Son, she said
Have I got a little story for you
What you thought was your daddy
Was nothin' but a

While you were sittin'
Home alone at age thirteen
Your real daddy was dyin'
Sorry you didn't see him
But I'm glad we talked

Oh, I, oh, I'm still alive
Hey, I, oh, I'm still alive
Hey, I, oh, I'm still alive, hey, oh

While she walks slowly
Across a young man's room
She said I'm ready, for you
Why I can't remember anything
To this very day
'Cept the look, the look
Oh, you know where
Now I can't see, I just stare

I, I'm still alive
Hey, I, oh, I'm still alive
Hey, I, oh, I'm still alive
Hey, I, oh, I'm still alive, yeah

(Oh yeah)
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, oh)

Is something wrong?
She said
Of course there is
You're still alive
She said
Oh, do I deserve to be?
Is that the question?
And if so, if so
Who answers?
Who answers?

I, oh, I'm still alive
Hey, I, oh, I'm still alive
Hey, I, oh, I'm still alive
Hey, I
Oh, I'm still alive
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Oh, yeah oh, ooh oh, yeah, oh
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Lyrics submitted by LittleW, edited by chriscmn, SMUSER17506205

"Alive" as written by Eddie Jerome Vedder Stone C. Gossard

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Alive song meanings
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  • +18
    General CommentThis song was actually the first of a mini-opera that Eddie wrote known as the "Mamasan Trilogy". The song describes a boy who grows up believing that one man is his father but finds out that he is not. He grows up to look just like his biological father and his mother falls in love with the son and sexually abuses him. The song "Once" is part II of the story and describes the boy obviously mentally disturbed who is not able to control his rage and goes on a killing spree. The triology is concluded with "Footsteps" where the boy is siting in his cell on death row awaiting his execution.
    Matzy94on January 09, 2002   Link
  • +11
    General CommentTaken from "Five Against the World"
    by Cameron Crowe
    Rolling Stone 10/28/93
    The following is an excerpt. Rather read the whole thing?
    "Alive" set the tone for everything that would follow. The first song on Ten was also the first song to bring attention to the band. It was clearly Vedder's creative breakthrough, and the band's initial video celebrated a cathartic live performance of the song. In an early Los Angeles Times review, writer Chris William had even compared the song to the Who's "My Generation." Today, "Alive" is a Gen X rallying cry, but tonight, sitting in the Nightlite, Vedder reveals the true meaning of the song. "Everybody writes about it like it's a life-affirmation, thing - I'm really glad about that,' he says with a rueful laugh "It's a great interpretation. But 'Alive' is ... it's torture. Which is why it's fucked up for me. Why I should probably learn how to sing another way. It would be easier. It's... it's too much." Vedder continues: "The story of the song is that a mother is with a father and the father dies. It's an intense thing because the son looks just like the father. The son grows up to be the father, the person that she lost. His father's dead, and now this confusion, his mother, his love, how does he love her, how does she love him? In fact, the mother, even though she marries somebody else, there's no one she's ever loved more than the father. You know how it is, first loves and stuff. And the guy dies. How could you ever get him back? But the son. He looks exactly like him. It's uncanny. So she wants him. The son is oblivious to it all. He doesn't know what the fuck is going on. He's still dealing, he's still growing up. He's still dealing with love, he's still dealing with the death of his father. All he knows is 'I'm still alive' - those three words, that's totally out of burden." Elvis' "Suspicious Minds" blasts on the jukebox as Vedder continues. "Now the second verse is 'Oh she walks slowly into a young man's room... I can remember to this very day . . . the look . . . the look.' And I don't say anything else. And because I'm saying, 'The look, the look' everyone thinks it goes with 'on her face.' It's not on her face. The look is between her legs. Where do you go with that? That's where you came from." "But I'm still alive. I'm the lover that's still alive. And the whole conversation about 'You're still alive, she said' And his doubts: 'Do I deserve to be? Is that the question?' Because he's fucked up forever! So now he doesn't know how to deal with it, so what does he do, he goes out killing people - that was [the song] 'Once.' He becomes a serial killer. And 'Footsteps,' the final song of the trilogy [it was released as a U.K. B side to 'Jeremy'], that's when he gets executed That's what happens. The Green River killer... and in San Diego, there was another prostitute killer down there. Somehow I related to that. I think that happens more than we know. It's a modern way of dealing with a bad life." Then he smiles as he says, "I'm just glad I became a songwriter."
    modernaudreyon August 25, 2007   Link
  • +5
    General Commenti guess this song is about some kid who's real dad dies and he apparently looks just like him so his mom, still being in love with her deceased spouse falls in love with her son. This is from Vedder i dont know if i said it exactly right though.
    reverand_chrison December 15, 2001   Link
  • +3
    General CommentHolly! You guys really know your shit.
    dejanon May 14, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentIm really suprised at all the weird stuff everyone has come up with about the meaning of this song. This is my favorite song and I knew it wasnt about the oedipus complex or all the mamason trilogy thing watch this and eddie vedder himself will tell you what it did mean and what it now means.…
    Newbert_Zeroon February 13, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI believe the great beauty of any art (e.g. Music) is that it is open to countless interpretations. Don't ever think that you are "wrong" for mentioning how you see something, because it is like Dreams, they are your own. You can always share them, just don't push it on other people if they don't want it.

    (What is the difference between Life & Dream?)
    PinkMorrisonon June 23, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Commentactually alot of you are right but there is a deeper meaning to the song. the fake part of the song most of you have right about the boy finding out about how his dad is really his step dad and how his mom abuses him. but the actual part about eddie veder is how he found out that his dad was really his step dad, he was very hurt by this but eventually went on to form pearl jam. and one night at a concert he talked to a man back stage for a few minutes and later in the week found out that that was his biological father and that he died. that is why in the song he says "im sorry you didnt see him" which is him referring to how his mom didnt get to see his dad like he did, and than he says "but im glad we talked" which means that he is glad that he got to talk to his dad before he died. so its a pretty deep song
    loganclark813on April 05, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOther tidbits on the mamasan tri . . .

    Eddie wrote thought up the trilogy while surfing in Pacific Beach. The Night Stalker was the big news at the time, which got Eddie to thinking what would get someone to go out and do such a thing. He create this storey which blends his dealings with not knowing his real father in Chicago (which he later got to know) and the undertakings of serial killers. The sexual feelings from the mother, to my knowledge, is added.

    My sources include the Rolling Stones storey back around 1992 (Eddie with mask on cover) and discussions with Eddie's brother Mike (went to high school with him in San Diego). Think this is a reasonable explaination.
    NPB_STYLEon January 22, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentfinally someone with some knowledge of the mamasan trilogie :) i believe it was first played by Pearl jam in 1992 in Zurich the trilogie that is
    flinkaflenkaflrskon January 15, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHave just read a book about Pearl Jam and apparently the song is an amalgam of a few things - a news story about a lad who went on a killing spree - and the part about the lad being told by his mother that the man he thought was his father actually isn't, is about Eddie Vedder. He found out who his biological father was only shortly before his father died.
    youngbloodon January 18, 2002   Link

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