Doesn't Remind Me

Album: Out of Exile (2005)
Charted: 93 68
Play Video


  • In this song, Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell lists a number of things he enjoys, all for the same reason: they don't remind him of anything.

    The song is open to interpretation and can have very different meaning depending on the listener. Enjoying the simple pleasures in life is one key to happiness, in part because that's time not spent dredging up painful memories. The lyric could sound trite if not delivered by Cornell, who even when singing about gypsy moths could bare his soul.
  • Many who dealt with substance abuse issues found solace in this song and identified with Chris Cornell, who battled addiction for much of his life. Cornell hanged himself in 2017 at age 52.
  • Audioslave shared songwriting credits, with Chris Cornell penning the lyrics and his bandmates - Brad Wilk, Tim Commerford and Tom Morello - writing the music. Out Of Exile was their second of three albums; like their debut, it was produced by Rick Rubin.
  • The music video portrays a rather poignant interpretation of this song. Directed by Chris Milk (Arcade Fire's "We Used to Wait," Kanye West's "All Falls Down"), it shows a young kid training to be a boxer and playing with model airplanes. We later learn that his father is a pilot who has died in combat.

    At the time, America was engaged in war with Iraq. Morello, Wilk and Commerford were vocal critics of the war; their previous group, Rage Against The Machine, often tried to eviscerate American foreign policy.
  • Chris Cornell sometimes performed an acoustic version of this song at his solo shows. Inevitably, the audience would sing the refrain.

Comments: 35

  • Victoria from NycMy mom told me, when this song was still in heavy rotation, that it reminded her of me. In the mid-aughts I was trying to run off to Japan to teach English (I eventually got there via the military) and I had a pseudo-Catholic upbringing with a lot of emphasis on performativity for the sake of pleasing the older relatives. It wasn’t until way later that the chorus really hit me: “Things I’ve held sacred that I’ve dropped…I don’t want to learn what I’ll need to forget.” That line smacks particularly of generational trauma, and what parents unwillingly or unknowingly hand down to their kids, with the kids now having to shoulder the burden of knowledge.
  • Rreddogg from Arkansas More spiritual angst Chris is trying to come to terms with. A lot of his songs are loaded with it, as are Layne Staley's . It's particularly about living a ritualistic life that's learned at an early age and not deriving the spiritual peace and reward that has been promised with it. You can tell he firmly believes it exists and is so frustrated that he can't grasp it by the means he was given early on in life. The hypocrisy of his influencers and the disillusionment and emptiness it produces within him is grappled with in so many of his songs you can literally feel the pain of being a lost soul. So consequently , once again in this song, he seeks other diversions that don't remind him of how he got there. How many of us raised in "religious " families have struggled with this in our own lives? So few are able to gain enough perspective to rise above it. It's ultimately a reaffirmation of the famous quote " childhood is what we spend our life trying to overcome"
  • Anaraki from NcThe song is about living in the moment--living in the moment and not carrying around the past and not worrying about the future. There is just the now to live in--such a simple song--I didn't even like the lyrics at first but now it is one of my favorite songs.
  • Zorak from TexasThe lyrics are about superficial and casual experiences with the unfamiliar being fun because they don't remind you of anything painful. "I won't learn no more you can bet, don't wanna learn what I'll need to forget." Not getting emotionally invested in them and just enjoying the novelty.
  • Austen from Saint Louis, MoWell you see, Chris has made references before about wanting to disregard social paradigms - our means to live and to approach life by through public pressure.

    The entire song throws that paradigm all away, e.g. 'I will live my life the way I like, and not otherwise because society dislikes it' and e.g. "I like colorful clothing, in the sun, because it doesn't remind me of anything." Is another way of saying, "I like it because I like it, and won't alter that opinion just because it reminds 'you' and society of something

