"Wishlist" as written by and Eddie Vedder....
I wish I was a neutron bomb for once I could go off
I wish I was a sacrifice but somehow still lived on
I wish I was a sentimental ornament you hung on

The Christmas tree I wish I was the star that went on top
I wish I was the evidence I wish I was the grounds
For fifty million hands upraised and open toward the sky

I wish I was a sailor with someone who waited for me
I wish I was as fortunate as fortunate as me
I wish I was a messenger and all the news was good
I wish I was the full moon shining off a Camaro's hood

I wish I was an alien at home behind the sun
I wish I was the souvenir you kept your house key on
I wish I was the pedal brake that you depended on
I wish I was the verb 'to trust' and never let you down

I wish I was a radio song, the one that you turned up


Lyrics submitted by antispork

"Wishlist" as written by Eddie Vedder

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Wishlist song meanings
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  • +7
    General CommentI love the line "I wish I was a messenger, and all the news was good."
    d3bateson February 25, 2011   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI think it's about feeling you're not good enough for the one you love, and because of that feeling you're just not good enough in general, and wishing you were different.
    maggiewaggieon August 06, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Commentyes the line "I wish I was the full moon shining off a Camero's hood." what a bitchin' line. Who wouldn't want to be that? So simple and awesome.
    puckthewonderdawgon August 27, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI wish I was a neutron bomb, for once I could go off

    // A neutron bomb is a type of nuclear weapon intended primarily to affect human targets ... here he refers to "going off" in the sense of making a big deal and finally being able to show his feelings after a long time of hiding them //

    I wish I was a sacrifice but somehow still lived on

    // He wants to be associated with the deep, meaningful feelings of allowing oneself to be sacrificed (perhaps for the sake of a loved one) but somehow be allowed to live on and reap the benefits of that sacrifice ... this could also be a reference to Christ, who was said to have sacrificed himself, but have lived on ... perhaps the singer is suggesting that his love is as eternal and everlasting as that of a god //

    I wish I was a sentimental ornament you hung on
    The Christmas tree, I wish I was the star that went on top

    // He wants to form both the figurehead and the meaningful interior elements in his relationship with the person to whom the song is directed. He doesn't want to be just a flashy lover whose commitment burns out, or just the slow-and-steady admirer whose love fades into the background -- he wants to be everything, whether that is deemed traditionally possible or not. //

    I wish I was the evidence, I wish I was the grounds
    For 50 million hands upraised and open toward the sky

    // This is odd... he seems to use legal/judicial terms "grounds" and "evidence," but then switches to a very concrete image of humanity banding together for a single cause. Perhaps he just intends to create an image of unity, suggesting that his love is so strong that it would be enough to unite millions of people. //

    I wish I was a sailor with someone who waited for me

    // Contrary to what an earlier poster suggested, this is most likely an instance of a "quaint" notion of love coming true in a very real way. For sailors' lovers/wives, it was often very difficult to "wait" for their significant others to return home, since they often received no word from their lovers for months, or sometimes even years. Sailing was a dangerous occupation and death was always a possibility, so it took extra fortitude to remain faithful in the face of this chance. To be on the receiving end of that faith, though, would show just how much the other person loved you, and it might even allow your shared love to expand more. //

    I wish I was as fortunate, as fortunate as me

    // He may be trying to turn on its head the idea of a singer hoping for a situation better than the current one, or he may simply be making a poignant statement that the situation in which he finds himself is the best possible one, and so that is the one that he wishes for. He hopes for things to continue to be exactly the way they are, because he believes they cannot get any better. //

    I wish I was a messenger and all the news was good

    // Another archaic reference (akin to the earlier sailing lyric) in which messengers could often be in danger if the messages they brought were bad (hence the saying, "don't kill the messenger," because it sometimes happened). He's probably making reference to the fact that he always wants everything between him and his beloved to be positive, and he doesn't even want to consider the possibility of bringing her pain indirectly (since direct pain is out of the question anyway). //

