Album: Break The Cycle (2000)
Charted: 33
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  • Staind lead singer Aaron Lewis wrote "Outside" several years before recording it with the band. It's a very emotional and dour song where Lewis finally gets some perspective on a person, seeing her for the first time from the outside and realizing she's ugly inside - just like him.

    These barbed lyrics delivered with a rush of blood are what Lewis was known for in Staind; his songs swirled up the sludge of his psyche and revealed it to fans. Lewis is far more tormented in his songs than he is in real life; by the time "Outside" was released, he was married and well past his darkest times.
  • The breakout moment for Staind came in an unusual place: Biloxi, Mississippi - a far reach from their home base of Springfield, Massachusetts. It was there, on Halloween 1999, that they performed on the Family Values Tour, headlined by Limp Bizkit. At the end of their set, Aaron Lewis took his acoustic guitar to the front of the stage, sat down, and played "Outside" live for the first time. During the performance, Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit sat nearby, singing on the chorus and gently hyping the crowd ("Biloxi!").

    You wouldn't think a never-heard, confessional acoustic song would go over well with the nu-metal Limp Bizkit crowd, but it did. The audience hung on every word and put their lighters up, "Freebird" style. The performance was so powerful, the live recording was included on the Family Values Tour 1999 album and also issued as a promotional single, which was released to radio in 2000 credited to "Aaron Lewis From Staind With Fred Durst." Many stations put it in rotation, giving Staind lots of buzz. It was a big break for the band, whose first major label album, Dysfunction, was released earlier in 1999 and didn't produce any hits. When their next album, Break The Cycle, was issued in 2001, many more people had at least heard of Staind thanks to the live version of "Outside." The first single from the album, the similarly moody "It's Been Awhile," became a huge hit. The album eventually sold over 5 million copies and went to #1 in America, as did their next two.
  • "Outside" began as a song by Aaron Lewis' first band J-Cat (or J.C.A.T.), who were comprised of Jon Wysocki, Chris Ballini, Lewis, and Tori Sands. Their music was primarily acoustic. J-Cat wrote this and "It's Been Awhile" (which was barely changed) but their version of "Outside" is quite different. Lewis said he was always changing those lyrics around. A recording of the original version has surfaced online along with seven other songs including "Bonghits For Breakfast." The tracks were recorded at Club Infinity in Springfield, Massachusetts. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Corey - Cheney, WA
  • One interpretation of this song is that it's about addiction, and the effects withdrawal can have on a weak individual. From this perspective, Lewis is singing through the eyes of a person who is contemplating a relapse. Drugs, though, were never a big part of Lewis' life - he smoked pot, but stayed away from the hard stuff.
  • Fred Durst did a lot to bolster Staind's career, but he made them work for it. After Staind opened for Limp Bizkit at a Hartford show in 1997, Durst was so impressed with the band he gave them his contact information. Then he didn't return their calls.

    Members of Staind eventually got their tapes to DJ Lethal of Limp Bizkit, and those got Durst's attention. Durst had the band drive down to Jacksonville to record a demo, which he used to convince his label, Flip Records, to offer them a deal. Durst then brought the band on their Family Values Tour, which is where the live version of "Outside" was recorded.
  • A video for the live version was made from footage of Lewis and Durst on the Family Values Tour.
  • Fred Durst almost ruined the live recording by dropping an F-bomb in one of his ad-libs: "This is the real motherf--king deal, y'all." Staind's record company was albe to edit the performance so Durst says "real mother deal," making it a little choppy, but suitable for airplay. The unabridged version is on the Family Values Tour 1999 album.
  • A studio version was included on Staind's 2001 release Break the Cycle. Released as a single, it didn't get nearly as much airplay as the live version and managed a chart position of just #111.
  • Sadly, a boy in Peoria, Illinois hanged himself in 2001 while a tape of him singing this song played in the background. Aaron Lewis was understandably shaken by his death, saying it was "a heavy weight on my shoulders."
  • Aaron Lewis sometimes dedicated this song to Kid Rock's sidekick Joe C., who died in 2000. Lewis got to know Joe when Staind toured with Kid Rock in early 1999.

