"I Stay Away" as written by and Michael Inez Layne Staley....
Yeah, hey, I want to travel south this year
I won't, won't prevent safe passage here

Why you act crazy?
Not an act maybe
So close a lady
Shifty eyes, shady

Yeah, hey Yeah, tears that soak a callous heart
Why you act frightened?
I am enlightened
Your weakness builds me, so someday you'll see

I stay away

Why you act crazy?
Not an act maybe
So close a lady
Shifty eyes, shady

I stay away, I stay away, I stay away, I stay away


Lyrics submitted by Ice

"I Stay Away" as written by Michael Inez Layne Staley

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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I Stay Away song meanings
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  • +12
    General CommentThis song is very pertinent to my life because here's what I think it means. The guy has a woman in his life who has either cheated on him, or simply doesn't reciprocate his love towards her. He says that, even though this is very painful too, it is easier to simply "stay away" from her, rather than be with her and be miserable because whenever he is with her, she drives him crazy inside and he can't overcome his unrequited loving feelings for her. I have found that this song epitomizes my life, because I have been madly in love with a girl for 7 years now. She is my best friend, but that's all she sees me as, too. Even though I love her with all my heart, and I'd probably get down on bended knee right now if it were up to me, it sometimes is easier to stay away from her so the powerful romantic feelings I have for her don't drive me totally insane.
    speed114on April 13, 2006   Link
  • +8
    Song MeaningOk people, let me break it down for you. This song was written by Layne, and I think it was about leaving on dysfunctional relationship with a pscyo bitch ex-girlfriend:

    "Yeah, I want to travel south this year
    Aaah, Woah, Woah
    Won't prevent safe passage here"

    I want to leave you, and you can't stop me.

    "Why you act crazy
    Not an act maybe
    So close a lady
    Shifty eyes shady"

    You're crazy. I can see it in your eyes.

    "Yeah, hey Yeah, tears that soak
    A callous heart"

    Your crying for show, but you don't really feel anything, cuz you're a bitch.

    "Why you act frightened
    I am enlightened
    Your weakness builds me
    So someday you'll see"

    You're scared that I'm leaving, but that only empowers me, because now I see you're not just a bitch, you are weak bitch.

    "I stay away"

    I'm going to stay the hell away from you, because you are crazy!

    Layne definitely puts it more poetically then I do. That's what I think this songs means, and I can relate it to many women in my life.
    Numb420on February 19, 2010   Link
  • +5
    General CommentThis song reminds me of myself... I don't get involved with things and most people just seem so stupid or crazy I prefer to "just let 'em spin" outside my door. I think the song's about "you don't get in my business and I'll stay out of yours". It may be about any number of things...definitely one of AICs best.
    Angry Saron May 26, 2004   Link
  • +5
    General Commentno stalkerassassin1984, few of their songs were about drugs. The only ones from DIRT being Junkhead,Godsmack,and Hate to Feel. People like yourself are the reason Layne Staley and Alice in Chains will forever be underrated, trying to tie their abstract lyrics into subject matter you can grasp your simple mind around, like a persons drug addiction for example. Go listen to some green day or something
    tom-van2006on February 22, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI believe this song is about "escaping" as a result of becoming emotionally numb.

    The song seems to describe the feelings between two persons, the narrator determined to just disappear with no second thoughts. While the other part is seemingly questioning the decision the narrator has made, and is left mourning a person who feels no guilt at all for going "south".

    Beautiful song.

    hwhyon June 29, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis song could honestly be a million things....i think that it's about someone calling out for help from someone and he' can't find it so he starts slowly slipping into his own world where his own demons and fears take him over and somehow everything that was going right now starts to fall to pieces.....
    harmonicaplayeron July 17, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentYeah, I want to travel south this year (self exclamatory, he's going south this year)
    Aaah, woah, woah (the person that asked is crying)
    Wont prevent safe passage here (The author is saying this woman's crying tears sadness is not going to stop him from getting there without harm)

    Why you act crazy (She's getting distressed and hysterical)
    Not an act maybe (The author is getting aggressive and angry and is suggesting she is insane eventhough he preobably doesn't think so)
    So close a lady (You are close to a woman but you are girlish more insults)
    Shifty eyes shady (You're reasons for wanting me to stay don't seem to be the truth, come out with it and furthermore suggesting this woman is worthless)

    Yeah, hey yeah, tears that soak
    A callous heart (Your tears do nothing and are inconsequential to me and just furthering that she is powerless)

    Why you act frightened (your fear is stupid)
    I am enlightened (I'm smarter than you my choice is better than yours trust me)
    Your weakness builds me (I think this implys that her lack of confidence to get out of the relationship just makes his self esteem higher because it says that even though he is treating her like crap he still is her best shot)
    So someday youll see (you'll catch on your just slow, more insults)

    I stay away (I'm doing what I want you couldn't stop me)


    Perhaps that all is convoluted, I think its describing a relationship of sadism and complete lack of respect for the girl... come on listen to that voice it sounds twisted scathing and demented... I think Layne wants this girl to break up with him and is putting it in her face that hahhahahha you can't, you are too weak you can't live without me... who is going to want you... People idolize me, you on the other hand are a number... I think it has a moral of stick to your own kind if you are weak you better stay with the weak if you are strong you can co-exist with the strong how ever demented of a way that is of teaching a lesson... Yah, these people are extremely respectable but if you are going to be with someone who is respectable you should bring something to the table too.
    zbuddhahaon February 10, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentGr8 song, love the creepy harmonies. It's sad that some people will remember Layne purely for his heroin addiction when we should all remember and admire him for his invaluable contributions to this legendary band as one of its frontmen. He is extremely close to Kurt Cobain as a torchbearer of grunge. Grunge lives on and so do Cobain and Staley. God rest their tortured souls.
    feminist92on August 09, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationLiving life in the same manner over time will callous a heart. Going south this year, or trying to take a vacation from the lifestyle can be unbearable at times. Tears that validate my sorrow permeate the callous willpower i try to cling to, but in the end, we are baser creatures of habit-and my addiction ultimately wins. With eyes so promising true to alleviate my pain, i believe in them, only to see them change into ardent laughter at my plight. I want to remove myself, and act upstanding-but when i look deep inside to truly clean house, an act is as close as i'll get to coping with the reality of addiction's gravity.
    extraumaon January 17, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think this song is not so specific and open to interpretation, it's one of those songs that can be applied to many real life experiences. For me I think Layne is having a conversation between his bottled up feelings that he's been ignoring for so long because he's afraid of seeming like a woman. But his calloused heart is soaked in tears, which is why it's calloused to begin with and it's driving him "crazy" because deep down he wants to open up to someone but is afraid of seeming weak.
    dane117834on December 07, 2016   Link

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