Stefan is correct. On another note is there any better sounding bass, then the bass at the end of this song?
    fayd2blakon July 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song actually reads pretty clearly. Ao I would say Stefan is correct. On another note is there any better sounding bass, then the bass at the end of this song?
    fayd2blakon July 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI listen to this song whenever I'm worried about something from the past. The song speaks for itself: it needs no real explanation: "You can spend your time alone, redigesting past regrets, or you can come to terms and realize you're the only one who can forgive yourself. It makes much more sense to live in the present tense." This is one of the songs that makes No Code the best PJ album to date. Absolutely incredible song.
    PJ_DMBon March 07, 2003   Link

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