"Bring Em Back Alive" as written by Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk....
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Bring 'Em Back Alive song meanings
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  • +3
    General Commenti believe that you're most connected to a song when its all you can listen to, and at this point in my life that's how it is. i adore this song.

    for me, moving past the religious references and delving even deeper:

    this song dictates the acceptance of your personal tragedy and leaving shame to get into where you stand.

    i, i am a virus
    i, i live in silence

    like a leech, one who only would cause harm and damage to prolong existence in the most corrupt way.
    but he sings, i live in silence.
    these two lyrics together are different from simply saying, i hurt everything i know, im just corrupt--there's a sense of sadness and loneliness in him, and that there was once something beautiful.
    if he lives in silence, why is this song loud and screaming? this is the screams of torment inside his mind.

    and a virus is nothing without a host, a virus feeds in a corrupt manner upon something else, someone--
    and he lives in silence.
    its the tragedy of isolation, its the tragedy of hating the characteristics of your existence--
    and that once you tried to reach the sky, and was so close.
    4235976on January 24, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Commentcoolest. guitar. solo. ever.
    d_uckon February 27, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment(I corrected some lyrics.)

    I think the entire album's lyrics have a spiritual focus, this song is no different.

    I was on my way
    to the center of the sun
    when i lost my wings
    and i fell into the crowd
    and they carried me
    to a hole in the ground
    and they buried me
    where no one can see
    and no one would be around

    It's clearly related to the Icarus story, and the buried part seems to be about dying and being buried in a casket. Maybe he tried to do too much, go too far, and died for his trouble?

    I was on my way
    to a city in the clouds
    when i lost my mind
    and i had to settle down
    then i had a dream
    of an island in the sea
    where the lepers die
    where no one survives
    where no one can hear the cries

    If you just saw, "city in the clouds," you'd think of heaven. So let's go from there: he was on his way to heaven, but he lost his mind (his faith?) and had to settle down (into the secular world). Then he dreams of a place where the lepers die. What do lepers remind you of? For most Christians it's the mny times in the bible Jesus heals leprosy. So then a place "where the lepers die" would be where Jesus wasn't there to help him. So to counter the previous verse about heaven, maybe this one is about hell?

    just like heathens thinking on our feet
    believe in god
    we're one step
    two step
    three steps toward the graveyards
    on the high road to remembering
    it seems that we forgot

    The first part of this is about how people who aren't Christian can "become" believers when they are threatened with death (the "graveyard"). The last two lines don't seem connected with that - something about how we've all lost our connection to true religion as we try to seek it.

    Overall Chris Cornell's lyrics kick immense ass.
    haldir2012on April 13, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI relate to this song on such a personal level, its almost suffocating.

    I understand where all the talk of Icarus, religion etc is coming from, but I think that it can distract from what I feel is the core message of the song -at least for me- which is that of utter self-loathing. He basically believes that he is a parasite, and for this reason he should exist only in silence (if at all) to protect others from himself.

    Cornell was still 'coming down' off drug use at the time, and the idea of Icarus flying into the sun seemed to capture perfectly his addiction -the initial psychadelic period, followed by the terrifying fall.

    The talk of being buried and forgotten hearkens back to earlier lyrics such as 4th of July, where he talked about Jesus being buried alive. This concept of martyrdom is, I feel, an important part of his lyrics. Everytime I listen to Cornell's lyrics I am reminded of a certain Demotivational poster I used to see on my classroom wall in highschool: "Mistakes: It Could Be That The Purpose Of Your Life Is To Serve Only As A Warning To Others."

    Perhaps he believes he is that sinking ship? "The wreck is going down, get out before you drown"
    This does not exclude the wider social commentary implied in his lyrics.

    Anyway, I am glad this song was written because it puts a voice to his silence. In essence, the song itself is a victory.
    StrayDog86on October 13, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"I was on my way
    to the center of the sun
    when i lost my wings"

    This is what happened to Icarus in the Greek myth where they make wings out of wax and he disobeys his father and flies too close to the sun and plummets to his death. In the song he suffers a worse fate by being buried alive - a worse consequence for disobeying authority?
    Whatever the song means, I feel it can't be as simplistic as being about "waking up and realising things". Like the Icarus reference, surely there's a bit more to it? :cow:
    heavens_mistakeon September 27, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with the Icarus mythology in the first verse.
    When you are destined for great things, doing very well in life, it is usually expected that you succeed. When you fail, the "crowd" can't accept it, and you are left alone (to die). "Noone would see" where you are buried.
    Or the crowd is carrying him like a hero, but eventually he's forgotten.
    robmoszon July 01, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI never understood why this song is named what is is. Most of their first album seems like this. The names of some songs are just odd.
    MrPocketson December 31, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe Icarus story definately fits with the song..

    I just wanted to add something about

    "of an island in the sea
    where the lepers die"

    In the book Papillon, which was written by famed escaped convict Henri Charriere, he speaks of his escape from prison (I think it was 13 escapes in 9 years) and from one prison he swims out to an island where all the lepers are left. They have their own community and everything. I don't know how this would tie in with the song, but I thought it would be interesting.
    xmoviemaniaxon May 05, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is deeeeep. Just like most of the songs Chris writes. Going along with the theme, i definitely agree with the Icarus reference, only furthering this point that this song, and this entire album have a very strong spiritual tone.
    The best thing stab i can give at figuring out what this song means is that he was trying to reach the top, he was doing everything he could, and when he fell, they threw him away as if he was nothing.
    This song is simply brilliant, the guitar solo is amazing, mainly because Tom Morello is a stud, and the guitar opening, and during the chorus is impeccable.
    It probably helps that Cornell can carry his voice to show emotion with the best of them.
    TheWeavon June 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentone thing that you all have to remember is that Chris Cornell does not seem to think too highly of Christianity or other religions.
    aaron09on November 01, 2008   Link

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