Audioslave: Out of Exile Meaning
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Song Released: 2006
Out of Exile Lyrics
When I first came to this island
that I called by own name
I was happy in this fortress,
in my exile I remained
But the hours grew so empty
and the ocean sent her waves
In the figure of a woman
and she pulled me out to...
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I have to interpret Out of Exile as, more than anything, a narrative of Chris Cornell's life.
When he was growing up, Chris battled with severe depression. During that time, he went through deep isolation, spending a large span of time basically doing nothing but drinking and playing music. Even after becoming a successful musician, depression and social phobias plagued him. He pretty much expresses this feeling in the first 5 lines of the song.
If Chris's isolation is the island to which he refers, then perhaps society (or openness) is the ocean. "The ocean sent her waves in the figure of a woman" could best be interpreted as his meeting his second wife, Vicky Karayiannis. Perhaps in contrast to his first marriage, falling in love with her drew him out of the emotional isolation he felt trapped in.
The altar of a sunrise, the wedding in the waves, and the young life within her could quite easily be interpreted as his world beginning anew in this second marriage, and his rebirth into more emotional balance than he had before, and finally the conception of his second child in a less troublesome set of circumstances than his first.
"From her labor I was saved" would be a statement that until he experienced this post-reawakening parenthood, he had trouble ascribing meaning to his life.
I'd interpret the last verse, "Now the spires and the gables grow in orchards to the sky, and the blessings on my table multiply and divide" as follows: when he was alone, on his island, in his fortress, the towers (that is, the things he thinks of as important) seemed big, but they weren't alive and growing. Now that he's come out of his self-imposed exile, the things he holds dear are greater (growing to the sky) and more numerous (orchards of them, multiplying), and are alive and growing. Maybe the "divide" is the idea that his two children, or his new child and his wife divide his time and love?
I think interpreted this way, this song is simply an emotional trip through his life, treating his second marriage as the turning point at which he feels his whole life became joyful and meaningful.
I don't know quite how to make the chorus fit with the autobiographical interpretation though.
Wow, outstanding interpretation, Complich8!
I knew this was a deep and spiritual song. I have 2 ideas about the chorus. I do not think he is saying he wants to die.
1. When his new wife comes to make him whole, he wants his soul to go with her so he can leave his island fortress forever.
2. He is talking to God or the universe, saying that when his time comes, he wants to be sent to another life or world where he will not face this isolation again.
I think either of these fit with the song, and they only express a desire to live a better life, not just end the one he has.
anonymous Aug 14th 2013 report
I liked complich8's interpretation, I think perhaps the chorus is saying that when something happens that would make him retreat back into himself, i.e. a tragedy such as the death of his wife or child, he would rather die (send my soul away) than return to his self imposed exile.
anonymous Jul 18th 2006 report
The guy who talked about seeing cornell on tv is wrong. It had nothing to do with an addiction. I own the documentary and I've seen enough to know. The guy with the really long interpretation about the song being an emotional trip through his life using his recent marriage as a turning point is dead-on. Cornell said on the documentary that it was about being in his exile and meeting his wife and starting a family, which pulled him out of his exile.
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
At first glance, I thought this was about finding religion, but could it be about "finding god" in a more permanent way, such as suicide?
What is "this island"? Is it his body? His self? His state of mind? -"that I called by my own name" seems to suggest that it refers himself in some form or another...at one time he was happy as long as he kept his emotional guard up (fortress),isolated himself to avoid emotional pain, but got so lonely and tried to reach out and "a woman", (perhaps representing people in general), people hurt him and dragged him down into a deep depression.
chorus-"come down to take me home, send my soul away?" seems pretty obvious that this is the desire to die.
"altar of a sunrise"-this part is about the experience of death, "wedding in the waves"-maybe a metaphor for joining god in heaven?? "young light" is the light of god, "I was saved"-religious reference, going to heaven "though I've traveled long in darkness in her harvest I'm embraced"-been depressed and miserable for a long, long time but now his soul has been "harvested" and he is now safe with god.
"spires and the gables grow in orchards to the sky" he is at peace with his decision to committ suicide now that he is in heaven "and the blessings on my table multiply and divide"-he is thankful to be dead in heaven(multiply), but those he left behind are in turmoil about his choice to end his own life (divide).
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