What is Neil Diamond’s “I Am I Said” About?

Nov 14, 2023

Neil Diamond’s “I Am… I Said” is a poignant and introspective song that delves into the complexities of identity and self-discovery. Released in 1971, the song became a chart-topping hit and has remained a beloved classic for over five decades.


Exploring the Depths of Self

The song’s opening lines, “I said, I said I feel all right, I said, I said I feel alright,” set the tone for a journey of self-reflection. The protagonist, seemingly on the surface, is grappling with internal turmoil and a sense of displacement.

As the song progresses, the protagonist delves deeper into their emotions, acknowledging their fears and insecurities: “I am I said, I am I said, I am… I said, I am I said, I am… I said, I am I said.” This repetitive refrain underscores the protagonist’s determination to assert their identity amidst the uncertainties of life.

WATCH: Will Swenson & Mark Jacoby breakdown “I Am I Said” from A Beautiful Noise.


A Tale of Two Cities

The song’s lyrics allude to a transition between two contrasting environments – Los Angeles and New York City. Los Angeles, with its laid-back atmosphere and sunny skies, represents a place of escape and personal freedom. New York City, on the other hand, symbolizes the protagonist’s roots and the complexities of their past.

This contrast reflects the protagonist’s internal struggle between embracing new experiences and maintaining a connection to their origins. The line, “I am New York City born and raised, but nowadays I’m lost between two shores,” captures this sense of duality.


Embracing the Journey

Despite the uncertainty and self-doubt, the song ends on a hopeful note: “And it’s fine, but it ain’t home. New York’s home, but it ain’t mine no more. I am myself.”

The protagonist acknowledges that their journey of self-discovery is ongoing, and that they may never find a place that perfectly defines them. However, they embrace this reality, accepting their own unique identity and the ever-evolving nature of self.

“I Am… I Said” is a powerful reminder that the path to self-discovery is rarely straightforward. It is a journey filled with introspection, challenges, and moments of clarity. Through its enduring message, the song continues to resonate with listeners, offering solace and encouragement as they navigate their own journeys of self-understanding.