"Stephanie Says" as written by and Lou Reed....
Stephanie says
That she wants to know
Why she's given half her life,
To people she hates now

Stephanie says
When answering the phone
What country shall I say
Is calling from across the world

But she's not afraid to die,
The people all call her Alaska
Between worlds so the people ask her
Cause it's all in her mind
It's all in her mind

Stephanie says
That she wants to know
Why it is though she's the door
She can't be the room

Stephanie says
But doesn't hang up the phone
What sea shell she is calling
From across the world

But she's not afraid to die,
The people all cal her Alaska
Between worlds so the people ask her
Cause it's all in her mind
It's all in her mind

They're asking
Is it good or bad
It's such an icy feeling
It's so cold in Alaska,
It's so cold in Alaska,
It's so cold in Alaska

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"Stephanie Says" as written by Lou Reed


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Stephanie Says song meanings
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  • +7
    General CommentFor me, this song is about a girl who feels like she's wasted her life, maybe she's had her heart broken a few times, or been close to people who let her down ('she wants to know/why she's wasted half her life on people she hates now'). The fact that she wants to know indicates an uncertainty - she genuinely doesn't know why life hasn't gone so well for her, maybe there are questions for her left unanswered.

    I get the feeling she's kind of in limbo ('she wants to know/Why it is though she's the door
    she can't leave the room) - like, she's part of the world, but she isn't actually PART of it. it's the same feeling I get from the part about the telephone - she's connecting other people, in the same way that she is when she is 'the door'. But she's not talking on the phone herself. It makes her seem really lonely, and kind of destroyed, because now she is frozen and cold.

    And to me it's kind of a plea for somebody to help her, because she's telling them how cold she's feeling, and talking about wanting to 'leave the world' but she keeps on politely asking questions to the people on the telephone (who to me seem likely to be the 'people she hates now') and.. it's just really sad.

    I feel like she's stuck either in a particular place or in a particular mindspace, and she wants to get out of it but she can't. loneliness is the theme I get from it, mainly, and it's a bit heartbreaking.
    dr_fraudon March 17, 2006   Link
  • +5
    General CommentI think that Stephanie is about a girl who is unable to get really close with people. People meet her and are friends with her but eventually they move on (she's the door but can't be the room) and she grows resentful while they regard her as cold-hearted (they call her Alaska.)
    But her isolation is self-imposed and is a product of her coldness. (It's all in her mind.)

    So she questions why she lives in this isolation. But people wonder about her "Does she like living so distantly?" (Is it good or bad?) The answer is no, it's a cold and lonely existence. "It's so cold in Alaska."
    hankpieceon July 26, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentSome songs can be interpreted word by word, some by the overall mood or feel. To me this song is more the latter. It gives me a feeling of disconnection, aloofness, resignation ... like much VU, I believe it is meant merely as a reflection.
    ZipperHeadon December 25, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentnotice the similarities between stephanie says and caroline says from lou reed's solo work. he re-worked the song when he went out on his own, since stephanie says was never officially released on a vu album and he (apparently) owned the rights to it.
    yarbleson May 10, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is such a great song; for some unknown reason I just love it. And it definitely had its rightful place on the Royal Tenenbaums soundtrack.
    knowthyselfon April 17, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"But she's not afraid to die
    the people all call her Alaska"

    I wonder if John Green named his character from "Looking For Alaska" after this song.
    katherinealbinon September 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBut she's not afraid to die
    the people all call her Alaska
    Between worlds so the people ask her
    'Cause it's all in her mind
    it's all in her mind

    this stanza reminds me of of the story of that Chris guy who they made the Into the Wild movie about. The Book is much better btw, but any Lou reed ever did was instant classic..
    prettywhnsedatedon October 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationMany were the wrecks crashing round Warhol and his Factory. Velvet and Lou caught so many stories from that scene. I believe Stephanie grouped arond that bunch, dazzled by the starglaze and the creative and alternative lifestyle. Crude awakening to come, she turn deeper in selfloathing and drug abuse, turning away from the world, her former idols and especiallay all emotions.

    AH Sweden
    Takayamaon March 21, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionI think songs about a girl who believes or realizes the people shes surrounded herself with, her "friends", don't like her. This decisions only come to her over a long period of time, over which shes become very introverted and cold to social interaction. People view her as being cold and disconnected from reality due to her inabilities to socially interact. The song claims its all in her head though, so maybe her depressive nature and social stigmas are all in her head and these people do enjoy her company, but find her easily passive and so use her as they want or maybe she really is waking up to the injustices of her world and shes become cold to these people as her hate for them has grown.
    RonaldMcFckon July 24, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song gets my love.
    ramblingfoolon February 03, 2002   Link

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