I'm trying to understand the meaning of first part of Alan Walker & Ava Max - Alone Lyrics:

We were young
posters on the wall
praying we’re the ones that the teacher wouldn’t call
we would stare at each other
coz we were always in trouble

And all the cool kids
Did their own thing
I was on the outside always looking in
Yeah I was there but I wasn’t
They never really cared if I wasn’t

Does that mean, when we were young posters of us were on the wall? If so, then how it goes from this to, they are in a school prying for teacher doesn't ask them questions? And in the second part it says I was on the outside of the room! I'm curious about understanding meaning of the lyric. I would appreciate if you could help me to understand its meaning.

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    It isn't possible to give an exact interpretation of song lyrics. Perhaps it refers to posters on their bedroom walls at home. On the outside looking in is metaphorical (he never really belonged to the 'cool' group). Commented Mar 10, 2022 at 13:58
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    It probably means they had posters on the walls of their bedrooms at home. Lyrics aren't always in perfect English. "Is you is or is you ain't my baby" for example. "on the outside looking in" would be a more accurate use of the cliché than "on the outside always looking in." Commented Mar 10, 2022 at 14:07
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    We were young with posters on our walls. Is likely a good interpretation. Like another common mentions. It's a stylistic way to say "When we were young we had posters on our (bedroom) walls, and we were praying that we are the ones that the teacher wouldn't call. During this time we would stare at each other because we were always in trouble." That is the point they were making (setting the scene) but stylistically wrote it as lyrics.
    – Eli Harold
    Commented Mar 10, 2022 at 17:06

1 Answer 1


On the off chance you're asking why that particular turn of phrase was used, it was commonplace, particularly in Western countries, for youths (teens, specifically) to decorate their bedrooms in posters (mass-printed, large-scale - typically ~0.5 m x .75 m - glossy images) of their favorite pop-culture subjects: musicians, cars, the opposite sex, destinations, etc. The author is quantifying what he means by "we were young". It'd be like saying, "she was young, her hair still up in pigtails," or "he was old, his cane lay by the door."

If I'm misunderstanding the query, my apologies, but none of the other answers address WHY someone would use the expression.

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