"Teeth Like God's Shoeshine" as written by Isaac Brock, Eric Judy and Jeremiah Green....
From the top of the ocean, yeah
From the bottom of the sky, goddamn
Well I get claustrophobic
I can you know that I can

And he said,
"I am not allowed much danger
Keep in line you're an old friend stranger.
You'll burn me in effigy and I'll burn you in effigy."
A rattle snake up in buffalo Montana
He bit the leg of the old sheriff
Ha! That boy fell down on his harelip -Ow! Ow!
Well I might be wrong
But you you tag along
And we we all been wronged
And I get dizzier by the mile
Said hell! The money's spent
Went to the county line
And paid the rent said "Uh-oh."

Oh! If you could compact your conscience
Oh! And you might.
Oh! If you could bottle and sell it you might have done
Oh! And you might
Oh! If you could compact your conscience

And sell it save it for another time
You might have to use it.
And the televisions gone
Go to the grocery store, buy some new friends
And find out the beginning, the end, and the best of it
Well, do you need a lot of what you've got to survive?

Here's the man with teeth like God's shoeshine
He sparkles shimmers shines
Let's all have another Orange Julius
Thick syrup standing in lines
The malls are the soon to be ghost towns
So long, farewell, good-bye
Take 'em all for the long ride
And you'll go around town
No one wants to be uptight anymore
You can be ashamed
Or be so proud of what you've done
But not no one, not now, not ever or anyone

Take 'em all for the sense of happiness
That comes from hurting deep down inside
Or you can walk th line and give a shit
I'm on the corner of this and this and this and this
And its all all wrong, and its all all gone
Well, you can add it up and give a shit

Go to the family doctor
Its all worth it
And its all all gone, and its all all wrong
Here's the man with teeth like God's shoeshine

He sparkles shimmers shines
Let's all have another Orange Julius
Thick syrup standing in lines
The malls are the soon to be ghost towns
So long, farewell, good-bye
And the telephone goes off
Pick to receiver up, try to meet ends
And find out the beginning, the end and the best of it


Lyrics submitted by PLANES, edited by Kafari, JushBrungmun

"Teeth Like God's Shoeshine" as written by Isaac Brock Eric Judy

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Teeth Like God's Shoeshine song meanings
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80 Comments

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  • +11
    General CommentI've read a lot of the comments about Isaac Brock's lyrics on this website, and I've noticed that a lot of people seem to think that Isaac is a Christian and that he writes Christian lyrics. I just wanted to point out that although Isaac was raised in a Christian household, he is an atheist, and has referred to the Bible as "a crock of shit" in the past. I just wanted to get that out there. It's good that you're interpreting the lyrics and applying some really good thoughts to them, but you shouldn't project your own beliefs onto another person's.
    Carouselson January 24, 2013   Link
  • +6
    General CommentI think this song is about the overall decay of society. The orange julius line is just showing how people are wasteful and are focusing their lives around consumerism rather than finding and doing thigs that really make them happy. the line: from the top of the ocean to the bottom of sky i get clausterphobic is just saying how this is everywhere and pretty much unavoidable because everyone is so caught up in this lifestyle even if they dont think or realize they are. think about all the shit you have you dont need. its kind of like that quote "the things you own end up owning you" (fight club) ... just that you can base your life on making money and buying things but that wont end up making you happy. also i think this song also adresses how eventually this corroding society that only cares about money and leisure will collapse eventually (the malls are the soon to be ghost towns)... well thats my take on this song, its probably my favorite song at the moment, what do u guys think?
    CLUM5Yon April 26, 2005   Link
  • +5
    My InterpretationI cant write english very well
    and it's a shame because i'm listening to that song right know,
    and i understand everything so clear
    for the first time

    Mr Isaack catch my attention and via his music, puts my mind right against his lyrics.
    and it hurts and feels good.

    i wish i coul write about the way i see this song, "my meaning", but i can't.
    mistakenforvaljesteron February 23, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI think this song is about this song is about greedy power hungry american corporates. Don't get me wrong, I am american, but we are fucking GREEDY! From the bottom of the sky to the top of the ocean meaning the whole world, so they want to market the whole world. They are probably old friends who are corporate rivals, and they attack a man in Buffalo, Montana... or something to get more money. When people go to pay the rent they see that it costs to much, and prices are rising. BTW, burning people in effigy means embarassing them or a likeness or clone of them. When they get to the calming part where it slows down he says "The televisions gone," meaning they probably had to sell every single thing to pay the rent or to buy Necessitys. It is probably about the depression, cause the words match it and so does the meaning. When they say "Do you need a lot of what you got to survive?" meaning most people have money so do you need a lot of money to survive? Yes. The malls are the soon to be ghost towns meaning that prices are so high or many people lack money so they cant afford the shit they want and need, when it speeds up it means rebelling against the system and money and blah blah... My guess... Could be wrong...

    Prolly no one will ever get this song.

