Song Lyric Sunday — Grunge

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme, Jim Adams has given us “grunge” songs. Jim explains that grunge a genre of music that arose in Seattle in the 1980s. It fuses elements of hard rock, punk rock, and metal, and it has been described as the intersection between punk rock and heavy metal.

I know nothing about grunge music. I googled “Grunge bands” and the first one that popped up was Pearl Jam. I’ve heard of Pearl Jam, but I’ve never heard Pearl Jam. So then I asked Google “Pearl Jam’s best songs.” And one was “Alive.” Hence, “Alive” from Pearl Jam, even though I’d never heard it before, is the song I’m featuring today.

In the U.S., “Alive” this was the first song Pearl Jam released as a single. It spent a record-breaking 61 weeks on Billboard’s Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart in 1998-99 without ever entering the Hot 100. The music for this song was written by guitarist Stone Gossard before the band had a lead singer. It was part of a three-song instrumental demo they made at London Bridge Studio in Seattle while looking for a vocalist and drummer.

Jack Irons, a friend of Gossard’s who played drums in The Red Hot Chili Peppers, was approached about joining Pearl Jam, but he had another commitment. He thought Eddie Vedder might be a good fit as the singer, so he gave Eddie the demo tape. At home in San Diego, Vedder wrote lyrics and added his vocals to the song using his four-track recorder. Vedder’s lyrics went in a direction the band didn’t expect, but they loved what they heard and quickly agreed that he should be their lead singer.

The song is about a boy who finds out his father is actually his stepfather, and that his real father is dead. Vedder said that the song was “a work of fiction based on reality,” and the chorus of “I’m still alive” was what he considered his curse, as he struggled to deal with the strained relationship with his stepfather and the fact that his real father was dead.

Vedder said that fans reacted to the chorus by jumping around and celebrating. They heard, “I’m still alive” as a positive thing, an affirmation of life. Vedder felt that, “When the fans changed the interpretation of those words, they lifted the curse.”

Here are the lyrics to “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, 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

10 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — Grunge

  1. bushboy March 26, 2023 / 3:12 am

    I am a Pearl Jam fan and Alive is a good one to feature. Did you enjoy it?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Maria Michaela March 26, 2023 / 3:45 am

    My older brother introduced me to Pearl Jam. Their song Last Kiss was one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. newepicauthor March 26, 2023 / 6:31 am

    I was invited by this girl to go to a Pearl jam concert in Aspen, CO and we were going to stay at their ski lodge, but I never met this souple and I felt like I would be imposing, so I declined. My girlfriend was mad at me for not going.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ghostmmnc March 26, 2023 / 8:24 am

    Excellent! One of my favorites. Pearl Jam has great songs, and they performed one of the very best concerts I ever went to. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. leigha66 April 4, 2023 / 8:51 pm

    The singer has a very distinct voice… good song!

    Liked by 1 person

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