All my rivals will see what I have in store
My gun
I've been harboring fleets in this reservoir
Red sun
And this nation's about to explode

Your disciples are riddled with metaphors
Better pony up and bring both your barrel fulls
Not one
As we release this unspeakable toll

How's our mother to damn these contributors
With mud?
How will the man who made chemicals difficult
Shed blood?
How's our father supposed to be told?

Lyrics submitted by Trent, edited by jaon

"Rival" as written by Stone C. Gossard

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Rival song meanings
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  • 0
    General Commentthis song is about makes reference to this in the lyric page in the album booklet. the first line is the most obvious allusion to it, the rest makes sense....mostly
    Lucif3ron July 28, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe columbine thing does make sense, especially with the parenthetical title of the song ("growing up gay in littleton", littleton colorado being the city in which columbine is located, if i'm not mistaken) as mentioned in the booklet. "barrels full" (as in the barrel of a gun, duh) , "unspeakable toll", etc, also make a case for that.

    this is one of my favorite songs.
    ninonon April 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIm pretty sure columbine was in middleton
    fortyfourand2on November 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDoes anyone have a clue to what Vedder is mumbling during the bridge of this song??
    JAKETHEDOGon August 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe correct lyrics are "All the stars and everyone", not "All the stars around the world."
    caca_volanteon October 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Rivals" (which opens with the growling of Blake's dog, Dakota) is a vengeful, ominous song that begins with the words, "All my rivals will see what I have in store."

    "I just came up with the riff and we played with that for a while," Gossard said. "I kind of saw it as a cartoon exploration of competition and paranoia and people's perspective on who's out to get them. I thought of relating that to how nations deal with each other and sort of push each other around.

    "And then while we were working on the album the whole Columbine High School tragedy happened and it started reflecting some of that stuff, too. So it just kind of has a weird mishmash of influences."

    “Supposed to be what the Columbine Killers were thinking the night before.”

    (Talking about the Binaural Head Mic) And the dog too, the dog barking right before Rival. It sounds like it's being panned back and forth really hardcore, that's just Tchad. He has a hold of the head, and he's shaking the head in front of his dog.
    Jeff O: That was Tchad's dog?
    Jeff A: Yeah.
    Jeff O: What's the dog's name?
    Jeff A: Dakota.
    Jeff O: Dakota. Dakota got a credit actually.
    Jeff A: Yeah, he did.
    STRANGELIFEon May 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always thought it was sort of thoughts from right before WWII from Japan's point of view because of the "red sun" line.
    009on August 17, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDouble-0 9: I live your interpretation. It fits perfectly. Especially later with the part about the man that made "chemicals difficult". Sounds like Oppenheimer and Hiroshima.
    Spotinthecloudson September 11, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is so sinister and evil. The slow gringing churn of the guitars reminds me of Not For You. But even nastier. The repeitive driving riff just sounds like the embodiment of insanity... almost makes me think of Dark Side of the Moon a little :P

    And the poetic scheme makes it sound like a child's riddle. Even more evil sounding.
    This used to be one of the few PJ songs I literally hated. But it grew on me.
    Tig45on February 19, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is definitely about Columbine. The first few lines point in that general direction but one of the key lines is "How will the man who made chemicals difficult shed blood". This is about killing the chemistry teacher. Also when I saw that interview with Stone saying it was from the perspective of the night before it all connected.
    Hanquanon June 17, 2016   Link

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