Once divided, nothing left to subtract
Some words when spoken can't be taken back
Walks on his own
With thoughts he can't help thinking
Future's above
But in the past he's slow and sinking

Caught a bolt of lightning
Cursed the day he let it go


Isn't it something?

She once believed in every story he had to tell
One day she stiffened, took the other side
Empty stares from each corner of a shared prison cell
One just escapes, one's left inside the well

And he who forgets
Will be destined to remember, oh, oh, oh


Isn't it something?

Oh, she don't want him (she don't want him)
Oh, she won't feed him after he's flown away

Oh, into the sun
Ah, into the sun
Burn (burn), burn (burn)


Isn't it something?


Coulda been something
Oh, oh, oh

Lyrics submitted by Ark

Nothingman Lyrics as written by Jeffrey Allen Ament Eddie Jerome Vedder

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Nothingman song meanings
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  • +11
    General Comment

    Nothingman" is about a troubled relationship. I wrote it before I was married. I might bring something I know from the relationship to "Nothingman," but I'm thinking about someone else going through it, someone who fucked up. I didn't fuck up. The idea is about if you love someone and they love you, don't fuck up... 'cause you are left with less than nothing", Eddie Vedder

    Lucky1869_420on December 08, 2001   Link
  • +8
    Song Meaning

    12 years later I listened to this song again and finally understood what it had meant.

    This song is about the regret of leaving someone for nothing. I was in a long term relationship through college and soon after we graduated, I let her go. I wanted to experience new things, new people. I cant help but sometimes think about what happen. She was very upset though she found resolution and moved on...I walked away without looking back but I look back now.. and I will always carry that burden. which is unresolved. "he who forgets is destined to remember"

    "Once divided...nothing left to subtract" -Once broken up there is nothing left

    "Some words when spoken...can't be taken back Walks on his own...with thoughts he can't help thinking" -The regret

    "Future's above...but in the past he's slow and sinking" -The decision

    "Caught a bolt 'a lightnin'...cursed the day he let it go" -The mistake

    "She once believed...in every story he had to tell" -She admired him so

    "One day she stiffened...took the other side Empty stares...from each corner of a shared prison cell One just escapes...one's left inside the well" -He left her without remorse, without even looking back. Left her there

    "And he who forgets...will be destined to remember" -But his actions now haunt him. The guilt and regret is eternal. The remorse is forever.

    "Oh, she don't want him... Oh, she won't feed him...after he's flown away" -She wont come back. she has moved on.

    And he realises it is he who is nothingman. Has nothing. Could have been something. Nothingman.

    ashkonon June 02, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    i love this song. i can see why its about a broken relationship. i think its called nothingman cause the man is nothing without his girl but i dont know. i think the prison cell is a metaphor or whatever for the relationship. "one just escapes...one's left inside the well." i think that means that she had broken off the relationship and the he who is left is still stuck in the past and still in love. i could be wrong. im in love with this song.....

    nothing girl 4596on June 11, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    it's about loss it's about never feeling complete again it's about always and forever chasing that perfect ghost it's about wasted love (tough i stole this line from saint elmo's fire) it's about me and it's about you it's the perfect song

    nothingmanepron July 03, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    "The idea is about if you love someone and they love you, don't fuck up... 'cause you are left with less than nothing", Eddie Vedder.

    keithjoneson December 01, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    This is a great song. Here's what I think the lyrics mean

    -Once divided...nothing left to subtract... once the relationship is over (the people are divided), there isn't anything left between the two to take away.

    -Some words when spoken...can't be taken back... Sometimes when you break up with a person, you can't just take that back no mater what

    -Walks on his own...with thoughts he can't help thinking... Some here say this relates to Kurt Cobain, and that very well may be. But to me it seems to fit into the premise of a break up quite well. More specifically the song is about a guy that broke up with a girl and then regrets it. Hence, he's on his own (all alone) with thoughts of regret that he can't help thinking.