Comments: 48

  • Kerry Reed from Lodi. CaliforniaThe song was to the tee my 13 yr.relationship . my man passed away and i cant even explain. how fitting it was. Its mind boggeling how one song can mean so many different things to people. I thank you for it. Its beautiful.
  • Marsha from Oklahoma The lyrics to this song were the only suicide note we had for my brother. He killed himself In 2001. I still love the song, I try to figure out what he was thinking and why that song. Maybe it did mean something to him. He was on drugs and had finally stopped right before he died. No matter what, the song is incredible and deserves to be heard!
  • Rikki from California This song to me will always be the anthem between TL & I. It was released when we first started dating in early 2001. It was an extreme and meaningful song and we listened to it several times as we fell deeply in love. By the end of that year we were happily married. Long story short, I was foolish & broke his heart. Currently, when I hear this song, it strikes a deep nerve. We both did each other wrong and we both were “ugly.” It’s incredibly ironic that we fell in love to this song and yet when I hear it now, the sorrow I feel fits as well. The one lyric “I can’t mend” hits me the hardest because it’s true. My heart will never mend without him. To Travis, love Rikki.
  • Lukas from Germany I don't know if it is the same story about the boy of the song waste but in the Staind documentary Aaron told that he got a letter from a boy. And the boy told him his best friend killed himself not only playing the song in the background. The boy had learned to play the song so he recorded it with his guitar and and voice. And this version was played when they parents found him.
    Aaron told he have question his self and art. Because he wrote all songs for himself and this letter hit him very very hard.
    You see in the documentary that he got tears.
    You can find it on YouTube.
  • Lukas from Germany For me this song is a song about struggle with yourself. You have a clear picture who you are and who you want you to be. But u can't be the guy who you want to be. Because you can't leave your burden at the door you have to carrie it. And what ever you try and how much you try you can't get in to be this person. Because it doesn't matter who you want you to be. This person is also ugly... And ofc you will never mend this s--t inside of you....

