What does Something In the Way mean?

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Nirvana: Something In the Way Meaning

Song Released: 1991

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Something In the Way Lyrics

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Underneath the bridge
The tarp has sprung a leak
And the animals I’ve trapped
Have all become my pets
And I’m living off of grass
And the drippings from the ceiling
It’s okay to eat fish
’cause they don’t have any...


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    Feb 15th, 2006 2:29am report

    The impression I got from the lyrics and the way they were used in this song is, that the song is about motivation.(or the lack of)

    He's living under a bridge(whether he really did or not the song is written with him in such a position)

    Each line is one of many thoughts running through his head some don't make sense others are just focused on the negativity of the situation. but they give us the impression that he is not quite right in the head.

    "Something in the way" is a thought, somethings stopping him from changing his current situation, himself?, police? his family? outside pressures?, maybe all of them.

    Short and simple, beautiful.

    True art is not what you were given but the way it gets interpreted, this is a perfect example. Mr. Cobain's meaning we may never know but we are all attracted to it for our own reasons.



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    Oct 31st, 2005 10:49pm report

    Mister kurt-cobain, was it?

    Look, actually, you're wrong. Cobain living under a bridge was a fabricated story that he's told so many times. He never lived in the Wishkah Bridge. Kurt had a problem with interchangable personalities. He fabricated the story, and it came a natural classic. One of my favorite songs though.

    "Something In The Way," is a song of emptiness, and the realization that the "Something In The Way" that Cobain discusses actually symbolizes himself as being that "Something."


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    Dec 18th, 2005 12:06pm report

    Something in the Way which can be interpreted in three levels. On the surface the simplest and consequently least correct explanation is as a jumble of stream of consciousness ramblings or a hallucinogenic drug trip.

    The second level of interpretation reveals the lyrics to be a mockery of liberal justifications in general, expressing the errors and contradictions inherent in any set of justifications. Lyrics such as "And the animals I've trapped/Have all become my pets" seem to speak of the transparent justifications from the perspective of animal rights supporters who own pets yet vociferously declare that all animals should be free of human exploitation. Later the lyrics mock the justification of vegetarians who eat fish with "But it's ok to eat fish/Cause they don't have any feelings". There lyrics here take the voice of a pretentious teen who is explaining his incoherence to others without any awareness of what he is admitting.

    Finally, the third and most interesting level of interpretation is that of using liberalism as pure metaphor. Here "And the animals I've trapped/Have all become my pets" refers to mutually needy relationships ("trapped") between mostly thoughtless, directionless, unrefined humans ("animals") in which the attention and care required to shield them from life means they live in a sheltered reality much like pets. Similarly abstract, the interpretation of "And I'm living off of grass/ And the drippings from the ceiling/But it's ok to eat fish/Cause they don't have any feelings" becomes a general unconscious confession of how a person's needs can cause them to justify anything that compromises reason and integrity.


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    Jun 9th, 2016 6:53pm report

    I don't think he enjoyed being a part of the human race and realizing there wasn't anything he could do to change the common ideology of society or escape it..


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    Sep 27th, 2015 9:17am report

    Everyone is right on their own interpretation of this song and others Curt wrote. It's not always about the words it's song and emotion... (tesla) a picture is worth a thousand words. Couple dozen of his are worth a thousand movies.



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    May 9th, 2012 5:17pm report

    I dont know if my interpretation has any validity as im only a 17 year old kid, but ill go line by line:
    "underneath the bridge" is a reference to the comfort he feels when he is hidden from society and feels exempt from the pressures of the world. He feels distant and cant connect or fit into the machine of the world, so instead of trying he will attempt to escape it under a bridge where no one else is and where he is completely free from any pressures.

    "the tarp has sprung a leak" may be kurts way of saying that the front he puts up to people and the world to try to fitin and trying to hide that something is wrong with him (depression, personality disorder, whatever it may be) is finally breaking and has "sprung a leak" which can only get larger until the entire tarp has ripped and he cant continue to put up his front and ultimately kill himself...

