Still Alive

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Still Alive
ReleaseArtificial Heart
Length(album version): 4:15
(game version): 2:56
Release dateOct. 9, 2007 (Xbox 360, PC); Dec. 11, 2007 (PlayStation 3); Unknown
Related Pages


Other media
{{#song:Still Alive (Featuring Sara Quin) }}

"Still Alive" is a song Jonathan Coulton wrote for the Valve game Portal. The song was rerecorded for Artificial Heart, with Sara Quin on lead vocal, Chris Anderson on bass guitar, Marty Beller on drums, Joe McGinty playing keyboard and celeste, and Dorit Chrysler on theremin.[1]


Coulton wrote and performed a song titled "Still Alive" for the ending credits of Valve's 2007 video game Portal, with vocals by Ellen McLain. McLain, the voice actress who portrayed the malevolent artificial intelligence GLaDOS in the game, is a classically trained singer. After she recorded the song her voice was digitally altered (as it was for her dialogue in the game).

A short instrumental rendition of "Still Alive", performed on trumpets in a Latin style, can be heard in Portal during gameplay.

A sequel song, also written by Coulton and performed by McLain, entitled "Want You Gone" is featured in Valve's 2011 game release Portal 2


A version with Coulton's vocals was included on The Orange Box Original Soundtrack, in addition to the one heard at the end of the game. The song was made available on April 1, 2008 for the game Rock Band as downloadable content. It is one of the few tracks available for free download in the Rock Band Store.

The song makes a return in a later Valve game, Left 4 Dead 2. A jukebox in "The Parish" campaign can be operated, playing a randomly selected song. Still Alive is one of the songs, although it is very rare. One of the other songs is Re: Your Brains. "Still Alive" is also reprised in Portal 2.

A live version is one of the tracks on Jonathan's 2009 live album, Best. Concert. Ever.

A studio version with new background instrumentation and guest vocals by Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara is available on the album Artificial Heart, which can be ordered through Coulton's website or on iTunes.

Unofficially, many versions of the song have been circulated, primarily through YouTube. These range from live footage of Coulton performing the song solo (in 2011 he began performing it in medley with its sequel, "Want You Gone") and with actress Felicia Day, a version performed by a children's choir, a machinima version performed by a simulated Japanese computer voice, and a professional studio cover version by the British band Miss Flag. As Roomie, Swedish musician Joel Berghult has released new songs on YouTube each week, similar to "Thing a Week", and Still Alive was one of his offerings in October 2011. British composer Blake Robinson (and his Synthetic Orchestra) creates orchestrated renditions of many popular video game themes. In January 2012 he released an orchestrated cover entitled Still Alive at the Orchestra

References & Trivia[edit]

  • This song was performed at MIT as a demonstration of a Rubens Tube, which visualizes the musical tones using flaming gas jets.
  • The game's A.I., GlaDOS, appears as a character in this XKCD comic strip, with dialogue quoting the song.
  • The song's second line ("I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS") has become a minor Internet meme (e.g. as referenced in the Rifftrax commentary for the film "Saw").
  • The song makes references to two organizations: Aperture Science, which is the entity behind the events within the game, and Black Mesa, which was the organization behind the events of the earlier Valve game Half-Life (the line "Ha-ha, fat chance" is an in-joke referencing the the ongoing rivalry between Aperture and Black Mesa).


Primary Theme:

Secondary Themes:

Other Themes:

Copyright information[edit]

Unlike JoCo's other songs, Still Alive is owned by Valve, and is not subject to Creative Commons.


Best. Concert. Ever.
1. The Future Soon · 2. Ikea · 3. Shop Vac · 4. I'm Your Moon · 5. Baby Got Back · 6. Kenesaw Mountain Landis · 7. Chiron Beta Prime · 8. Tom Cruise Crazy · 9. Code Monkey · 10. Creepy Doll · 11. Still Alive · 12. Mr. Fancy Pants · 13. I Crush Everything · 14. Skullcrusher Mountain · 15. Mandelbrot Set · 16. You Ruined Everything · 17. Re: Your Brains · 18. A Talk with George · 19. I Feel Fantastic · 20. First of May
Artificial Heart
1. Sticking It To Myself · 2. Artificial Heart · 3. Nemeses · 4. The World Belongs to You · 5. Today With Your Wife · 6. Sucker Punch · 7. Glasses · 8. Je Suis Rick Springfield · 9. Alone at Home · 10. Fraud · 11. Good Morning Tucson · 12. Now I Am An Arsonist · 13. Down Today · 14. Dissolve · 15. Nobody Loves You Like Me · 16. Still Alive · 17. Want You Gone · 18. The Stache