Loneliness it shadows me
Quicker than darkness
Crawls to the surface of my skin
Visibly surrounded by it

Black is all I feel
So this is how it feels to be free

Surrounded by empty souls
Artificial courage used
And because so, once was mine
I walk this maze alone

Black is all I feel
So this is how it feels to be free

The man's beside himself
Man's below himself
Man's behind himself
Am I inside myself

Chaos and hate shadow me
Pain it fills me up
Only one thing makes me feel
Missing better half of me

Black is all I feel
So this is how it feels to be free

The man's beside himself
Man's below himself
Man's behind himself
Am I inside myself


Lyrics submitted by Ice

Am I Inside Lyrics as written by Jerry Cantrell Layne Staley

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Am I Inside song meanings
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39 Comments

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  • +6
    General Comment

    this is probably the most depressing sounding song i've ever heard.

    Wobbly toeon May 12, 2007   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    In my opinion this is Staley's most beautifully written lyric. I don't think he's alone in a sense of being by himself - he may very well be surrounded by other people - but he feels alone because he doesn't feel anything on the inside, it's all from the outside, crawling up to his skin. Only hate gets inside and fills him up to make him feel. So if he doesn't emotionally feel anything from the inside, he is not even inside of himself - he doesn't even have himself as a companion anymore, hence the title and the line, "missing better half of me".

    gregon August 18, 2002   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    AM I INSIDE? No, Layne, but I wish you were. haha!

    Angry Saron July 02, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    I love this song. It's about being alone, and how people say that when you have noone you are 'free', and how much total bullshit that is. Also, it's describes the feeling of being incomplete with not having someone.

    Songmeaningsuseron July 29, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    There is to a female backup singer on it.It would be Ann Wilson of Heart.She does backing on "Brother" and this song,"Am I Inside".

    Zlpemplehon May 19, 2004   Link
  • +3
    Song Meaning

    The song is originally from the EP, Sap, It is written and sung by Layne, chorus by Ann Wilson of Heart, Layne, and Jerry Cantrell.

    Great song! About loneliness and depression; above all, feeling alienated from those you thought were your friends. No matter where he goes or who he is with, he feels the same pain and he cannot escape it. His hurt is so severe that it takes on physical characteristics for him. It comes on quickly, covers him and it's so strong, it's visible.

    I believe Layne was a highly intelligent individual who over-analyzed scenarios, friendships, family and relationships. He was very observant in that he watched people/friends and did a bit of self-discovery and soul-searching himself. He was extremely generous and sincere with a heart as big as he was and he expected more from others than he received. Unfortunately, in his eyes, most people just used him or befriended him because they wanted something from him and that was immensely heartbreaking for Layne. Layne felt there was no substance to the people around him and referred to them as "empty souls". They were just living life and going through the motions. There was no "heart", no "soul" to these people.

    He is saying that he used to have this girl at one time and due to a break-up, she's no longer with him so he's currently walking this maze (earth) alone. "And because so, once was mine" (because she was his and she no longer is) "artificial courage used" alcohol and/or drugs are used to self-medicate and alleviate the pain that he is feeling. Artificial courage is similar to the term "liquid courage" which has always referred to alcohol.

    It seems he only feels a "sense" of happiness when he's with his significant other, his "better half" (better half of me), Demri. His wording is, "the only thing that makes me 'feel'. He doesn't say, feel happy. I don't think he was ever happy. Taken from "Love, Hate, Love", is the line "I live for you, but I'm not alive." This shows how Layne truly feels, which is extremely poignant and clearly indicative of his heart and state of mind. Manic depression is devastating, not only to the person experiencing it, but to the family, friends, and loved ones of that person.

    If Layne only knew what a GIANT he was and would become! But more importantly, the proper help needs to be available to treat the underlying problems, which is the reason people self-medicate.
    Layne Staley will forever live on as a LEGEND in my eyes and to every AiC fan and I'm certain he is smiling down on each and every one of us. It was an honor, I'm sure, for anyone who knew him. Rest in LOVE, my friend.

    BrushAwayon August 12, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    To me its right when the pain gets a little better so your able to think. And telling the story of how ppl didnt grasp the point and thought the opposite shit. it is the numb shock after that you cant even be angry about it. someone felt miserable but to everyone else was fine. or thats what they tried to think.

    thechildon January 09, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Good song from a great EP. I think it's about loneliness and confusion. "Chaos and hate shadow me". Maybe the person in this song has become bitter as a result of past relationships.. or even friendships.. Those are my thoughts, awesome song

    Lateralus518on January 04, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    the chorus is Miles beside himself, miles below himself and miles behind himself and after the first black is all i feel, it's, Built because soul once was mine!! sorry i just thought u guys might want to know! and my opinion is the song is very simple hes saying he's very lonely the only one that he'll let close to him is himself but the one other person would be demri thats who he wants b.c she takes his pain away

    melk92on February 13, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    You guys seriously think that's Jerry singing? Layne had a very versatile voice which was capable of sounding soft, thank you. Listen to "Got Me Wrong." SERIOUSLY, how can you not tell that's him??? Listen to the way he says "darkness" in the beginning.

    sludgefactoryon May 17, 2012   Link

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