    I also believe the song is exactly what Evan said about "This song is about achieving something after throwing everything else away. We should live for the present and try to forget about tough times in the past."
  • Randy from Sacramento, CaI could be wrong, but judging by how many references there are to Christian mythology I always thought this song was about loss of faith and possibly the loss of innocence, too. Kind of backed up by the video (the kid's dad dies, he's more or less forced into the boxing ring, etc). I can't be the only one who noticed how many references to Christianity litter this song, but maybe I'm misinterpreting. Then again: "with a graveyard tan, and carrying a cross", "I like hammering nails, and speaking in tongues",
    "Gospel music and canned applause", these lines paint a picture of someone growing up in an evangelical household, and the repeated insistence of "doesn't remind me of anything" seems to point that way pretty directly. I mean you'd have to be pretty slow for those things not to ring a bell if you were raised almost anywhere in the US, and and Cornell is by no means a dumb man.
  • Kurtis from San Francisco, CaTo me the song has a simple theme which is all about trying to suppress painful memory. Anyone who has experienced trauma knows that many little things can tip off your memory about something or someone you're trying to forget. But the more you try to run from your pain, it seems to show up when you least expect it. So you try to find activities that put distance between yourself and your memories.
  • Randy from Ashland, OhThis kid reminds me of myself when I was his age. He's bored and needs something to do.Maybe he needs his dad?..,..It's like his dad died or something when he left him? He wants to be somebody,..noticed. He wants to forget about his childhood. I used to listen to this song incessantly when I was going through a divorce. Then I was diagnosed with a brain-tumor. I've had 2 surgeries (it came back). Now I'm 42,..they put me on disability because I have a memory-impediment!
    Life has many unexpected twists doesn't it?!!
  • Alex from Prescott Valley, AzI think the video is about the kid's dad dying while serving in the Air Force, so he boxes because it takes his mind off of his dad's death. I feel the song is a lot like the video, where the things that don't remind you of anything are there to cover up something tragic that's happened in your life. I'm probably way off, but that's just my interpretation of the song/video, and it makes sense to me.
  • Pete from Toronto, Onjamie ur thinking of burden in my hand - soundgarden
  • Bob from Utica, MiI hate to break the news to you Jamie, but those lyrics are not in this song. Think about it.
  • Jamie from Granite Falls, NcI hate to break the news to you guys but this is another song about drug addiction. "I shot my love today", he's talking about shooting up dope which is his love. Not saying Chris Cornell was ever on heroin or anything but he is an awesome songwriter and you have to read deeper into his lyrics sometimes. "Crack a smile and cut your mouth" what could make you smile and at the same time cut your mouth?? Think about it.
  • Sam from Norris, TnTo me, in the video the boy is very active and has a bit of anger towards the apparent death of his father in a war. Maybe that's why he boxes. I don't think it's his mother that's making him box because really? What mother could get their child to run, and practice all the time. At least she doesn't seem like that. The anger is hinted towards when he tears down the Uncle Sam poster or when he throws the toy plane into the water at the end. Or maybe he just wants to make his father proud.
  • Adrian from Gettysburg, PaI'm posting again because I'd thought I'd enter something without mispelled words for a change, and to see if this has my updated location. But yeah, another shout out to Tom Morello. This is without a doubt his best guitar solo EVER.
  • Jon from Dumont, NjThe song is entirely about depression. I listened to this song for months before seeing the video and think the video can distract people from understanding the central meaning. Remember that Chris Cornell suffered depression for years as a late-teenager and early 20 year old. At that point, everything he used to love became meaningless. That's why he likes new things because they don't remind him of anything.
  • Jack Stark from Greenland, NyGuys, the video is trying to make an anti-war statement, but the song itself is not about war.

    The song is about someone who experienced too much tragedy and heartbreaks in their life, and comes to the realization that religion and the small, seemingly insignificant things helps to dull the pain and make life worth living.

    At the end of the song, we get the sense that the narrator wants to have a long-term relationship/marriage with someone, but only wants it to happen if they own things without any memories attached to them.
  • Phoenix from Seattle, WaThis song is about being consumed by depression, and everything in your life that you used to love, and that used to have meaning for you, becomes meaningless.
  • Phoenix from Seattle, WaThis song is about being consumed by depression, and everything in your life that you used to love, and that used to have meaning for you, becomes meaningless.
  • Larry from N'djamena,No one ever mentions Commerford

    Try listening to RATM and audioslave without Commerford,

    There's just the whiney sound of Morello's guitar.

