"Houses In Motion" as written by Brian Eno, David Byrne, Christopher Frantz, Jerry Harrison and Martina Weymouth....
For a long time I felt
Without style and grace
Wearing shoes with no socks
In cold weather
I knew my heart
Was in the right place
I knew I'd be able
To do these things

And as we watch him
Digging his own grave
It is important to know
That was where he's at
He can't afford to stop
That is what he believe
He'll keep on digging
For a thousand years

I'm walking a line
I'm thinking about empty motion
I'm walking a line
Just barely enough to be living
Get outta the way (no time to begin)
This isn't the time (so nothing was done)
Not talking about (not many at all)
I'm turning around (no trouble at all)
You notice there's nothing around you, 'round you
I'm walking a line
Divide and dissolve

Never get to say much
Never get to talk
Tell us a little bit
But not too much
Right about then
Is where she give up
She has closed her eyes
She has give up hope

I'm walking a line
I hate to be dreaming in motion
I'm walking a line
Just barely enough to be living
Get outta the way (no time to begin)
This isn't the time (so nothing was done)
Not talking about (not many at all)
I'm turning around (no trouble at all)
I'm keeping my fingers behind me, 'hind me
I'm walking a line
Divide and dissolve

I'm walking a line
I'm visiting houses in motion
I'm walking a line
Just barely enough to be living
Get outta the way (no time to begin)
This isn't the time (so nothing was done)
Not talking about (not many at all)
I'm turning around (no trouble at all)
Two different houses surround you, 'round you
I'm walking a line
Divide and dissolve


Lyrics submitted by exact

"Houses in Motion" as written by Chris Frantz David Byrne

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Houses In Motion song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentAppears to be about a man, completely determined to work towards his very introverted goal, which makes him detached from and slightly paranoid of his peers. He is killing his sense of social contact and values as he's resolutely "digging" for this idea, which seems to be of meaning-of-life level importance (or actually the meaning of life), and he imposes self-isolation with his erratic behavior. He sparringly says anything anymore, but when he does he babbles on about his thoughts until people start to quiet him down, all to the point where even his girlfriend "give up hope".
    Nirgeon November 12, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOne of my favorite Heads songs. David Byrne in prime, paranoid form. Very nice flute or whatever it is.
    DevastatorJr.on January 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song definitely grows on you quick. brilliant.
    battleofnyon January 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn one review of "Remain In Light" that I read, the reviewer called this song the only filler on that album. I can't believe that! This has got to be one of my favorite Heads' songs. And it's certainly no more filler than "Listening Wind" or "Seen And Not Seen." But I digress.

    As for the meaning, I think it's about not taking things for granted and living life to the fullest. In a trippy drug-induced sense, perhaps? Hmm...
    majestikmoose9on June 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah, i love this song too. im surprised its not more popular.
    battleofnyon July 01, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat a fan you are, majestikmoose9 -- you counter the accusation that this song is filler by, instead of praising this song, calling even more songs filler.

    Is that how you talk about a world-class album?

    Either way, I agree, I always thought this song is awesome.

    I love the opening lyric:
    "For a long time I felt without style and grace,
    wearing shoes with no socks,
    in cold weather."

    That's such a beautiful description of what it feels like to think you're living without style and grace -- and hilarious!
    just12on February 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song is about a man digging his own grave. He is continually running the race, but never really accomplishes anything. That is why the contrast is so evident in the chorus. He is walking a tight line between life and death until all the material things he has built up divide and dissolve. I'm also getting the feeling that the man digging his grave is living a double life. Surrounded by "two houses" and "keeping (his) fingers behind (him)", as in lying about something.
    Inmotion12on February 10, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is depressing and powerful. It is about existing for the sake of not dying, forgetting lost dreams, and sacrificing happiness for short-term security.
    Nillerzon October 19, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think that this song is the narrator of "Once In A Lifetime" before reaching the point talked of in that song viewed through the eyes of those around him, watching him "digging his own grave", worrying about the future and implied rather than the constant ("let the water hold me down"), present, happening, and he still views time as holding him. It is the idea of a construct vs. a constant, so to speak.
    GlitteringPrizeson January 12, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe character in this song seems to be searching for a meaning in life, but is unable to break free of his work. By constantly working, he is digging his own grave- work is devouring his life, until he is dead and can no longer enjoy what he once could have had. He keeps trying to do something meaningful besides metaphorical digging, but there's "no time to begin" or it's just not the time, or people tell him to "get out of the way" so that they can do something instead. "So nothing was done." The female character is another person who is doing nothing worthwhile in her life, but instead of continuing to "dig" futilely, she simply gives up her hope. I wish I could comprehend all of the imagery about motion. There's always some layer in Talking Heads songs that makes sense, and then another layer that I can't understand no matter how hard I try. This song is amazing.
    EnduringChillon April 10, 2013   Link

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