Sprawling on the fringes of the city
In geometric order
An insulated border
In between the bright lights
And the far unlit unknown

Growing up it all seems so one-sided
Opinions all provided
The future pre-decided
Detached and subdivided
In the mass production zone

Nowhere is the dreamer
Or the misfit so alone

Subdivisions
In the high school halls
In the shopping malls
Conform or be cast out
Subdivisions
In the basement bars
In the backs of cars
Be cool or be cast out
Any escape might help to smooth
The unattractive truth
But the suburbs have no charms to soothe
The restless dreams of youth

Drawn like moths we drift into the city
The timeless old attraction
Cruising for the action
Lit up like a firefly
Just to feel the living night

Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight

Somewhere out of a memory
Of lighted streets on quiet nights



Lyrics submitted by MasterDuncan03

"Subdivisions" as written by Peter Townshend

Lyrics © SPIRIT ONE MUSIC OBO TOWSER TUNES

Lyrics powered by LyricFind


Subdivisions song meanings
Add your thoughts

63 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +5
    General Comment:I think this song is speaking about how teens in secondary school often feel pressured to like and do the same things as everyone else, as if they don't they wont be branded 'cool'.
    This song relates to me because i'm not one of the 'cool kids', and i'm not invited to all the 'cool' parties etc. It's such a brilliant song!
    Puckers2811on December 30, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:only a band like rush could make a song like this. so deep and it just rocks.
    poohblueskyon June 30, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:It's interesting for me to read how the High School age interpret this song. Being a fan of Rush since the beginning, it's good to get a different perspective on Rush and their lyrics.
    mkgon November 21, 2004   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation:I am really interested to here how others interpret the lines of the last verse…

    'Some will sell their dreams for small desires'
    - Some of the dreamers give in to the pressure to conform, and later in life they purchase a home in the suburbs. Could a home purchase be a small desire? Possibly.

    'Or lose the race to rats'
    - Give in to the 9 to 5 lifestyle, making the killer commute, rushing here and there, and never marching to the beat of their own drum.

    'Get caught in ticking traps'
    - This line has confounded me. The ticking part could infer a time limit the person is bound to. The trap, well just a guess… the purchase of the suburban home with a large mortgage obligation. The trap is the burden to pay it all back. The ticking part is the pressure is the make the monthly payment on time. I could be way off.

    'And start to dream of somewhere To relax their restless flight '
    - this kinds of blows up my home debt obligation theory, because this could very well imply the initial thoughts about purchasing a suburban home.

    'Somewhere out of a memory, Of lighted streets on quiet nights'
    The memory of the quiet suburb comes back to the person that drifted into the city.

    This doesn’t all make sense, but I'd like to here what others think.
    GregJ8787on February 17, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I have a little more clarity on the last two verses… The entire last two verses are related to the attraction of city life, including both the excitement that youths feel when going out on the town, and the humdrum way that adults have going to their jobs.

    'Lit up like a firefly' - lit up store fronts, signs etcetera of a city at nighttime. Just as moths are attracted to lights at night, so too are youths seeking excitement, referenced by 'Just to feel the living night'.

    'Some will sell their dreams for small desires' - the desire for income, a new car, a new material item that can only be obtained with the money earned from a job. Committing to that job meant sacrificing a dream, or 'sell their dreams'.

    'Or lose the race to rats' - lose precious spirit and time to enjoy life by travelling a depressing commute, to and from the job.

    'Get caught in ticking traps' - I have to admit, seeing the Subdivisions video gave me more clarity on what this line means…. ticking traps are basically time commitments, that cause you miss out on valuable experiences in life. You scramble to get to a train by a certain time everyday, or complete your work tasks on a strict schedule. You are bound to these commitments, causing you to miss out on other valuable experiences.

    'And start to dream of somewhere To relax their restless flight ' - The tedium of the daily commute leaves you longing for your suburban, subdivided home, where you can just go and relax.

    'Somewhere out of a memory Of lighted streets on quiet nights' - The longing to get to the suburban home, is not just a current thought but also deeply engrained in your memory, from having been raised in the same type of subdivision for example.
    GregJ8787on February 18, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I think it is rather obvious what this song is about, so I won't go into my own thoguhts, beyond that this is probably my favorite song right now.
    MasterDuncan03on May 26, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:one of my favorite rush songs...talks about conformity
    shed27on June 22, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:one of their best synth-based songs. Alex smokes on that solo, its one of his best.

    its about outsiders in high school (which is what i was, probably expalins why i like the song so much).
    masterofpuppets80on May 16, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:This song might describe me right now better than any song out there!!!
    Zlpemplehon May 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:another great song from a great band! my favorite cd is 'signals'. all the songs on that cd are fantastic !
    xl5ronon June 03, 2004   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