What does I Am the Highway mean?

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Audioslave: I Am the Highway Meaning

Song Released: 2004

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I Am the Highway Lyrics

Pearls and swine bereft of me
Long and weary my road has been
I was lost in the cities
Alone in the hills
No sorrow or pity
For leaving i feel

I am not your rolling wheels
I am a highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Jun 25th 2014 report

    This song is a perspective of a dead man at his funeral. He is looking at the people gathered at his funeral and addresses them as "Pearls and Swine" and "Friends and liars" " bereft of me".
    He looks back at his life as lonely and lost. He says that he feels no sorrow or pity at leaving, suggesting that he may have committed suicide. But this is not conclusive.
    Now, in death, he is not an actor but an observer. He is not something dynamic like rolling wheels or flying carpet but something static and something too great in magnitude like the highway and the sky itself.
    Perhaps because he was very unhappy in life or because he committed suicide, he is roaming the earth in damnation and is looking for salvation. In this process, he has walked millions of miles. This might be similar to the Marley's Ghost in Christmas Carol.
    Now that he is dead and ethereal, he has got nothing but walk, observe the surrounding and reflect upon his deeds in life. In death he is something far greater than he was ever in his life. He is the lighting. He is the part of darkness that spans the entire horizons. He is the night.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Sep 29th 2011 report

    For me the meaning of "I am not your rolling wheels, I am the highway" is that he's not just a tool to be used to get somewhere, he's the one who allows you to do it but you must do it yourself.

    This is echo'd by the carpet ride/sky comparison.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Apr 23rd 2012 report

    its about tired of being used, you are done, your friends and liars are the same.i think it is one person, a lover. you were there for them and you gave them everything and they just screwed you over so you said f'it, i am gone and you cant find me because i keep moving, i am trying hard to get away but i still feel too close to you,its not a good thing. i want to shake you off, like dust and forget you. i am bigger, better and stronger than you and i just realized it....

  4. anonymous
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    Apr 1st 2022 report

    In this song, I don’t think he was speaking religiously. “Pearls and swine bereft of me” expresses the sadness of having something or someone who is a “pearl.” Perhaps he is speaking of himself. The term “pearls before swine,” to me, means that people often overlook or take for granted the jewel that lies before them. They are blind to it. To be bereft (of a person) means to be sad and lonely, in this case feeling invisible perhaps. Or taken for granted; hence the “no sorrow or pity” from others upon one’s departure, by choice or by death. So when he writes “I am not your rolling wheels, I am the highway” I think it is the first of many examples that follow but grow in intensity in the delivery of the message that’s not heard. So he is not simply one’s rolling wheels USED to quench whatever need, but “I am the highway.” He is so much bigger and endless than a mode of transportation. He is the earth, he is the facilitator of other peoples needs but goes unappreciated or noticed. Same with the carpet ride. He’s the fkn SKY! See me. “I am not your blowing wind, I am the lightning.” Again, begging, see me for all that I am. Then, even bigger and more intensely, “I am not your autumn moon, I am the night.” A person is busy paying attention to only a fragment of what the whole of this person is. HE IS THE NIGHT. And he’s tired. And he’s sad. And he’s unseen. He’s exhausted from everything and everyone. Even those he loves and maybe wants to be close to but doesn’t know how. “And still too close to you I feel.”

    This song sinks a dagger into my heart every time I hear it. If I were to write a song about not being seen or heard or understood by those you care most about, and no one is listening to how BIG and DEEP your emotions run - like they can’t even comprehend - even if they stopped for a second to try - this would be that song. It hurts to be those pearls.

    Anyway. That’s my take.

    — Pearl

  5. anonymous
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    Oct 4th 2021 report

    It is about the life of Jesus he was bereft of worldly goods he wondered the hills and cities spreading his words he was not sad for dying so leaving to save mankind of sin. He can not take you to heaven but he is the highway to it

  6. anonymous
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    Feb 23rd 2019 report

    I am not your catalyst
    I am a conduit

  7. anonymous
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    Apr 19th 2018 report

    Yes I believe this is about Jesus, saying he will help you through everything. I am not your rolling wheel I am the highway, I believe he is saying I’m the way, which he is. It all makes sense. Read The Way.

  8. anonymous
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    Feb 3rd 2018 report

    Love the song . Thank you Chris for sharing your talent with us. A true poet at heart <3

  9. anonymous
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    Jul 27th 2017 report

    to me, it feels like he is saying something like now he is dead, he is not an object to be used. Sad really, because it also seems like he first needs to die and become the sky, in order to free himself and not be an object to others

  10. anonymous
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    Jun 7th 2017 report

    I also believe that it comes from the perspective of having left this world and becoming aware. I've always thought of my daughter's father who passed away when I hear this song. Also, the people who perceive the lyrics as godly are right as well, for He is indeed the "highway, sky, night, etc." Just my 2 cents!

