In this song, Jones explores a helpless feeling that the world is falling apart and there's nothing she can do about it. She doesn't name any names, but alludes to US President Donald Trump and his media enablers when she sings:
He screams, he shouts
The heads on the TV bow
They take the bait
They mirror waves of hate
So what's a person to do? After four years of marching and fighting, many who oppose Trump feel they've gotten nowhere and are left with a hollow feeling in their souls. Jones, who donated to the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2020, finds a ray of light with a simple truth: she's alive. Maybe things will change.
"If there's a darkness to this album, it's not meant to be an impending sense of doom," Jones said. "It feels more like a human longing for connection."
Jones wrote this song with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. Tweedy also produced the track and contributed guitar and bass; his song Spencer played drums.
"I'm Alive" is the first single from Jones' seventh album, Pick Me Up Off The Floor, her first since 2016. Leading up to it, she did a number of one-off collaborations with artists like Mavis Staples and Thomas Bartlett, but wasn't planning to release an album. After a while, she realized she had a full collection of songs she hadn't released, so she decided to issue the album.