Friday, December 03, 2004

Alive and 'The Mamasan Trilogy'

Mood: 28 days till quitting ! Playing: Alive by PearlJam

Haven't been writing about Pearl Jam for quite awhile.
Yesterday I was listening to Kickstart on Red 104.9 on my way back from a BNI meeting and they played "Alive".

I, like I guess most people, first thought that the song was about hope and thankfulness about being Alive. The chorus goes "I, I'm still alive". It's prolly one of the first PearlJam songs I listened to.
I didnt buy the album till much much later and only then did I realize what the song was really about. Then I read their interview in the RollingStones , where Eddie explained further on what the song was really really really about.
It gave me the heebee jeebees.

Written By: Vedder, Gossard
Album: Ten
Release Date: 1991-08-27
Found On: Ten, Alive Single, Alive Single, Oceans Single, Dissident Single
taken from

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...
i...i'm still alive
i...i'm still alive
i...i'm still alive
she walks slowly, across a young man's room
she said i'm ready...for you
i can't remember anything to this very day
'cept the look, the look...
you know where, now i can't see, i just stare...
i...i'm still alive
i...i'm still alive
i...i'm still alive
i...i'm still alive
is something wrong, she said
of course there is, you're still alive, she said
oh and do i deserve to be?
is that the question?
and if so...if so...
who answers...who answers...
i...i'm still alive
i...i'm still alive
i...i'm still alive
i...i'm still alive

If you have never read the Rolling Stone article, basically what Eddie said was,
it's about a boy who was told that the man whom he thought was his father was actually not really his real father (and it explains alot on how the 'father' has been treating him -- this topic is covered alot in their other songs). The thing is, the boy has now grown up to look exactly like his real father, and now that the father is dead, the mom started realizing that she still has feelings for the man.
The part that gives me the heebeejeebeees is that "The look, the look .. oh you know where" .. Eddie explained that a lot of people think that when he says "the look", people assume its "on her face", but actually the "you know where" meant .. you know, "down there".
It's pretty sick, but also very sad. Sad for the mom, to have to go on with a constant reminder of the man she loved (once and probably still), so close yet so far. And of course, sad for the boy, to be burdened by the way he looks (something which he can't help). His mom loves him for the wrong reasons, His step-dad probably hates him just coz he looks like 'the enemy'. It could and would totally screw him up.

So here comes The Mamasan Trilogy.
I don't know how true the story is. The story that's been going around since Ten was that PJ wrote the song in a trilogy, and it's all about this boy, his mom and how screwed up he became.
One part is 'Alive'. The other part is 'Footsteps' , a song about a boy blaming his mom for every nasty thing he did. And the third is 'Once', a story about a man, who spends his time killing hookers on the streets.
It all sounds pretty violent when I write about it, but actually if you listen to the songs and read the lyrics, nothing is ever graphic, just bits of suggestions and nuances that paints the picture without really drawing out every detail (which is exactly why I love PearlJam so much).

So I guess the next time I write about Pearl Jam, I'll write about 'Footsteps'.

p/s Ilham was jumping about in the living room singing "Our house, in the middle of our street" today. I asked him where he learned that song and he said he heard it in his dad's car (on the radio). So I sang the song to him, and he was quite delighted that I knew it. Woo hooo..! I guess now I can introduce him to Madness!

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