in the summer that you came
there was something eating everyone
and the sunshine fund was low
we couldn't greet you
with a simple hello

and the watchers of the flood
were busy in their chambers
making sure there was new blood
to sustain their dying veins

but i believed you
no need for further questioning
i'm gonna leave with you
you can teach me all you know
which way will we go now
on our trip to taller windows
i really don't know now
i really don't know

in the winter that you left
there was business as usual
with the same old fears and frustrations
but the word got out
it was really such a pity

but the judges and the saints
and the textbook committee
decided you should be left out
not even mentioned

but i believed you
no need for further questioning
i'm gonna leave with you
you can teach me all you know
which way will we go now
on our trip to taller windows
i really don't know now
i really don't know


Lyrics submitted by one hit wonder

Smothered In Hugs song meanings
Add your thoughts

10 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +2
    General CommentI think it's about some sort of a creative genius in a job who was keeping either a company or a city alive ("the watchers of the flood," "something eating everyone"), and the person became embittered with that group of people because they were parasitic ("making sure there was new blood to sustain their dying veins"). Eventually this person decided to leave because he knew they had nothing more to offer him, and the narrator was one of the few people that saw his worth, thus deciding to leave with him, even if there was no known destination. After the creator left, the higher individuals in the society (judges, saints, textbook committee) decided to pretend he didn't exist and his accomplishments weren't worth acknowledging, even though their lives didn't get better ("same old fears and frustrations").

    It seems very "Atlas Shrugged" to me in theme.
    realitysoldieron January 02, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is at least partially about one of R. Pollard's students.
    Erodeoon March 01, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI know that Robert Pollard was a teacher until sometime before this album came out, and he has used themes from that before ("Gold Star For Robot Boy") so I assume it's at least a bit influenced by that. Here's my personal interpretation:
    This new student comes who has issues like depression, but he's never given help for it because everyone else is wrapped up in their own business ("the sunshine fund was low, we couldn't greet you with a simple hello") - "The watchers of the flood", the faculty watching his descent, are too busy with their own lives than to help this kid out.
    The narrator is the only one who understands ("But I believe you"). He wants to hear from this kid and try to help him. They want to go to "higher windows", being higher standards of living.
    Despite his help, the kid commits suicide in the winter ("In the winter that you left"), but no one outside his immediate circle really hears about it until later ("The word got out, it was really such a pity").
    The school decides not to even acknowledge his passing ("the judges and the saints...decided you should be left out"). And now the narrator's wracked with the guilt of not having saved him from his school and himself.
    That's just what I came up with - probably wrong, but the great thing about GBV lyrics is that you can make them be about anything, really.
    TheRandomGuyon October 21, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGiven Bob's background as a teacher, I've always thought (like many of you) that Smothered in Hugs was inspired by that part of his history. In my interpretation, a new teacher comes to the school where he teaches & he sees a kindred spirit in his fellow teacher. They become great friends. Then his friend loses his/her teaching position due to a disagreement with the faculty or principal. Like Robin Williams' students in Dead Poets' Society, Bob feels this person was a wonderful teacher & role model ("you can teach me all you know") and didn't deserve to be punished, but rather to be commended. One of my favorite GbV songs ever.
    InBobWeTruston April 27, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always thought this song was written in point of view of a son whose parents were divorced and his father never really came around, like the divorce was his fault and everybody thought he wasa bad guy, except for the son, or at least he hoped. I don't know I'm probably wrong, but again, only Robert really knows.
    ZachTFLdon August 09, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI thought it was about God. Probably in a way similar to the person who said it was about a cult. It's something that came with a promise of making things better which just took advantage of people until the jig was up; the narrator though is already captivated by this thing and is still devoted to follow it (even if he admits he knows the others realize it's not worth it). It goes away, and won't come along to people in the future, but the narrator still thinks it would be better if everyone just kept on going with it.
    eleventyon September 02, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe line about "the judges and the saints and the textbook committee decided you should be left out, not even mentioned" makes me think about the Nicene Council picking and choosing the books that were to make up The Bible. There are so many writings that were "left out" and "not even mentioned", deliberately kept secret from the public. The nature of Mary Magdalene and Jesus's relationship really comes to mind.
    And then I have also imagined it having something to do with a controversial event or person at the school where Bob taught.
    This is the beauty of poetry/song lyrics. Especially Robert Pollard's! They are open to 'All Connotations'! And the only person who will ever hold the answer is the author. Bob holds thousands of these answers . . . And I love him for it!!!!
    Allconnotationon August 13, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAs a veteran educator in a school, I think @InBobWeTrust is on the right track. To me, it speaks to a toxic staff environment and low morale in a school (a sunshine fund is a school staff's social/celebration fund):

    "in the summer that you came
    there was something eating everyone
    and the sunshine fund was low
    we couldn't greet you
    with a simple hello"

    This person had a rough time.
    Staff at schools can be very cliquey:

    "but the judges and the saints
    and the textbook committee
    decided you should be left out
    not even mentioned"

    Which forced this person out mid-year; and life went on in that school:

    "in the winter that you left
    there was business as usual
    with the same old fears and frustrations
    but the word got out
    it was really such a pity"

    And yes, teacher/staff follow each other to different buildings, especially if it's a toxic environment:

    "but i believed you
    no need for further questioning
    i'm gonna leave with you
    you can teach me all you know
    which way will we go now
    on our trip to taller windows
    i really don't know now
    i really don't know"

    It all sounds bleak, and unfortunately it can occasionally happen. I've seen it. But mostly I've seen the opposite.

    Thanks, Bob, for making an incredible Rock and Roll song about an Elementary building's staff. Cheers!
    jstrawon September 24, 2016   Link
  • -1
    General CommentI think this is about a cult.
    gandhigon June 09, 2007   Link
  • -1
    General Comment"It seems very "Atlas Shrugged" to me in theme."
    ... except it's good.

    Oh! Burn on Ayn Rand!

    I think it's just about people not getting the recognition they deserve for their acheivements.
    jeglikerkukenon May 21, 2010   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