Single Review: Audioslave “Show Me How To Live”

Show Me How To Live
Album: Audioslave
Year: 2003

Audioslave lead singer Chris Cornell is unnerved and weakened by his fears in the complative hard rock of “Show Me How To Live.”

Electric guitars and drums begin the single which set a fiery, withdrawn tone. Cornell “mms” and then starts the first verse. As he lays in bed, he sees the sun slowly rise. He’s restless and has been unable to sleep. He thought the nighttime would bring some answers but instead it left him with more pain. He’s not himself and feels like another person. He wants to seek a priest who might be able to guide him. He’s constantly thinking and second-guessing himself. He wonders he’s supposed to be this conflicted or if he’s abnormal. (“And with the early dawn/Moving right along/I couldn’t buy an eyeful of sleep/And in the aching night under satellites/I was not received/Built with stolen parts/A telephone in my heart/someone get me a priest/to put my mind to bed/this ringing in my head/is this a cure or is this a disease”).

Cornell shouts at his God and his parents for not teaching him how to be confident about himself. (“Nail in my hand/From my creator/You gave me life/Now show me how to live/Nail in my hand/From my creator/You gave me life/Now show me how to live”).

The second verse is directed at his parents. Although he seems composed as an adult, he has many emotional scars. His parents may have thought they raised him properly by telling him to “be a man.” However, he’s dealing with powerful upsetting emotions and doesn’t know how talk to someone. He tells them his current emotional problems will reflect on them. (“And in the after birth/On the quiet earth/Let the stains remind you/You thought you made a man/You better think again/Before my role defines you”).

The electric guitars riffs are jagged and full of discontent during a brief instrumental section.

He will seek someone who talk to and change himself. However, he won’t be able to have closure until his parents are dead. (“And in our waiting hands/I will land/And roll out of my skin/And in your final hours I still stand/Ready to begin”).

The chorus is sung several times to end the single. Cornell’s yelll at the end is broken apart into several different notes.

The nostalgic “Show Me How To Live” is remiscient of the grunge rock released in the early 90s. However, it succeeds by Cornell’s songwriting. Whereas today’s mainstream rock is polished and showy, “Show Me How To Live” is rough and unafraid to be ugly.


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