    No offense, Morello's little segments of jamming are great, but still, deserves som credit too
  • Adrian from Brookings, SdI must agree with Anon about this song. The best about thing is that it encompasses the best of the soft and completely rock-out parts of Audioslave. After a particularly tender passage from Chris Cornell, Tom Morello just goes off into one of my all-time favorite guitar solos. I am well aware of Morello's innovative reputation witht the fret board and admore it, but one of the things "Out of Exile" has over the band's debut album is the instrumentation. Particularly, Morello and Brad Wilk show off their ability to play with an increased technical and speedy delivery.
  • Anon. from Twin Cities, Mnfunny how this sounds nothing like ratm...Tom Morello is amazing in that he can play in so many styles, from emulating dj's and rap beats, to pure metal shredding, to mellow chords like this song, and even folk (go search "nightwatchman" on youtube).
  • Nick from Paramus, NjEverytime I hear that Guitar Solo it blows my mind away.
  • Kira from Edmonton, CanadaThis song totally sounds like Chris Cornell's old (great) band Soundgarden. Man, I long for the days of Black Hole Sun, Burden in my Hand, Pretty Noose, etc. Great song!!!
  • Jeffrey from Dowagiac, MiIt's about a loss of innocence.
  • Jack from Lowell, MaThe video clearly has anti-war themes, but I think it goes a little deeper. It links hyper masculinity, exemplified by boxing, with war, exemplified by the death of the father in the fighter plane. The kid is substituting boxing for the rage of losing his pops.

    The song itself is great. Chris Cornell always has kind of morose songs, but this is relatively upbeat. I think its about just letting your mind be free, like a carefree child.

    "I like studying faces in parking lots
    Cause it doesn't remind me of anything".

    Great line.
  • Chris from Derwood, MdTom Morello is awsome
  • Spence from Smithfield, VaMy opinion about this song is that it's about a boy who lost his father in Jet fight during war. In the video it keeps showing an F-15 blowing up and at the end the kid throws his toy plane in the water. I think the song is about all the stuff he does that doesn't remind him of his father. And he also boxes to vent his frustration. Also, notice how there's only his mother in the video and not a father anywhere. The reason he throws the toy jet in the water is because that item definitly reminds him of his lost dad. Just my theory
  • Aaron from Nb, CanadaThe songs about war. There are kids boxing because its supposed to represent kids going of to fight in a war they dont understand. You see his mother practically drag this kid to the ring. He would rather run and play.
  • Brandon from Saskatoon, Canadathis song's mostly relaxed, this song's kind of too pretty for me to listen to, but most other audioslave songs are awesome
  • Dave from Eden Prairie, MnI thought this song was about not wanting to be reminded of anything because the memories are mostly bad and hurt, so he likes the feeling of not having to think about them.
  • Jim from Burlington, VtYeah, it's a great song...what what do you think he doesnt want to be reminded of?
  • Bert from Pueblo, Nmi love the song, i hate the video. They use the kids boxing, amongst other things to make an anti-war video. I thought Audioslave wren't going to get political. that video would've worked better for Your Time Has Come, and Your Time Has Come's video would've worked better for this song.
  • Chad from Andover, MnStrange, I love this song, yet, I despise the video, although, that's like a lot of songs I like. I just don't like the video, I mean, kids boxing? It just doesn't make sense to me.
  • Tom from Boston, MaJen,
    You don't know me, but I'm madly in love with you. I want to marry you and kiss you and be with you forever and ever and ever. You're the most beautiful transexual I have ever seen.
  • Jen from Wrexham, WalesReally good song.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Judas Priest

Judas PriestSongwriter Interviews

Rob Halford, Richie Faulkner and Glenn Tipton talk twin guitar harmonies and explain how they create songs in Judas Priest.

Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root

Michael Glabicki of Rusted RootSongwriter Interviews

Michael tells the story of "Send Me On My Way," and explains why some of the words in the song don't have a literal meaning.

Jimmy Jam

Jimmy JamSongwriter Interviews

The powerhouse producer behind Janet Jackson's hits talks about his Boyz II Men ballads and regrouping The Time.

Cy Curnin of The Fixx

Cy Curnin of The FixxSongwriter Interviews

The man who brought us "Red Skies" and "Saved By Zero" is now an organic farmer in France.

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)Songwriter Interviews

Before "Rap" was a form of music, it was something guys did to pick up girls in nightclubs. Donnie talks about "The Rapper" and reveals the identity of Leah.

Artis the Spoonman

Artis the SpoonmanSong Writing

Even before Soundgarden wrote a song about him, Artis was the most famous spoon player of all time. So why has he always been broke?