Stephanie Says Lyrics - Velvet Underground

Review The Song (20)


Stephanie says that she wants to know
Why she's given half her life, to people she hates now
Stephanie says when answering the phone
What country shall I say is calling from across the world

But she's not afraid to die, the people all call her Alaska
Between worlds so the people ask her 'cause it's all in her mind
It's all in her mind

Stephanie says that she wants to know
Why it is though she's the door She can't be the room

Stephanie says but doesn't hang up the phone
What sea shell she is calling from across the world

But she's not afraid to die, the people all call her Alaska
Between worlds so the people ask her 'cause it's all in her mind
It's all in her mind

They're asking is it good or bad
It's such an icy feeling it's so cold in Alaska,
it's so cold in Alaska, it's so cold in Alaska

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wow | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/9/11

it seems to me that this song is a clear example of a person who, through severe life long trauma, abbandonment, demoralization, and lack of anyone who can/will understand her, is now empty and cold as a result of giving her love to so many people that could/would not see that love for the treasure that it was, did not give any love back and now she has nothing left. shes the door, not the room, people use doors to get into rooms, she wanted to be the room so people would want to be with her, but they didnt, using was the best she could get, so she let herself be used, now she is all used up. everyone says shes so cold, as though its her fault, but everyone is all the people who took love and would not give it, or even cherish what they took, everyone who could not be bothered to try to understand her. shes not afraid of death because she is already dead, she pretends that someone is calling her with something of great import, they are not, she is alone, the seashell is more companionship than they gave her, and they all say its her fault still, she is so cold, alaska is so cold. so alone, but her warmth was stolen by them, and now they judge, is it good or bad? but dont dare ask 'is it my doing?'. The song is a tragedy, i marvel to hear it called 'sweet'. in 'the royal tenenbaums', which is also tragic, this song is applied to margot, and fades after the first line. Margot has severe emotional trauma, turmoil and self worth and abbandonment issues as a result of being cast out of her original family (and constantly being reminded of that) and then never really being accepted by royal, the only father she had. she was not given love, understanding or a place for her heart to be so she tried to find it elswhere, she didnt. then her and richie convey their love, but she cant have it now, though its what she wanted, she doesnt feel she has anything left and she already feels guilty about his pain. royal is represntative of the oblivious takers and, i must say, that some of the asinine and shallow comments on this page are definitely indicative of why there are so many 'stephanies' in the world. oblivion.

What I've read | Reviewer: leamanc | 7/14/10

What I've read over the years:

"...half her life to people she hates now..." is about how Reed is fed up with record company-types. This song was recorded in 1968 after Verve/MGM let two brilliant albums just die.

The bulk of the song was inspired by a story Reed read about a young girl who had done so much amphetamines that it had literally flattened out the ridges in her brain. The doctor took an X-ray of her head and said it looked like Alaska. A lot of the song is built up from quotes from this girl in the article that Reed read.

Waay different intake | Reviewer: Shawna | 2/28/10

I think that this song is about a girl who doesn't know what she is wasting her time on on thing she doesn't care about, she doesn't feel like she gets the credit she deserves at times, people get the vibe from her that she's cold; so that's why they refer to her as Alaska.

I'm not saying anyones opinion is wrong or that mine is right but that's the way I feel about the song and I enjoy listening to it! And many other songs by the velvet underground and Lou reed, himself.

a | Reviewer: ross | 2/12/10

I think you're right "a messiah" except I think that being the door and not the room refers to the nature of the illusion itself. That is, she sees herself as a brief passageway of perception rather than a part of what's being perceived.

a messiah | Reviewer: ryan costello | 2/2/10

what i get from this song is its a girl caught up on the whole illusions thing that Lou reed believes in. we all live in our own worlds and there really is no reality, just different illusions to choose from. but because of that, steph believes she is utterly alone, just like all of us are. and when people call from across the world relates to how everyone is in their own world, so far away from everyone else. this also makes her cold, like Alaska, which is also a lonely and empty state, much like her. just another world. the door and room part is pretty obvious, people connect with her and feel better about themselves but never stick around with her. "between worlds" etc back all this up. read illusions by richard bach and see for yourself. When the song says "its all in her mind" thats either everything is in her mind, or this cold and detached way of life is all in her head, or it could just be what other people say about her. I'm also a velvet freak, after all they are the greatest band there ever could be.

a | Reviewer: ppg | 1/15/10

I read somewhere kinda tongue-in-cheek opinion that the song is about telephone operator from in Alaska called Stephanie.I will always think about this song that way, just can't get it out of my head, for me it's perfect conclusion!

Stephanie is a man? | Reviewer: kennyweezer | 10/1/09

I have a different take on it and considering I'm a Velvet Underground/Lou Reed freak, I might have some insight. The song could most likely be about Steve Sesnick, who was the manager of the Velvet Underground after the first album, "The Velvet Underground and Nico". The song, if interpreted in this way, is about Steve and how he manages so many bands and things for bands that he is neither here nor there sometimes and Reed makes note of that in the song. "People he hates now" could be the bands that he once enjoyed but now is simply a task to listen to and give help to. "Calling from across the world obviously refers to bands touring and calling and/or booking agents and whatnot asking him questions.

The line, "she's the door She can't be the room" refers to how he is the starter for musical events, 'the door' but he actually isn't the talent and this could be frustrating for him(many times over the course of his career).

"She's not afraid to die" is a reflection of Reed's point of view that although Sesnick handles all these stressful tasks he still seems self assured(unlike Lou Reed who kicked out John Cale for two reasons, one of them being that he was too self assured and not open to change).

Towards the end, "they're asking if it's good or bad" is a perfect example of people consulting him for music choices and venue issues.

The "icey" and "Alaska" part is a statement to how Sesnick has to seem stoically objective in his decision making and care for all the bands he had.

So take what you want from this, I personally think there is no definitive meaning to a song. A last interesting tidbit is that Sesnick pushed Reed to write "hits" for thier last album Loaded but Reed, because of the pressure quit right after making it.

Wow. | Reviewer: amanda | 4/21/09

I love this song. I know it's not about me or my situation (duh), but it reminds me of when my family was moving around alot. We lived in California for a while, and all the kids at my school learned that I was from the Midwest and they would ask really hurtful questions about if I was a hick or a farmer and the like. Most people didn't know my name, so they would call me "Indiana". It was so awful. I'm so glad we've settled now and I've finally found a stable place. :)

if music is the food of love play on | Reviewer: trish | 11/1/08

this is one of the most lovely songs i know, it expresses perfectly how it feels to be trapped by other peoples expectations of us, the title may or may not be for alliteration purposes but we have all been stephanie at some point in our lives if we are honest, i have!

Why is everyone bickering over a name? | Reviewer: SA | 1/27/08

The song is wonderful and I absolutely love it. It makes some great points and I can relate to it, except people don't call me Alaska. But it is just a name. I'm sure other songs have names of people in it. Doesn't matter. People view the song their way. Let them keep their opinions. It's their life and their rights.

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