    Not no one, not now, not ever, anyone.

    so So-long, farewell, goodbye!

    lol, i love quoting the song
    Dragon1629on January 27, 2005   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI think this song is about trying to find someone who you can eat cheese with in total silence.
    Relapseron May 08, 2006   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationAt long last i have figured out the real meaning of this song!!

    Verse 1: This song is in fact about the corporate marketing and advertising takeover of society. The first verse of the song implies that it is everywhere you look and it gets so overwhelming it can make anyone feel a little claustrophobic.

    Verse 2: A man meets with an old acquaintance who he used to know, but know longer does because time changes people.That's why he calls him old friend and stranger at the same time. (Well, keep in mind you're an old friend, stranger). This old friend is talking about a possible business deal that has a low chance of failing ( I am not allowed much danger) which inspires the investor to give all his money to the business deal. He then says that (if you burn me in effigy then I'll burn you if effigy). This means that if the investor desecrates what remains of his money or livelihood then he will do the same in return. Brock than follows this interaction with a wild excuse from the old friend/stranger/business man about how the money disappeared because of some unlikely scenario involving a sheriff and a rattlesnake. The business man then turns the blame on the investor by saying it was his choice to invest and no one forced him to. The business man was such a smooth talker that the investor agrees by accepting his losses (hell yes the money's been spent). He later realizes after leaving the business man that all of his money is gone and he doesn't even have enough left to pay the rent.

    Verse 3: Some people are so intent on selling (see: "bankrupt on selling" by Modest Mouse) that they would give anything for material gain. Even their conscience. But then Brock says you shouldn't do that even if you could because it's not really worth it when it in the end.

    Verse 4: The TV was sold just so they could go out and buy more popular things that help them make friends through materialistic showing off. People who do this are the source of this materialistic mania , but Brock asks is this is worth it as well. Do you really need more clothes, friends, money, etc. to survive? Is all this madness really all that necessary.

    Verse 5 Chorus: The man with teeth like god's shoeshine is the business advertising head that creates these trends until they fade and are replaced by new ones. This cycle continues till we die, but in the end orange julius is just thick syrup. In other words it's just cheap crap that runs our lives.

    Verse 6: First off this verse is very powerful and amazing!! Love it!! Taking them all for the long ride means that the corporate heads are getting everyone hooked on their products for years to come until they spread throughout mainstream society and become a part of everyday mainstream life. According to the last to lines of this verse (Take them all for the sight of their happiness, From that deep hurt deep down inside) this spread of products uses an well known advertising tactic used on children that plays on human emotions to draw from social insecurities to make you believe that this product will bring you the happiness you lack.) This is why the corporate heads should be ashamed of their crowning achievements ( those being the mass marketing of their products), because they are brainwashing people for their own selfish gain. The people are so brainwashed that there is no one left to tell these marketers to faces that they should be ashamed of themselves.

    Verse 7: Some people care so much about the number of "cool materialistic things" they have that all they do is think about them and how many they have and cool they are because of that. It can get to a point that people put this before their own health an well being. When you die none of this matters. When you die you realize that these thing were not really the best parts of life all along.

    Verse 8: Chorus

    Verse 9: the phone goes off indicating new opportunities. The narrator from verse 2 needs to go back to his roots and work to make life what it used to be. He needs to back to the beginning to find out what really matters in life. What is really the best of it.

    Verse 10: same as verse 6, but with even MORE emotion (as if that were even freaking possible).

    Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy my interpretation of this song and that it helps you enjoy modest mouse even more.

    NickyBeGoodon October 26, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Commentname a better band then modest mouse.... you cant its fuckin simple..... snohomish in the hizzy
    vacant_andyson September 13, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI would just like to say that, in my very biased opinion, Isaac Brock is the best songwriter alive, possibly ever. I am prepared to defend that statement.
    cmgonemadon September 12, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is by far my favorite Modest Mouse song and I have all the LPs.

    You are all over thinking it. Look at the album as a whole. It's all about a trip. A Lonely guy even on his way to the West, if you will. A guy who wants to break away from where he's at. "no allowed much danger". So he buys a car from a used car sales man with very shiny teeth who sells him a lemon.

    In the album he drives around goes to a lounge sees a girl tries some heroin, has an epiphany about god, and wakes up 'doing the cockroach', which is waking up on your back in a convulsion like state. In the lounge he also meets Cowboy Dan an figures out hes just Trailer Trash, and keeps on driving. He runs Out Of Gas, gets drunk and starts drunk dialing. He meets a trucker at the bar and turns out he just screws him over and he finds out that everyone is on their own but it's ok.
    tolbertapon May 28, 2007   Link
  • +2
    Lyric CorrectionPotential correction: I think "Let's all have another Orange Julius thick syrup..." should be "Let's all have another Orange Julius mixer...". Makes a bit more sense too.
    swoopeon January 26, 2012   Link

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