    "and the animals ive trappes have all become my pets" can be viewed as irrelevant, but may also continue on the previous point that he doesn't feel he can make freinds and connect to people, so instead of trying he will simply trap "animals" and force them to be his "pets" because he feels lonely and sees no other method to find companionship or friendship.

    "and im living off of grass and the drippings from the ceiling" seems clealry to be about marijuana being the only release and happiness he feels due to himself being driven to hating the world as it is. the high he gets off the weed releases him from his own self as this sensation occurs from getting high. the drippings may simply refer to him attempting to live off anything and looking for anything to help him because he knows that he finds pleasure in so little things which also can refer to another line from his song 'all apologies': "i wish i was like you, easily amused" where he feels he has to try so much harder to find the joy that seems to come to others so easily.

    "but its ok to eat fish, because they dont have any feelings" i think this might be kurts way of wishing he was a fish that was absent of feelings or emotion because he is so confused and so annoyed with his own feelings and emotions that he wishes he could completely escape them.

    the "something in the way" is just his way of saying that there is some unknown reason why he feels this way as there is literally something in his way from finding happines and peace of mind. This is why his entire nevermind album is about how he hates society. However, the unfortunate thing is is that the 'something' was probably his own self :(.

    Once again, this may be comepltely wrong and innacurate but its my own interpretation of a complicated and deep song-writer


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    Dec 22nd, 2011 12:45pm report

    For me,when I listen to the song,I think that maybe it could symbolise adolesence.I can deffinately relate to the title 'Something in the way' and I think that it is a feeling that we all have at oe point or another.


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    May 20th, 2011 5:47pm report

    I think all of you are wrong he wasnt meaning the things in the song to be taken literally... "underneath the bridge" meant the under goers of life... " the top has sprung a leak and the animals ive trapped they all become my pets".. there ran by people who are in control im living off of grass meant weed and the drippings from the ceiling meant heroin that how you make it is from plaster... its okay to eat fish cause they dont have any feelings comes from an old sang the worlds a big fish bowl and he's saying that they think its okay to treat us like shit cause were nobodies


    Jon Pearce
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    May 14th, 2011 5:09pm report

    I read the suicide note by Cobain and how he didn't relish the applause and fame like Freddie Mercury did. He was through "pretending" and wished that he desired praise. Cobain appeared to sing from the heart with true authenticity.
    The "eating grass" thing and eating fish because they "don't have feelings," after he sings about his domesticated or "trapped" animals, appears to mock the "Noble Savage" philosophy that many Vegetarians have today. There is no real way to completely be immersed in nature without being insensitive or even brutal to some forms of animal life.


    Jon Pearce
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    May 14th, 2011 5:03pm report

    I read the suicide note by Cobain and how he didn't relish the applause and fame like Freddie Mercury did. He was through "pretending" and wished that he desired praise. Cobain appeared to sing from the heart with true authenticity.
    The "eating 'thing and eating fish because they "don't have feelings," after he sings about his domesticated or "trapped" animals,


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    Jan 24th, 2011 1:55pm report

    I think the song isn't literal.It is sort of a metaphor for feeling alone in the world, and feeling depressed without any hope.
    "Underneath the bridge,the animals i have trapped have all become my pets. I'm living off of grass and the drippings from the ceiling" I think being under the bridge is like being an outsider to everyone else.The animals that have been trapped and have become pets are like the relationships with people that just feel empty and strung along. And living off of grass and the drippings from the ceiling is like telling yourself to carry on because of the little bits of hope you get, but no matter how much you carry on there is something in the way, something making you feel outside from everyone else.


