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Alive
Pearl Jam Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

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

Overall Meaning

The lyrics to Pearl Jam's "Alive" tell a complex story of a young man who learns that the man he believed to be his father was not really his biological father. The song's protagonist learns this at age thirteen from his mother, who reveals the truth on her deathbed. The lyrics allude to the young man's confusion and shock at the revelation, as well as his struggle to come to terms with his identity and past.


The song's opening lines are particularly powerful, as they reveal that the young man's sense of self and familial connection has been upended. The phrase "What you thought was your daddy/was nothin' but a" leaves a pause that emphasizes the weight of this truth. The lyrics that follow recount the specific circumstances of the young man's discovery: his real father was dying while he was at home alone at age thirteen.


The lyrics then take a turn toward the present, as the singer reflects on his current state of being. Pearl Jam's lead singer, Eddie Vedder, sings "Oh, I'm still alive" several times, which can be seen as a triumphant declaration. This refrain is repeated throughout the song, emphasizing the importance of simply surviving, particularly in the face of unexpected or difficult truths. The song ends with a melancholy note, as the singer grapples with questions of worthiness and who has the authority to judge it.


Overall, "Alive" delivers a complex story of self-discovery, reflection, and survival. Its lyrics paint a vivid picture of a specific moment in a young man's life, but its themes of identity, family, and mortality resonate more broadly. As such, this song has become one of Pearl Jam's most enduring and beloved tracks.


Line by Line Meaning

Son, she said
The song's protagonist's mother opens by telling him a story.


Have I got a little story for you
The mother is excited and eager to share her tale.


What you thought was your daddy
The singer's mother reveals that the man the singer has assumed to be his father is not his biological father.


Was nothin' but a
The mother trails off and doesn't finish her statement, implying that the father was not an important figure.


While you were sittin'
The mother begins describing events from the artist's past.


Home alone at age thirteen
The singer was home alone at thirteen years old, perhaps indicating an absentee mother.


Your real daddy was dyin'
The man who was the singer's biological father was dying while the singer remained oblivious.


Sorry you didn't see him
The mother expresses regret at the fact that the artist never met his biological father before he died.


But I'm glad we talked
The mother is still glad that she was able to share this news with the artist.


Oh, I, oh, I'm still alive
The artist affirms that he is still alive despite discovering this news.


Hey, I, oh, I'm still alive
The singer repeats his affirmation, perhaps hinting at surprise at his continued existence despite this revelation.


Hey, I, oh, I'm still alive, hey, oh
The artist continues to repeat the affirmation, possibly to reassure himself or to convince himself of this new reality.


While she walks slowly
The mother is still present in the room, and the singer is still processing her news.


Across a young man's room
The mother is in the singer's room, making the revelation even more personal and immediate.


She said I'm ready, for you
The mother is ready to answer any questions or discuss the news further with the singer.


Why I can't remember anything
The artist confesses that he can't remember much from his past.


To this very day
The artist still can't remember important details of his past, suggesting that the news from his mother may have stirred up complicated emotions.


'Cept the look, the look
The singer remembers a particular look, perhaps hinting at trauma or abuse in his past.


Oh, you know where
The singer knows exactly what look and what memory he is referring to.


Now I can't see, I just stare
The artist has been so impacted by this memory that he can no longer fully function in the present moment.


Is something wrong?
The mother senses that something is amiss with the artist.


She said
The mother persists in wanting to help the artist process his emotions.


Of course there is
The singer acknowledges that there is, in fact, something troubling him.


You're still alive
The mother may be attempting to comfort the artist by reminding him that he is still alive and capable of moving forward.


Oh, do I deserve to be?
The singer begins a deep dive into existential questions about his own self-worth and why he is still alive.


Is that the question?
The singer acknowledges that this question is perhaps the crux of his emotional struggle.


And if so, if so
The singer muses about the potential answers to this question.


Who answers?
The artist ultimately admits that he does not have an answer and is still seeking one out.


I, oh, I'm still alive
The artist returns to his affirmation that he is still alive despite his emotional turmoil.


Hey, I, oh, I'm still alive
The singer repeats the affirmation to help himself stay grounded in reality and keep moving forward.


Hey, I, oh, I'm still alive
The singer stresses again that he is still alive, emphasizing his survival despite hardship.


Hey, I
The artist repeats the phrase as a way of stemming the overwhelming emotions and staying focused on the present.