    I wish I was the full moon shining off a Camaro's hood

    // Here he uses vivid imagery to suggest perfection, a sense of adventure, and of momentary satisfaction, all rolled into one. He always hopes to have the perfect finishing touch for the situations he and his beloved find themselves in -- and approach these situations with a sense of fun, daring and freedom. //

    I wish I was an alien at home behind the sun

    // This is a very confusing line, because it doesn't seem to refer to love, at least not at first. He could be making reference to wanting to be unique and wonderfully different, and bringing these values to his relationship. Or perhaps he is making reference to his beloved as "the sun" and he as the stranger who is able to find refuge only in her, and nowhere else in creation. //

    I wish I was the souvenir you kept your house key on

    // He could be making a figurative statement about wanting to be in her life as a constant fond memory, or perhaps a more literal suggestion that he would like to be the person with whom she builds her home life, in the sense that he is the center of the home, which is meant to be warm and loving above all other places. Or perhaps it is a combination of both. //

    I wish I was the pedal brake that you depended on

    // The wording "pedal brake" (and not the reverse, "brake pedal") is strange here, and almost seems to suggest more of a child's bike (with a pedal brake, rather than a handlebar brake) than a car. But in any case, he wants the woman in his life to be able to depend on him not just in the sense of the more flowery language earlier in the song, but also in the sense that she would use him, in a way he is meant to be (and wants to be) used, to keep her from danger... both in an everyday sense, and in an emergency sense. //

    I wish I was the verb 'to trust' and never let you down

    // He wants to be more than just the things he has already described -- he wants to be the very meaning of the words which she would use to describe him. He wants to be everything that "trust" means. "Never let you down" may also be a sly reference to never wanting to part from her, in the sense that a person in love may sweep the other person off his/her feet, and he wishes never to depart from that sense of love and commitment. //

    I wish I was a radio song, the one that you turned up
    I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish
    I guess it never stops...

    // In the studio version of the song that I have, these lyrics fade our quickly and are not heard. It seems strange for him to include any more verses after the last one, since that one seems to be the culmination of all that he wants to be for her -- he wants to be the very definition of what she needs in a relationship. The "radio song" reference, though, is obviously a self-referential line to his being a singer and this being a song, and that he would love for his work (this song, as well as others) to help bring people to the heights described in the lyrics, as well as the fact that he would like to mean as much to his beloved as all the songs she has ever loved.

    The last two lines are slightly confusing, though, as they seem almost defeatist rather than lovelorn. Perhaps, despite his brilliant use of language, he could be just expressing his inability to use words to fully describe how he feels for his beloved. Or he could be making reference to the fact that no matter how much he tries to describe elements of how he feels, he is never able to fully encompass it ... and yet affirming that describing it does nothing to detract from its deep meaning. //
    MatCon August 17, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is a great PJ song. I think the meaning is pretty obvious--about being someone's everything. Since we are sharing fav lines, I would have to go with, "I wish I was the verb 'to trust' and never let you down..." :)
    ELS24on June 06, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is one of the most fabulos sngs evbery written. i agree with the interperatation of wanting to be someone's "all". just beutiful. odly enough my fav line is "i wish i was an alien at home behind the sun" This song has special meaning tome though bacause a guy i liked actually did sing this for me while playing his guitar. gorgeous!
    Monkey_magicon June 18, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOhh yeah, I forgot to mention,

    I have heard a bootleg version of this song and Eddie's singing it and in the middle of the song he forgets the words but improvs with this line:

    "I wish I could remember all the words to this damn song"

    Eddie Vedder is the SHIT!
    and there is a new album coming out... May 2nd as of right now...
    N0 C0DE 79on February 23, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI feel like this song and each line has a deeper meaning then anyone can comprehend apart from eddie himself
    EddiesTributeon September 06, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationIt's about living. About truly and really feeling your life and living your love - the opposite of numbness and apathy.
    filRon January 27, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is like, my theme song...

    *Sigh* I wanna marry Eddie, he's so beautifully deep...

    LOL, I love the "I wish I was the pedal brake you depended on..."
    krystoniteon May 14, 2002   Link

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