    Best way to hear this song is to close the eyes and talk with your dark parts... Better than every drug.
  • Matthieu from Elkhart, InThis song has a very special meaning to me and has a unique interpretation of mine. I grew up without a father, parents were divorced, he was also the hippy out of all of his siblings who were either ministers or had prestigious positions in life. Because of that and the fact that my father's mother disliked my mother because she wouldn't take his s**t and put up with his abuse, my brother and I were always treated differently and over time were treated as the outcasts, the bastard children of the family. It was very tough growing up knowing that an entire side of a family that should love and care about you did nothing of the such. About two months ago, my father's father passed away...the way that I found out, however, was seriously messed up and was the last straw: I found out through Facebook. I attended the viewing and funeral, not only to pay my respects to my grandfather, but to make a mental list of the family members that I would or would not be cutting all ties with...wasn't a big list, only 3 people out of a 60+ family. When I went home, I posted this song on every member of that family's facebook page, along with an explanation along with a declaration of all of their bullcrap I put up with my entire life...some of the comments weren't very nice that were made in reply but oh well :) I chose this song because I have always been an outsider in that family, looking in through a metaphorical window seeing all of the love, care and support that I should be receiving but was not...over time I had been able to see through their smiling faces and view just how ugly they really were, how similar we really were and the observation of "They're human just like me, same blood, same organs, same everything but yet they're different in that they are hypocrites, self-righteous religious people who are taught to love one and all but yet can be partial and subjective with their love." And that is why I will always be better than them, I don't need them. Never have, never will :-) Thank you so much Staind and Aaron Lewis for making a song that perfectly describes the pain I had to endure my entire life. ^_^
  • Justin from Greenwood, InI think this song is about a guy that has tried everything to stay with a girl but in the end she leaves him and he is getting it all off his chest. every word is what he feels and wants to say.
  • Chezchez from New York, NyEverytime this man sings and the band plays you can feel it to your soul. A rare gift from an artist. Keep it up Stain'd. Love you guys!
  • Bryce from Parkersburgh, Wvthis is one of those songs that just makes me think every time i hear it. one that u could probly gather ur own personal meaning from it. the acoustic in it is genious and easy to play at the same time.
  • John from Houston , TxThis is a really great song. The beauty about music is that you can take it as you want. I honestly think that this song is about two people who are different, socially. One is a loser while the other is the complete opposite. The song's perspective seems to come from the loser, seeing that he/she has a profound understanding of the other person and see's that they're both the same person, hence "I can see through you...inside you're ugly, ugly like me" even though on the outside they're different. Kinda like that geek that gets the pretty girl situation.
  • Emily from St. Louis, MoFirst off, the acoustic version of this song is beautiful, minus Fred Durst saying "I'm feelin those lighters." You see Aaron Lewis so full of emotion, pouring his heart out and then you have to listen to Fred Durst act like a tool. I remember hearing this song for the first time on my 16th birthday driving in my friend's car and just praying that before the end of the night they would play it again. Outside is a staple to any good mix CD or playlist and always will be. As for meaning I always assumed it was about addiction and fighting to stay clean. But I suppose it could be about relationships and losing someone you love. Staind fan for life!
  • Black from Virginia, VaAaron Lewis sings with emotion and his soul. This song doesn't have to be morbid, but there is a tone of sadness. What if you were in love with someone who loved you back but didn't know what to do with it? What if you knew their soul but was on the outside of their 'other' life? This songs can allow you to share the intensity of the complications and provoke some thought in someone else. Being ugly is metaphorical. For me (us) it is a shared trait between two people who have doubted themselves and survived so many trials and tribulations to come to a day of awakwning and realize if it got us to each other, it was all worth it. For me it is about self sacrafice to protectively nurture the one I love because I know how bad the struggle must be. To live so much of your life black, settle on being content, then by the grace of GOD, find your soul mate. This is an amazing song, beautiful lyrics, and Lewis' voice range is undeniable on Family Values. Maybe this post will help someone out there?
  • Kevin from Jersey, Nj The great thing about this song is that it means whatever you want it too. I believe him when he says he doesn't know how to explain in simple conversation the song's definition because he can't, thats what he wrote the song for. Its not about some story or specific thought. Great artists like Lewis write songs simply as a way to turn their feelings and emotions into something tangible that they can share with the world, because ALOT goes into what we're feeling at a given time and its often too complicated just to put into words. Thats what makes it "music" as opposed to a poem or an essay that you can dissect like Shakespeare.
    Its impossible for us to listen to this song and truely and deeply understand its inspiration or what it means to Lewis because that is something that belongs to him in his heart and soul. Don't worry so much about dissecting the words to see if it properly describes you or your situation. The beauty of it is that we can all use this song as a personal means to capture some feeling that we have trouble expressing, no matter what or why that is. This song has always and will continue to get me through the darkest hours of my life, and I haven't got a clue what its "supposed to be about".
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InOnce again, Lewis's vocals shine so bright by being so dark.
    Fabulous inflection, and great lyrics.
  • Lacey from Grafton, NeYea...i believe this song is about a relationship that ended by one party (either the girl or the guy) while the other still loved them...then the "breakee" finally figures out that that person they loved is just as ugly and is not worth their time anymore...so yea it may be a guy singing it...but it can totally go both ways...this song depresses me and brings back repressed memories...but it's an amazing song...
  • Patient X from Columbia, ScIt is about depression and feeling hopeless to the point of hurting one's self
  • Mona Juneja from New Delhi, IndiaI think it requires a lot of creativity and confidence to sing the entire song when u haven't prepared before....Aaron Lewis did a tremendous work and i love this song...he is not talking about drug addiction in this song..he is talking about a relationship and is describing the girl to be ugly from inside.
  • Justin from Dartmouth, CanadaI think this song is about a person being left out of a group, but really knowing that they are all like him,ugly on the inside.
  • Asa from Moweaqua, IlAlthough, this songs officially has no meaning, my interpretation is that its about a woman who has cheated on her spouse (the vocalist), and his finally getting over it. I think there is a lot of anger coming from this song, espicially by calling someone ugly on the inside. Its like he wears all his imperfections on his sleeve, while the other person in this song has tried to hide everything but he saw threw it eventually. "All this wasted, its all inside"-all the wasted time and effort, has been in his thoughts. Finally, all the anger that was "stuffed down and is back again" is back for the last time. At the end of the song when he says "But i feel, tommorow will be ok", its like he's finally moving on and letting go of the anger and sadness
  • Cathal from Dublin, IrelandThis is a very powerful song. It describes the feelings of someone who feels like he is on the " outside " from everyone else socially i.e. he doesnt fit in socially, with friends etc. He struggles socially. He has good intentions but people just don't take 2 him. Its a scary world when u hear a soong like this. And its certainly not fair to some people. Aaron must of been 1 of these people. Greatest intentions, lovely heart, but something missing that no1 can explain. Thats hurtful... My sister had this problem and struggles with depression from it... man things like that and this song really open your mind... Sad stuff - I love u SIS
  • David from Hanove, WvIn my response to the song, I would like to say that throughout my years in high school, this song became a cornerstone to why I hated so many things..School, life, and dealing with the pressures of being poor in a rich environment..This song, to me, is saying that your on the outside looking in..And it reflects the pain and struggle you go through everyday to survive in this world..People are so apt to catergorize people that you dont know who to be anymore..You cant be yourself, your just there to do what your supposed to do..Im 22 now, and nothing has changed..People still act as plastic as a pornstar, and they dont care who they destroy on their walk to the top..This song reminds me why I wake up everyday, look in the mirror, and hate the person that I am..Im on the outside and Im looking in..And no one cares enough to see who I really am and what a good person lies within..It breaks my heart..
  • Corey from Cheney, Wa*** In resonse to Austin in Buies Creek.... That is not false... Aaron did indeed write this as he went, on stage, with Fred Durst at the Family Values tour. NOW, was the entire song written on stage totally improv? No... it was not... The chorus existed, and the first part of the first verse... As for the rest of the song, improv... Ask Lewis, I talked to him last night and he gave me the story. He had played that song for years, but was always changing lyrics, nothing was set in stone until Aaron performed it live. The story of the song, and how it got to be, makes it even more incredible. Ever since that Family Values video, the lyrics were set.

