(You guys ready?)

Alone, listless
Breakfast table in an otherwise empty room
Young girl, violence
Center of her own attention
The mother reads aloud, child tries to understand it
Tries to make her proud
The shades go down, it's in her head
Painted room, can't deny there's something wrong

Don't call me daughter, not fit to
The picture kept will remind me
Don't call me daughter, not fit to
The picture kept will remind me
Don't call me

She holds the hand that holds her down
She will rise above, ooh, ooh

Don't call me daughter, not fit to
The picture kept will remind me
Don't call me daughter, not fit to
The picture kept will remind me
Don't call me daughter, not fit to
The picture kept will remind me
Don't call me daughter, not fit to
The picture kept will remind me
Don't call me

The shades go down
The shades go down
The shades go, go

Lyrics submitted by kevin, edited by noneyour, Supertramp09, sinrise

Daughter Lyrics as written by Eddie Vedder David Abbruzzese

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Daughter song meanings
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  • +10
    General CommentThis song is about dyslexia. In the early 90's this disorder wasnt well known and DAUGHTER is addressing the issue. "Mother reads aloud, child tries to understand, tries to make her proud." Her mother just blames her daughter's problems on a lack of will when instead it is something she cant help. She tries to please her mother but she cant and she doesnt feel fit to be called her daughter.
    hamjamon April 19, 2002   Link
  • +8
    General CommentIt is a song about child abuse and the different ways people hide from it. The mother denying that her child is being abused, the girl so messed up she cant think straight or learn, or fit in. But it is also about triumph. A similar sentiment as that in "Given to Fly". The daughter will rise above the horror being perperated on her by her father (abuser) and mother (pretending it isnt happening).

    Just because a man and woman are fertile and fuck, doesnt make them parents.
    thecrossboneon February 06, 2005   Link
  • +5
    General Commentthe meaning is that its a story of a girl who's abused by her mother, but the abuse has gotten so bad that the girl now actually beleives she is really to blame
    treestumpon December 16, 2001   Link
  • +5
    General Commentwell isnt the mom abusive cause the girl is dyslexic?
    ChrissyTinaon May 22, 2002   Link
  • +5
    General CommentWell, to me this has always been the story of an adopted daughter and her "mother". I can totally relate because I am that adopted daughter.


    (I always was and I always heard it as restless, not listless, which I always was restless)

    Breakfast table in an otherwise empty room
    Young girl, violins, center of her own attention

    (Because I was different than the other kids and had a learning disability, I had the faulty label of autistic put on me. Of course my mother always blamed that on my genes because they didn't come from her)

    Mother reads aloud child
    tries to understand her
    tries to make her proud

    (I was always trying to get her to love and accept me even though I wasn't her dream child and I wasn't the child she would have had with my father. I was always trying to be who she wanted me to be, not who I really was which was a product of my genetics)

    The shades go down it’s in her head
    Painted room, can’t deny, somethin’s wrong

    (The learning disability they said I always had when it was really that I learned differently than other kids, but there must be something "wrong" with me ya know. It was those birthmother genes.)

    Don’t call me daughter, not fair to
    The picture kept will remind me,
    Don’t call me daugher, not fit to
    The picture kept will remind me

    (I ain't your daughter and the one and only picture I had of my real mother will always remind me of that and give me comfort that maybe she would accept me as I was. She wasn't fit to call me her daughter.)

    Don’t call me….
    She holds that hand that holds her down
    She will rise above

    (She always did hold me down because I wasn't her perfect child that the adoption agency promised she would get)