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    Jan 9th, 2011 1:31pm report

    I don't know if he lived under the bridge or not, I don't think he did, Krist said he didn't, but that's not the point.
    The song is about how he feels there's always something in the way of him being happy. When he says, 'It's ok to eat fish, 'cos they don't have any feelings' he's being sarcastic, because he sympathized with them.
    And grass, literally means grass, not marajuana. Whether he lived under the bridge or not, the fact that he could get so many people to believe he did just shows his talent as a writer, and the power of his lyrics.


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    Apr 16th, 2010 4:03pm report

    DOOGLE. Lithium isn't an anti depressant, it's a "mood" stabelizer. Anti depressants are like SSRIs, or Selective seritonin reuptake inhibitors.

    Any who, something in the way means nothing. Perhaps those who think they know what it's about have "something in the way".

    Free your minds and let it be.


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    Nov 1st, 2009 11:17pm report

    Kurt used to go down to a bridge and apparently according to my brother he had an imaginary friend,the bloke was a creep. Favourite song of all time!


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    Oct 15th, 2009 10:25pm report

    From what I heard, Kurt had actually "lived" underneath a bridge over a river call Wishkah River during his younger years when his mom kicked him out and he could find no where else to stay. You can see how the lyrics can form then. Though, Krist did mention that is was impossible to live under there with the high tides going up and down. But, Krist also said he used to hang around there.


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    Jul 26th, 2009 7:12am report

    I'm not going to get into it. I personally was raised in Aberdeen.

    "Underneath the bridge" obvious
    "Tarp has sprung a leak" again obvious

    "And the animals I've trapped have all become my pets"

    This is where it gets crazy. Kurt Cobain had a dog named female German Shepard named Poly. The dog was mistreated and taken away from him at the age of nine. This was a very difficult thing for him at such a young age, and he never forgave his parents to this day. He was merely saying while alone he would pretend to have nowhere to go. He would catch animals thinking to eat them but never could bring himself to it and became attached.

    "Living off of grass"

    He very often smoked marijuana to help forget about the world (it wasn't horrible for him or anything but something made him feel less apart of the world than anyone else for some reason)

    "And the drippings from the ceiling"

    If anyone has been to that bridge you've seen the water. We actually used to push kids in it on the way back from school (which I do not condone. Try living with it). Kurt would not drink the water so he would drink water collected from the tarps, obviously.

    "It's okay to eat fish, cause I don't have any feelings."

    This is simply (and I'm sorry to crush your dreams) battle of the munchies. He once was hungry to the point that he caught a small fish, after having said he could never hurt an animal. He ate the fish and never forgave himself for it. This is understandable because he was in a lot of self pity and began to blame himself for all the problems he had with at home. He ate the fish because he felt he wasn't himself.

    "something in the way"

    He is referring to "something" as his true self saying it wasn't right to harm something.

    Sometimes he would cry when the subject of animal hunting. The thought of an animal being put on this earth, and it's whole life going by so precisely, to be at the exact place and at the exact moment of it's death by a hunter.

    This is all just what I know. I really would hate to crush your interpretations but I watched this song happen. I apologize sincerely.


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    Apr 19th, 2009 4:46pm report

    He is talking about teenage struggles of being homeless. He is talking about the everyday problems that teens face with find their place in the world


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    Jan 22nd, 2009 1:42pm report

    It was a story Kurt made up about a man who was living under that same bridge. Yes, it was unlivable, but when he was homeless, he used to go down there to hang out all the time. In the story the man literally has nothing, so he's trapping animals to eat, but then he becomes emotionally attatched to them, so he can't bear to kill them for food. "Living off of grass" indicates that he can't really find anything else to eat, so he's eating the grass and weeds that grow everwhere, and he's drinking the water that drips off from the ceiling. "Its okay to eat fish, cause they don't have any feelings", this means that he was having a moral dillema, but because this man thinks they don't have any feelings, he doesn't feel as bad about eating them for food.

    Other than that, I think it was just a story, and a slight introspective look on Cobain's psyhology.

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