What does Alive mean?

Pearl Jam: Alive Meaning

Album cover for Alive album cover

Song Released: 1991

Alive Lyrics

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 didnt see him, but Im glad we talked...

Oh i, oh, Im...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Jul 11th 2006 !⃝

    I watched Eddie explain what the song was abou on VH1 Storytellers last week. He said that the story was about him. When he was 16, his mother told him that the man he thought was his father his whole life really wasn't. And that three years ago, when he was 13, his real father died. Eddie didn't understand why his father was dead and he was the one who was still alive. The chorus, "I'm still alive" wasn't a positive thing. He meant it to mean that he didn't understand why he was still alive. Like, why am I here if my father isn't?


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Oct 16th 2011 !⃝

    To start this interpretation you really should begin with Eddie's life..
    Eddie's mother was married to his biological father but they split up when he was just a young baby. She remarried another man and Eddie grew up thinking that he was the father. Being a mother concerned for her child's innocence, she didn't tell Eddie the truth. But one day she confessed that the man Eddie thought was his father was actually not and that Eddie's real father, a man he always thought to be just an old family friend, was actually his father and that he had died years before.
    Eddie took these parts of his life and created a story (It's actually in 3 parts)..
    This part is the story of a kid who, much like Vedder, found out that the man he thought was his father wasn't and that his real dad had died years before. His mother was stricken with guilt and began to see the biological father's face in her son so she began a sexual relation (possible abuse) with her son. The "I'm still alive" part isn't happy and a 'yeah! I'm gonna make it just fine!' tribute line it's actually a curse that's filled with guilt.
    The other 2 parts are apparently about how the man grows up to become a serial killer who eventually is sent to death row and executed.
    This is the story I've always know.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Jan 17th 2007 !⃝

    I seen Eddie Vedder explain this on Vhi Classic a while back. He said the song is actually a little pessimistic. It is indeed about isuues in his life. But doesn't almost every artist put a little of themselves in each song? It's a formula most musicians like to use. Your not unique if you steel someone elses train of thought. He said the song is a curse. And that curse is being lifted off of him and the band that the fans are listening. The song sounds indeed "alive", but it's as I said earlier, revival of life.
    That's just what I've heard. Enjoy!

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 12th 2022 !⃝

    For me the lyrics implicitly say that his father was either a drunk or someone that was never there. When his mother says your father was nothing but a.... sounds like something bad that she decided not to tell, and limited her explanation to saying he was dead and avoid saying bad things about him to her son.

  5. anonymous
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    Jun 10th 2021 !⃝

    He found out that his real father had died...but he is still alive and has to heal. I read that the band made "I'm still alive" lighter and happier for Vedder. He was a teenager when his mother told him. Must have been hard, especially for a boy going through puberty.

  6. anonymous
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    Dec 15th 2007 !⃝

    The song is pretty much about eddie when he was younger when it starts off, he does tell a story that's not entirely about him. It is in the mamsun trilogy and it WAS a curse. eddie explained it was a curse because he was screaming out I'm alive in a negative way, meaning why am I still here. but because all of the true pearl jam fans sang it and loved not only the song, but the band as well the curse was lifted and it became a positive song.

  7. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 14th 2007 !⃝

    I think this song talks about: how one would want to escape a situation they don't want to be in?.....Go straight to the heart of it, that's how. Fight your way through, win!

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  8. anonymous
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    Apr 9th 2006 !⃝

    This song is basically about a 13 year old boy who finds out his father is not who he thinks he is but another man. The boy grows up to look like his biological father and gets sexually abused by his mother because of it. This song is part of the "Mamasan Trilogy" which includes once- about the boy becoming a serial killer because of the abuse and footsteps which is about the boy awaiting his death sentence in his cell.

  9. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 8th 2006 !⃝

    I think this song is about Eddie Vedder's life. I read some bio's on him and some lyrics reflect them. E.g. 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 he did not know his real father until his later life.

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