    Now if you want to look at one of Aaron's earliest pre-staind songs, and pre-jcat songs... Take a look at its been awhile, he wrote it when he was close to 16 playing in clubs. He quoted last night, that nobody would listen to the song, that when he started playing everyone started talking or they would go get another drink, or go out to their cars and smoke-down.

    If you ever get the opportunity to talk to Aaron he will clarify everything for you, and tell you almost if not EXACTLY what I just said! :-)

  • Robyn from Johannesburg, South Africathis song is... wow... its incredible! my sister once told me what she thought the song meant and it kinda made alotta sense, she referred to the music video saying that in the end everyone/thing is the same... because he says your ugly like me and i suppose in the end, we are all ugly and so far away from perfection... i think aaron lewis is a genius for the songs he writes and outside (live version) i think is his best, its my faviroute song... id just like to ask, aaron said that he didnt know what the song was about or that he forgot?? well i think that he stuffed down all the pain for a reason... if you get what i mean**
  • John from Manalapan, Njto me this song is about someone who is on the outside - maybe not the "in" because they are not like those people. But the person realizes the flaws in them and phonyness that goes along with being in the "in" crowd and knows that inside those people are all "ugly" like he is on the outside. All the "in" crowd has brought him pain and suffer that he has just stuffed down and ignored. Think high school
  • Jake from Morton, PaAnd I leave my burdens at the door