    -Future's above...but in the past he's slow and sinking... Hindsight is 20/20. He saw himself bogged down in the relationship while he was in it...you know slow and sinking.

    -Caught a bolt 'a lightnin'...cursed the day he let it go... The girl is clearly the "bolt 'a lightnin" that he now is kicking himself for letting go.

    -Nothingman... (2x) -Isn't it something? -Nothingman... What he is, what the relationship was...

    -She once believed in every story he had to tell -One day she stiffened, took the other side Pretty self explanatory. Why did she stiffen? Did he lie to her or is it because he broke up with her? the rest of this verse makes it seem as though she "stiffened" before he broke up with her which seems to me that he lied to her or hurt her somehow before he broke up with her. At any rate, she doesn't take his side anymore.

    -Empty stares...from each corner of a shared prison cell... One just escapes...one's left inside the well... This lyric is what makes me think that the relationship was a burden and was pretty much over before he broke up with her. The prison cell is a metaphor for the relationship they were in. The well is a metaphor for the vast empty nothing left over after she escapes. He didn't have to use the prison cell and escapes refrence. They connotate the state of the relationship and the need to be free of it, and just how hard it is to get free of it. Probably the most important lyrics of the song.

    -And he who forgets...will be destined to remember...oh...oh...oh... He who forgets what? He who forgets the love he has for the other person will be destined not to be able to forget that love.

    -Oh, she don't want him... -Oh, she won't feed him...after he's flown away... She doesn't care about him at all now that he has broken up with her.

    -Oh, into the sun...ah, into the sun... A refrence to Icarus (the myth of the father and son that fashioned wings from feathers and wax. The son Icarus flew too close to the sun, the wax melted and he plummeted to his death). The guy wanted to escape from the relationship, and when he tried, he flew too close to the sun and got burned, and now he's paying the price.

    -Coulda' been something Could have...if only he wouldn't have...

    lanemikon September 08, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    this song explains how i hope some day the guy who just broke up with me feels in the future. he never gave me a chance when things could have been great because they were headed in that direction. i hope some day he feels what i went through and finally understands b/c this song would fit how he left me perfectly.

    hurdlerbabe_ohyeahon April 24, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I cannot begin to express how much this song represented how I felt when I was in the midst of divorce. Rarely a night passed when I wouldn't sit alone in the dark of my room with my guitar and sing and play along as if I was in some way a co-author of this hurting vision. Regardless of what Eddie's heart was feeling at the time, the lyrics he wrote were so applicable to my emptiness and my regret that nearly 10 years later I can't even write this comment without feeling the tears and lump in my throat. It was something, nothingman.

    thehiredgunon February 16, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Did anyone ever think that this song may be a sort oof follow up type of thing to Betterman? Becuase Betterman is about a relationship that has gone cold, and this is about a cold relationship that has ended. The titles are similar, and they both make references to her "Feeding Him"

    "She feeds him, that why she'll be back again" "She won't feed him, after hes flown away"

    In betterman shes considering telling him she wont take it anymore, and in this, shes told him that. The songs just seemed very connected to me. But hey, i'm probably wrong. I do know for sure though that i heart this song!

    voodoochild859on August 24, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    This song kinda has like a sixties love song feel,.....

    Maybe it's the intro, with the phonograph winding up or what ever but even with out the intro, it still seems like a song from the sixties,,,,,,

    I mean it's very clearly pearl jam, but at the same time its distinct..... anyways alot of Pearl Jam's songs are like that,

    This song is beautiful, Eddie wrote most of the songs on Vitalogy, but Jeff Ament The bassist penned this one.

    Jeff is an amazing songwriter, just look at Jeremy, Low Light, Other Side, and Nothing as it seems.....

    and the funny thing is each one of them has it's own little unique-uity about it ( that is not even a word)

    Pearl Jam new album 2005-06!!! hopefully?

    N0 C0DE 79on September 19, 2005   Link

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