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  11. anonymous
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    May 18th 2017 report

    Sadly, the singer and writer of this song Chris Cornell died yesterday May 17, 2017.
    I used to listen to this song years ago and coincidentally was driving along the highways out west with my ex beside me.
    I'll always recall those nights under the moon and the open roads of the west. Just us being us.
    I'm glad I never experienced that with anyone else. We did that a few times, just traveling together when we could. He'd say, "Come on teddy we're taking a road trip again!" And laugh out loud.
    It's made me aware of the fact that the best times with a person, the true bonding happens when you can just BE.
    No words, no arguing. Just BE.
    May Chris Cornell Rest In Peace he was a wonderful artist. I listened to the song today and you can hear the pain in his voice. Without a doubt he had a gift and he shared it with the world. For that, I'm thankful.

  12. anonymous
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    Mar 11th 2017 report

    My opinion: its about setting the record straight, whether you voice it out loud or not. Others continuously underestimate your capabilities/worth, but inside you know with certainty that you are more powerful than it appears on the surface.

  13. anonymous
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    Dec 29th 2016 report

    About the struggles you have been through.how tired you are of life and the life is to hard for you to figure out.and you are going to look at it from the other side.which is death

  14. anonymous
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    Sep 19th 2016 report

    Somehow I was unable to break through as to who I was... Well "WE" are J❤️W!!!... Not anonymous at all. Chris Cornell is the f-ing man. So many lame asses say silly crap as it pertains to lyrics meanings. I did find this forum very amusing though. Loved the Jesus interp.'s and the "too good" girl interp's ... Very thoughtful and its enlightening to hear all. It's funny though when trying to encrypt lyrics. The only person who knows the true meaning is the man..., of woman who wrote the poem. ...And of course anyone whom they chose to express those feelings or meanings with. I like to interpret lyrics how they make me feel at the moment. Whose right or wrong is in and of itself only interpretation... Great song Cornell!!! Your performance of the song is phenomenal!!! ...always. Who cares what these, or ourselves for that matter, think what you were thinking when you wrote the song. It's a great song when it inspires emotion.. And judging from this forum I stumbled upon, apparently that's happening. Keep on keeping on. Peace to all... Lol

  15. anonymous
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    Sep 5th 2016 report

    Possibly about being sick and tired of being owned by your record label and also tired of the downside of success in the music business.

  16. anonymous
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    Jul 5th 2016 report

    You all realize arguing over this is not so smart....right?
    The song has no reference to individual meaning, by fighting you're all doing the opposite of what the lyrics suggest.
    You're all right. The song was left wide open for interpretation, it's bigger than your own personal meaning,it's everyone's meaning.
    The lyrics in this song invoke emotion, they pull out the things that are holding you down, it's not meant to have 1 meaning it's meant to have many.
    It's what you feel, it's how you perceive.
    The song labels that the simple things you see are actually much bigger.
    Don't argue someone else's point of view because songs like these are meant to make you feel, to bring out your pain and to release it.
    Stop being the rolling wheels, the carpet ride, the blowing wind, the autumn moon.
    Start being the highway, the sky, the lighting, the night.

    Stop arguing and leave the sorrow and pity behind, leave the pearls, the swine, leave the confusing cities, leave the lonely hills,leave the friends and the liars.

    Be your own you. You've traveled far too long, you've fought too many fights to hold on so close.

    Escape it all and be you. Make your own meaning.

    You're all right. Listen. He's telling you in emotion. To be yourself no matter what holds you back, no matter what anyone says. If jesus let's you be you, that's your meaning, if letting go of toxic relationship let's you be you, that's your meaning, if being more let's you be you, that's your meaning.

    MANY artists do this. Just listen. Let it mean what feels right to you. No one is wrong.

  17. anonymous
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    May 8th 2016 report

    The person that said this was the point of view of Jesus is correct. Chris Cornell has talked about it many times. Everyone else is wrong I am sorry to say.

    To the person that apparently likes to insult others beliefs, well....open your mind a bit. Religious beliefs are a millenia of family history, heritage and culture's from all over the world. Try to see past your nose.

  18. anonymous
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    Oct 8th 2015 report

    I am not sure if the song is about one specific subject. Perhaps, it is written about a concept of unifying. I'm not your rolling wheel, carpet ride, autumn moon ECT. He is always the separated item sky, highway, night, lighting. Idk perhaps, he is not a possession.

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