    I?m on the outside
    just read it if u read most his songs and felt exactally everyword it simply just is a metaphor of how he stuff his pain down the song even says stuffed it down and its back again he may have forgotten or said he has but its obvious thats what it means
  • Sarah from Niagara Falls, CanadaAaron Lewis has stated time and time again, everytime someone asks what Outside is about that "He has no clue"
  • Daniel from Ada, OkI'd like to comment on everyone who thinks they know what this song is about. "STaind Online," is a website dedicated to STAIND. It has link to song facts or song meaning to every song off of
    Break The Cycle. Well maybe not every single solitary song, but my point is that "Aaron Lewis" clearly states that he doesn't know what "Outside" is about. I just thought I'd let you guys know.
  • Kevin from Independence, MoHey peoples listen to me.....The song and most of the staind songs are not about drug addiction. I will say again Aaron Lewis, the lead singer of staind, more often than not, he doesnt write about drug addiction.
  • Dave from Rochester, NyI feel the song "Outside" sung by Aaron Lewis (live) was probably the most beautiful,heartfelt and gutwrenching song i've ever heard. You can just hear it in his voice, how much pain he was experiencing when he sang it, every time i hear it it sends chills up my spine and raises the hair up on my whole body.
    I feel that this song will stand the test of time, because it has to do with something we all can relate to.-"Heartache"
  • Kevin from Indepence, Mo"I dont know what outside is about." Aaron Lewis.
  • Elliot from St. Louis, MoIf frankie's assesment is right, this song kind of describes my relation with my ex-girlfriend (girlfriend at the time). After a while, I was fed up with her being a b*tch, and became on the outside (even, though i was still going out with her, i didn't talk to her really, and people wondered if we broke up). Yet, when we finally did, we became good friends again, and everyone thought we were going out still (and that really pissed me off).
  • Maxx from Toronto, Canadaits very suprising that some one would think this was about drugs. it is about addiction but not to drugs. this song was about an adiction but it was the addiction of love. his relationship failed and the song is him trying to convince him self that he never realy loved her so he can go on living his life. but it dosnt work. in the song he says "and i taste what i could never have, its from you" which is him remembering what he felt with this woman. "outside" refers to his hindsite now that he is outside of the relationship he can see 'clearly'
  • Ricky from Ottawa, CanadaOutside is one of my favourite songs because it is so real and pure. You can tell that Aaron really feels what he is singing, especially on the live version. When he is singing you can here the pain and emotion in his voice. Also it is a song that almost everybody can relate to. What I took from this song is that he is singing about a girl that he once loved. He loved her so much and did everything for her but she never loved him back. He now is realizing how much time he has wasted and that it was not meant to be. He is very upset but he realizes that tomorow will be ok. He also realizes that the girl he once loved is not what he thought her to be. When he looks at it from the "outside" he realizes that she is ugly inside and that he does not really love her. It is a song that I can relate to and a song that especially if youve experienced it, you can listen to over and over again because it is so real and it portrays the situation perfectly.
  • Rob from ???, TxHey, up in facts section...The boy that hung himself was listen ing to the song four walls, not outside, and it has nothing to do with addiction, it is about being a social outcast. says on staind.com
  • Frankie from Dubuque, IaHmm.. I didn't know this song was about addiction. Honestly this is the song that got me into music and lyrics and all that. It was after I liked this girl for two years and told her how I felt and she said she only wanted to be friends. I could relate to every line of this song because our friendship was almost like a relationship (many people mistook it for one). The whole chorus "i'm on the outside..." means to me that he's not with her (on the outside) but she's exactly like him and they belong together (your ugly like me.. etc.) I don't know it just really really struck a chord with me with that meaning on that level.
  • Glenn from Mildenhall, EnglandI have heard it before that he did not forget what the song was about, but that it was never meant to be anything in the first place. The boy in Peoria that killed himself with the tape playing MAY be the person he is singing to on the track "Waste," in which a mother comes to him and asks why her son commited suicide while listening to Staind.
  • Austin from Buies Creek, NcIn response to the comment that Aaron made this song up on stage at the family values tour, that is completely false. Aaron Lewis has been singing that song since before Staind every made it as a mainstream band. You can even download a track where Aaron sings the same song with a former band of his, JCAT. Aaron sang the song in clubs and bars to make spare money for himself, as all the money Staind made was put directly back into the band.
  • Eric from Boston, MaLewis made this song up on stage, so how is there supposed to be a meaning? He knew the chorus, that's it...everything else came from his head on the spot. That in itself is amazing. At least from my point of view...
  • Brian from Paoli, InIt's sad that Fred Durst always gets credited in this song, all he did was yell like a jackass. Alot of people started to get tired of this song, but I can't help but still love it.
  • Mary from Moulton, AlHey Nick from Paramus, NJ-- I've seen a lot of ur comments. Get up with me sometime man! Love to talk to u! :0) hehehe
  • Mary from Moulton, AlI am a big fan of Staind, and this song is one of my favs by them. Then again, I love everything by Staind! YaY! =)
  • Kenny from Jamstown, CaThis song kinda relates to my feelings.....but overall its an awesome song.
  • Holly from Pensacola, FlOutside is about really feeling the pain that someone you love has put you through...it's one of those songs that is so raw and real you can't help but bawl when you listen to it (especially the live version), and play it over and over again alone in your room.
  • Nick from Paramus, NjLewis said that he can't remember what this song means. How can you write something and not remember what it means? Oh, well, I guess I means whatever it means to you.
  • Matt from Lincoln, Nethis song sounds like a guy suffering from depression provoked by a girl (surprise, surprise). i think a lot of guys can relate to this soon-to-be classic.
  • Rat from Nowhere, United Statesthis song is making me feel very strange its so intense when lewis sing this song live
  • Rebekah from Prince George, VaTo me this song means so many different things... Its really upseting to me
  • Nobz from Walpole, MaAaron Lewis was originally supposed to sing the hidden acoustic track from Dysfunction entitled "Excess Baggage" but at the last minute decided to do his unfinished piece properly titled "Outside"
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