Oh, I'm still alive
The artist concludes the song with a final affirmation of his enduring survival.


Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
The artist repeats a celebration of his survival and perseverance.


Oh, yeah oh, ooh oh, yeah, oh
The singer repeats the same sentiment of celebration and perseverance, potentially with even greater intensity and emotion.


Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
The artist concludes the song with a final repetition of his affirmation of survival.




Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
Written by: Stone C. Gossard, Eddie Jerome Vedder

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
To comment on or correct specific content, highlight it

Most interesting comments from YouTube:

@playswith_squirrels

LYRICS IF YOU WANNA KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON :)

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
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



@whniwsyrsndtrck3279

1993. I'm 10 years old, and I'm just getting home from school one spring afternoon. My mom's younger sister, my Aunt Diane is sitting in the living room, and I'm a bundle of joy in seeing my aunt in the first place but low & behold she brought with her something special.

She'd gone to Music Plus+ when I was in school, and came back with a brand new copy of Pearl Jam's debut Ten. I tore open the packaging, popped the CD into the stereo, and was taken away to a better world with the first riff from this very song.

That's possibly one of the happiest memories of my life.

In 1997, I lost my mother to cancer when I was only 15...my aunt hasn't spoken to me since I was 23 because of a falling out over my leaving the church of Jehovah's Witnesses. That was a decade ago.

Fuck I love this song. It fills me with life, and with hope.



@GamerPhilosophy

RIP Andy Wood 1966-1990
RIP Kurt Cobain 1967-1994
RIP Shannon Hoon 1967-1995
RIP Layne Staley 1967-2002
RIP Scott Weiland 1967-2015
RIP Chris Cornell 1964-2017
RIP Mark Lanegan 1964-2022

Protect Eddie Vedder at all cost!!!



@liamgaming6156

"Alive"


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

Oh, she walks slowly, across a young man's room
She said I'm ready...for you
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, but, I'm still alive
Hey I, boy, I'm still alive
Hey I, I, I, I'm still alive, yeah
Ooh yeah...yeah yeah yeah...oh...oh

Is something wrong, she said
Well of course there is
You're still alive, she said
Oh, and 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, but, I'm still alive
Yeah I, ooh, I'm still alive
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah



@sorryitsmoops

@@XxBlackPathxX Nah it's definitely the look.

"This verse is fictional and not based on Vedder’s personal experience. In a 1993 interview with Rolling Stone, Vedder revealed that she refers to the mother, and the look is not the look on the mother’s face. As Vedder put it:

The look is between her legs. Where do you go with that? That’s where you came from."

The mother is making a very memorable come on to the son. It is not every day a mother shows her son that look. Further, she is requesting that he penetrate the very birth canal that gave him life.

Vedder elaborates:

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." "



@PackTails

The All Time Top 5 Grunge lead singers.

Kurt Cobain, Nirvana - 1967-1994
Layne Staley, Alice In Chains - 1967-2002
Scott Weiland, Stone Temple Pilots - 1967-2015
Chris Cornell, Soundgarden - 1964-2017
Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam - 1964 - Still Alive!

Grunge was the Last Great Hurrah of Rock n' Roll!



All comments from YouTube:

@iamtriston666

This songs hits different when you realize that Eddie is the only lead singer of the big 4 of grunge that is still alive.

@babydoll8165

@Process Damaged haha

@bobfg3130

The Big 4 of Grunge?

@copycatdragon

@@bobfg3130 pearl jam, aic, nirvana, soundgarden

@iamtriston666

@@bobfg3130 yeah just like there's a big four of thrash metal there's a big four of grunge Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and lastly but not least Pearl Jam.

@tjyouman5282

What about STP?

310 More Replies...

@tabernaclejones6115

5 years sober from heroin. Today I am employed and insured. This song makes me grateful I changed my life around before it was too late, and gives me hope for those that haven't chosen the same path yet. I have 8 friends/loved ones that I was on a day to day speaking basis for a while at one point in my life with, that have died from drugs.

@misterf2923

gz, sober from heroin and cocain for 20 years, just because i did'nt have a chance to buy it...still in the addiction (pyschologic), it's ruining my life (the desire to "feel" something") Congrats to u

@kumikor3392

I may not know you, but I'm proud of your continuous victory over addiction. I hope you always know that someone believes you deserve freedom from it. Be safe and take care

@pineda29365

you are amazing its hard to get clean for this amount of time

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