"Brother" as written by and Stone Gossard....
You should be happy with what you got,
You should be hard to be a brother,
You should be happy with what we give you

Hand over my face.
I am related to my enemy.
My house on fire,
And my big brother come put the blame on me.

He's a-pushin', I'm being pushed from above.
Oh, and a brother, back to back to back,
Better back off of him.

You should not question at all his authority

Use a flag as a bandage.
Stick 'em up, show us your pocket hypocrisy.
In the closet, my pleasures
'Cause my big brother don't want to just let me be

Oh, and I'm pushin', oh if I could get above,
Oh, and a brother back to back back,
Keep your back off.
Oh, and I'm pushin', I'm being pushed from above.
Oh, and a brother, back to back to back,
Better back off of him

Face down, brother,
Face down [Repeat: x3]

In my mind there's a clearing.
Black clouds flow through gray still skies.
And the birds don't even whisper.
I'm flying out, I'm flying,

Back to back back, better back off,
Back to back to back, a better, better, better,
Back to back to back, back to back back, brother,
Face down, brother,
Face down,
Face down, brother,
Face down, almost, fired,
Face down, I got a gun,
Face down,
I got a gun, I got a gun,
Face down, I got a gun,
Face down

Fuck it, I'm just gonna go home, turn on the fuckin' TV,
Watch the nightly news and drink a beer,
Like I could even change the world, yeah right


Lyrics submitted by Nelly

"Brother [#][*]" as written by Stone Gossard

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

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Brother song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentI thought this song didn't have lyrics? There's a version with words..?
    Nasuson June 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song appears on their "Lost Dogs" release, I don't recall it having words either, but if you listen very very closely it sounds like someone is singing through a synthesizer or voice box, or maybe it's just my imagination.
    armanon September 22, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentActually this song does have lyrics, but the version on lost dogs does not. They used the instrumental version of it. If you look on something like soul seek or kazaa u can find it with lyrics... i think theskyiscrape.com has it look under The Songbook and then under (i think) related albums... then Pre Ten Demos... you should find it in there... should be an mp3 of it.
    Stephen Flowon October 07, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, the one on Lost Dogs doesn't have lyrics. Mike, for that album, played some riffs over the lyrics because Eddie asked him to.
    All5Horizons10on December 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAs far as the actual meaning, its a very shallow song. Probably about teen rage and tension between brothers. It could also be a metaphor for Big Brother, which would be a totally different meaning.
    armanon May 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentever notice that lots of bands from the 90s have similar song titles? (i.e. creep, sin, brother)
    slevletteon July 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreets guys. The lyric version can actually be heard here: "youtube.com/…". The acoustic version is awesome, but so is the lyrical version. The lyrics at the top are incorrect, the link has the correct lyrics subtitled as the song plays. I agree with the above posters, it's about government.

    "In the closet, my pleasures, cause my big brother just don't want to let me be."
    Topchrison July 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere's a version with lyrics that's a rough mix. Then there's the one that's fully mixed! And it's not on fucking Lost Dogs. I bet none of you understand a word I'm saying or don't believe me, but you get the fully mixed version on an Unreleased Cuts compilation they leaked online earlier this year!
    Love is suicide...on January 04, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the song is about a repressive government - "Big Brother" is the name for repressive governments who control every aspect of life and culture in their state and hold the populace helpless - this metaphor comes from George Orwell's book, 1984.

    Anyway, using the correct lyrics from the comments page here: pearljam.com/song/…

    Hand over my face. I am related to my enemy.
    (He is being repressed by the government.)

    My house on fire, and my big brother come put the blame on me.
    (His house was burned down by the government, and to make matters worse, he was framed for it.)

    He's a-pushin'...I'm being pushed from above.
    (The government is crushing him - since they are in a position of power, they're pushing "from above".)

    Oh, and a brother, back to back to back,
    Better back off of him.
    You should not question at all his authority...
    (People defending the gov't warn dissidents to "back off" from fighting it.)


    Use a flag as a bandage.
    (Using patriotism/nationalism to cover up & distract from the problems in the nation.)

    Stick 'em up, show us your pocket hypocrisy.
    ("Stick 'em up" probably refers to a gun, and "pocket hypocrisy", well, guns are kept in pockets, and could be viewed as hypocritical by Vedder.)

    In the closet, my pleasures
    'Cause my big brother don't want to just let me be.
    (The things made illegal by the government, i.e. dissident literature, drugs, etc. have to be hidden)

    Oh, and I'm pushin'...oh if I could get above...
    (He's pushing the gov't as well, but he's pushing from below because he's just a lone civilian vs. a corrupt dictatorship.)

    Oh, and a brother back to back back,
    Keep your back off.
    Oh, and I'm pushin'...I'm being pushed from above.
    Oh, and a brother, back to back to back,
    Better back off of him...

    Face down...brother...
    Face down... [3X]
    ("Face down" means either being made helpless by the system, or literally face down before being summarily executed.)

    In my mind there's a clearing.
    Black clouds flow through grey still skies.
    And the birds don't even whisper.
    I'm flying out...I'm flying...
    (I don't know how this relates to the song. I guess it sounds nice because it's nice soft visuals for the quieter bridge.)

    Back to back back, better back off... brother...
    Face down...brother
    Face down...almost fired
    Face down...I got a gun
    (He's holding a gov't agent face down, and about to kill him.)

    Aah, fuck it, I'm just gonna go home, turn on the fuckin' TV...
    Watch the nightly news and drink a beer...
    Like I could even change the world, yeah right...
    (He stops his revolution and becomes a sheep, just like everyone else, thinking, like everyone else, that nothing he can do could change it.)
    Malteseon March 05, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGuys, the Lost dogs version of the song is an instrumental with lyrics in the background.. those lyrics are the ones with

    "Oh and I'm pushin" in the chorus..

    In 2009, Pearl Jam re-released their Ten album, with a new version of Brother..

    This new version had the lyrics posted here... "oh little sister, you and me can rise above"..

    Thats the deal..

    ~DR00P5~
    dr00p5on June 03, 2009   Link

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