    btw I found my real mother and she can call me daughter anytime she wants to. She's fit to.
    Adopteeon March 20, 2005   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThis is about child abuse... some parents will keep it going as long as they can. I think this is about emotional abuse because of the violin reference. This is the worst type because it's hard to prove. Some parents will go to great lengths to keep this hidden. The really sick ones will even have their kids diagnosed with a mental illness they don't have when a therapist diagnoses their daughter with another disorder caused by severe child abuse. Unfortunately, this girl was a lot smarter then they were and knew how to play their bullshit games better then them? Maybe. Perhaps the painted room part is talking about how their parents locked her away in a room for 7 months with no outside contact while they drugged her to the point where she had to be immediately taken off all the drugs because they were literally killing her... however, the parents deny it all the way... and kept pushing the pills. Maybe this girl got lucky and was able to stand on her own two feet and escape at the end. 7 months gives a person a lot of time to plan things.
    perhapspsychologyon December 30, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentFirst of all, its not
    "not fair to"
    "not fit to"
    and it is violins and not violence
    ChrissyTinaon February 06, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI always thought it was about child abuse.
    rayswife96on May 13, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOk, I don't know where wikipedia got its quotation entry from Mr. Vedder, but let me tell you he would be the first to say the song is left up to YOU to interpret. Hence, no video's for Pearl Jam. Now, I never have looked at the dyslexia angle before, but I will say I am open to it and can see it in the song. However, I don't think the entire song is about dyslexia. I believe the song is about child abuse. Plain and simple. And Rearviewmiror is about running away or getting away from it.
    nitzlflickon August 26, 2008   Link
  • +2
    Song Meaning
    I fully agree that this song is about Child abuse, specifically of a girl with a learning disability. But I think I have a slightly different spin on it. The thing is as we all know Eddie Vedder and the other members of Pearl Jam tend to write ambiguous lyrics that can have many possible meanings. One can interpret many of the words for multiple metaphors. So different interpretations are probably correct. This is very different from say Ray Davies of the Kinks story telling song style. Continuing, the disability most commonly sited is dyslexia. And that is a good and obvious choice. But it is not the first one that I thought of. Note “Mother reads aloud child tries to understand it”. Dyslexia is the inability to read or a difficulty with reading, not an inability to understand being read to. In fact from being a teacher myself at one time I know that reading to a dyslexic child is often the only way they can understand text or printed material (until they get special help to develop reading skills). Therefore I propose a different disorder, namely ADD. “Young girl, violins(ce), center of her own attention…”, “The shades go down it's in her head…”, “Painted room, can't deny, somethin's wrong…”. I know from having ADHD myself that we easily get distracted by nearly everything in our environment, sounds, sights, and often get lost in our own thoughts as novel things around us remind us of other things or ideas and we lose track of what we originally were doing. ADD/ADHD often coexist with Dyslexia. Noticing novelty or differences in things can be good, and why many scientists have had ADD/ADHD and Dyslexia. Noting the same lyric lines, especially “…center of her own attention…”, and “The shades go down it's in her head…” and “The picture kept will remind me…”, one could think of yet a more serious condition such as Autism. Autistic children tend to fixate or obsess on things — they usually seem as if in their own world. And because Autistic children are often difficult to raise or even interact with as they have delayed language skills among other symptoms, they are sadly often abused.

    Oddly a form of Autism called Asperger's syndrome is a type of pervasive development disorder (PDD). PDDs are a group of conditions that involve delays in the development of many basic skills, most notably the ability to socialize with others, to communicate, and to use imagination — they tend to be literal. Although Asperger's syndrome is similar in some ways to autism -- another, more severe type of PDD -- there are some important differences. Children with Asperger's syndrome typically function better than do those with autism. In addition, children with Asperger's syndrome generally have normal intelligence and near-normal language development, although they may develop problems communicating as they get older. Some high functioning people with Asperger’s are savants at a particular single skill such as music or math. Many people feel that Microsoft’s Bill Gates has Asperger’s.

    Sorry if this seems like a discussion of child development and psychiatry, but Pearl Jams does seem to be concerned with children and child abuse a lot. Note the early songs Daughter, Alive, Jeremy. From what I’ve read Eddie did come from an abusive home. Interestingly child abuse and youth anger seem to be common topics in Alternative Rock songs by other bands too. Note The Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana and even the New Wave band R.E.M. But only Pearl Jam knows what this song truly is about. Perhaps someday they will put out a book explaining all their songs. Actually, R.E.M. has such a book about themselves.
    Mike1954on August 14, 2010   Link

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