"Summer Teeth" as written by and Jeffrey Scott/bennett Tweedy....
Like a cloud his fingers explode
On the typewriter ribbon, the shadow grows
His hearts in a bowl behind the bank
And every evening when he get home
To make his supper and eat it alone
His black shirt cries
While his shoes get cold

It's just a dream he keeps having
And it doesn't seem to mean anything
And it doesn't seem to mean anything

One summer, a suicide
Another autumn, a travelers guide
He hits snooze twice before he dies
And every evening when he get home
To make his supper and eat it alone
His black shirt cries
While his shoes get cold

It's just a dream he keeps having
And it doesn't seem to mean anything
It's just a dream he keeps having

He feels lucky to have you here
In his kitchen, in your chair
Sometimes he forgets that you're even there

It's just a dream he keeps having
And it doesn't seem to mean anything
It's just a dream he keeps having
It's just a dream
And it doesn't seem to mean anything


Lyrics submitted by OwnPersonalDemon

"Summerteeth" as written by Jay Bennett Jeff Tweedy

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Summer Teeth song meanings
Add your thoughts

24 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +2
    General CommentI always thought this was a song about appreciation and not taking people for granted.

    (Like a cloud his fingers explode) He’s at a typewriter thinking of something to write but nothing comes to him.

    (On the typewriter ribbon, the shadow grows) Time passes.

    (His hearts in a bowl behind the bank) I get a feeling from this line but I can’t put it into words.

    (And every evening when he gets home-To make his supper and eat it alone-His black shirt cries-While his shoes get cold) Many thoughts pass through his mind and he thinks about his wife dying, coming home after the funeral in his black clothes, and thinks about being alone from now on.

    (One summer, a suicide) Dreams of killing himself, he can’t live without her

    (Another autumn, a traveler’s guide) Dreams of moving on and putting it behind him.

    (He hits snooze twice before he dies) He's only at peace when he’s asleep, so when he wakes he slowly remebers she’s gone and life and the day are more like death to him now.

    (He feels lucky to have you here-In his kitchen, in your chair-Sometimes he forgets that you're even there-It's just a dream he keeps having-And it doesn't seem to mean anything)
    He shakes the thought from his head and looks at his wife and realizes how lucky he is.

    It's just a dream
    And it doesn't seem to mean anything

    Relief

    This song makes me so happy, I think about all the people in my life and how lucky I am to have them.
    benodictineon March 06, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentsummer teeth is tweedy'd description of the album. once he wrote the lyrics he thought they were too dark and it would upset his listeners, so he made the music sweet and fairly poppy (see candy floss). so the album appears sweet like summer, but it really has hard, sharp, dangerous teeth.
    Kumkwatz23on June 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is wonderfully preverse because the lyrics completly clash with the cheerful tune, and the tweeting of the birds in the background.
    Birdyon December 21, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHe hits snooze twice before he dies

    I like how the character doesn't wake up... he dies.

    Wilco has a funny thing with words. "Why the hell is this named summer teeth?" Beats me. Some are teeth. like She's a jar. Ajar. hah.
    Greyshoeson December 27, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, I love that line. I think it's one of the best lines in any Wilco song.

    "He hits snooze twice before he dies"

    Maybe a play on how people don't take advantage of their time. This guy inadvertantly chose to live his last few hours on a bed, asleep. There's a great bit of black comedy there. :-)
    imajaron July 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSummerteeth is a reference to women, but I don't know how to apply it here.

    It's used like this: "Summerteeth are there, summerteeth are there". It's a woman with bad teeth-- "some [of her] teeth" = summerteeth.

    Don't know why.
    loldoctoron May 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFor some reason, I always thought of this song as about an author. benodictine has good ideas that I've never considered, that could very well be it. Here's what I thought:
    "Like a cloud his fingers explode" -- This line was unclear to me... "like a cloud??" I thought the "fingers explode" meant that he was typing fast, was eager to write somethin down.

    "His hearts in a bowl behind the bank" I assumed this meant he was so far in debt and so poor that the bank, owed lots of money, had also taken his spirits and happiness from him, just as they can take possessions and property.

    "Make his supper and eat it alone" Hints maybe that his loneliness weighs on him even more than his financial problems.

    "His black shirt cries while his shoes get cold" I pictured his sweat being the "tears" the shirt.. perhaps not affording air conditioning? His shoes are cold because he's not wearing them, but I can't think what that'd mean.

    "One summer, a suicide" In the summer of a particular year in the past, he wrote a fictional novel that excited him, capturing his love of storytelling and focusing on a suicide.
    "Another autumn, a traveler's guide" Some time after the suicide novel, he is so bound by finances that he needs to stop his freelance writing and pick up a job at... say... Frommer's and write traveler's guides to recieve more steady income.

    " He feels lucky to have you here
    In his kitchen, in your chair
    Sometimes he forgets that you're even there" The writer finds someone, perhaps a girlfriend, who he can really love and peace from financial problems and a cure to loneliness spawn from her presence. Just having her around is enough. "sometimes he forgets that you're even there" He gets so absorbed in his other love, writing, that he loses track of other things.

    I guess i can't explain the "dream he keeps having".. the other explanation is starting to sound pretty convincing. Oh welll, make of it what you will.
    TheModernAgeon May 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOh, and if someone can explain what "like a cloud" means and "shoes get cold", that would be cool.
    TheModernAgeon May 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI dunno...I always get the sense from this song that it's about a person who's completely out of touch with reality, who lives in a world of his own construction, filled with thoughts and plans that never come to fruition. He could very well be a writer, who creates his own fantasy world while not being consciously aware that his own life is completely empty.

    The line about his black shirt and shoes makes me think of someone who never goes out to parties or bars, choosing instead just to stay at home.

    The lines about his heart "in a bowl behind the bank", the "suidide" and "traveler's guide" all seem like literary ideas to me --- the lead character keeps writing these stories year after year.

    The last stanza about how he "feels lucky to have you here" is countered by "sometimes he forgets that you're even there"...that to me is just a further indication that he's out of touch with reality, to the point that he enjoys your company but is so engrossed in his fantasy world(s) that he doesn't pay it the attention he should.

    So I guess I don't see this guy as lonely at all...and that's even sadder to me than if he really was lonely. This guy seems to be just completely lost in worlds of his own creation.
    thermo4on October 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about an unexplainable emptiness in a person's life. You may not be lonely or sick, but you may question why you're where you're at right now, why you live the life you do. But I guess it all makes sense when you wake up.
    suclid003on April 17, 2007   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain