"Come on Up to the House" as written by and Tom Waits....
Well, the moon is broken and the sky is cracked
Come on up to the house
The only things that you can see is all that you lack
Come on up to the house

All your crying don't do no good
Come on up to the house
Come down off the cross, we can use the wood
You gotta come on up to the house

Come on up to the house
Come on up to the house
The world is not my home
I'm just a-passing through
You got to come on up to the house

There's no light in the tunnel, no irons in the fire
Come on up to the house
And you're singing lead soprano in a junkman's choir
You got to come on up to the house

Does life seem nasty, brutish and short
Come on up to the house
The seas are stormy and you can't find no port
Got to come on up to the house, yeah

You gotta come on up to the house
Come on up to the house
The world is not my home I'm just a-passing through
You got to come on up to the house, yeah

You gotta come on up to the house
Come on up to the house
The world is not my home
I'm just a-passing through
You got to come on up to the house

There's nothing in the world that you can do
You gotta come on up to the house
And you been whipped by the forces that are inside you
Gotta come on up to the house

Well, you're high on top of your mountain of woe
Gotta come on up to the house
Well, you know you should surrender, but you can't let it go
You gotta come on up to the house, yeah

Gotta come on up to the house
Gotta come on up to the house
The world is not my home I'm just a-passing through
You gotta come on up to the house

Gotta come on up to the house
You gotta come on up to the house
Yeah yeah yeah


Lyrics submitted by jawbrokenrhymes, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"Come on Up to the House" as written by Thomas Alan Waits Kathleen Brennan

Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Come on Up to the House song meanings
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27 Comments

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  • +8
    General CommentIn the 17th Century, English Philosopher, Thomas Hobbes wrote of a world that would find itself in a conflict described as a “war of all against all.” Hobbes described the lives of those involved in the conflict as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Over three and a half centuries later another Thomas would pose a more than similar question, asking “does life seem nasty, brutish and short?” However in this situation, artist and modern day luminary, Thomas Alan Waits follows up this question with an invitation, Waits encourages us to “come on up to the house.”

    In 1999 Tom Waits concluded an album entitled “Mule Variations” with this request, “Come On Up To The House.” An orthodox gospel song in which Waits is perfectly cast in the part of the visionary theologian of bad news. With a growl that could only come out of the middle of the earth, we’re described an existence that is made up of swirling chaos, madness, and despair. “There’s no light in the tunnel, no irons in the fire,” and your only option is, “you gotta come on up to the house.” In this house, I imagine a safe haven for all of us that identify with the thought that, “the world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ thru.” If the artistry of Tom Waits is an insight as to what you will find inside the house, certainly it will be filled with all the “street sweepers and all the night watchmen flame keepers.” Every “Black Market Baby,” “Eyeball Kid,” and “Gin Soaked Boy” can find rest in this place.
    As an artist, I can’t help but be affected by the images described and the truth that can be found in this work. It is the horse’s mouth, the secret language of the innovator.

    Throughout the piece you are taken on a private tour of the storyteller’s scars and, like all good art, you slowly realize that these scars, in some way, mirror your own. My longing for artistry is a direct result of my feelings of displacement in this world I’m to call my home. “The seas are stormy” and I too “can’t find the port.” So I have begun my ascent to the “house.” This is a house of workmanship, imagination, originality and style without number. I find myself on a road that stretches me and causes me to expand as a creator. And when if I begin to relate too closely to the lyric, “you been whipped by the forces that are inside of you,” I look to the house of beauty and brilliance to which I aspire and I progress.

    The song ends with an impassioned howl and a fiery piano pounding of a high chord. It seems that Waits was bound to the will of this composition, even to the very end, an artistic inclination that everyone should share.
    yoursfortherevolutionon September 15, 2010   Link
  • +4
    General CommentLike a warm wave of sympathy, leave your self pity aside and come back home...
    omer_sharavon April 08, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOne of my favorite waits songs. When I hear this I get such a warm feeling inside that I don't get from any other song.

    The line "Come down off the cross/we can use the wood" is so beautiful. To me it means that all the energy you put into self-pity in an attempt to alienate yourself or rise above everyone else, could be put into building something worthwhile with everyone else in the same situation. GOD THIS SONG IS BEAUTIFUL.
    Fridayon April 15, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Commentsometimes there's nothing in the world that you can do (moon is broken/sky is cracked), you fell useless and worthless ( you see all you lack), there's no light (no hope) no irons (your not acheiving anything), crying and worring makes no difference we're small and insignificant.

    the house is the place you need to go to realise you dont have power over anything thats worth anything. the house is when you surrender and say. fuck it. dont worry about work or money or success or whatever, just live.
    *jasper*on November 27, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI just listened to "Mule Variations" for the first time the other day. I thought "Take It With Me" was the most beautiful closer to an album I'd heard in a while. Then I realised it wasn't the last song and I was a little disappointed because I didn't think the album could surpass that.. but this song is just brilliant. The music feels like the end of something - and Waits' lyrics aren't patronising, they're delivered from experience, from a man who's put himself on the cross before... in that sense, it is a very cathartic song - the album, whilst varied, is emotionally charged and this is a touching denouement.
    grazbosson August 25, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentlove this song, i find it to be quite similar to a poem by sufi poet rumi that starts "Come, come, whoever you are" google it.
    Elliotton May 22, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSuch a heartfelt song. Makes me appreciate my life every time I hear it.
    gweepson November 30, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSounds to me like some kind of religious hymnal or a preacher preaching. Hes saying if your life's bad, you need to come to the house. The "house of the lord"?

    "The world is not my home
    I'm just a passin thru"
    Heaven is home.

    You could take it that hes being sarcastic and saying that the church is preying on the down and troubled for their own gain (money)
    ruarchitecton October 12, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"And your singin lead soprano
    In a junkman's choir"

    As I have found with every one of his songs, there are one or two lines that just jump out at me. These are great. There have been times I feel like I am a soprano in a junkmans choir.
    hakimikeon May 02, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaningits a song about death: "come on up to the house" is a reluctant grim reaper beckoning a dying man to come up to heaven. its soothing, but eerie in a kinda beatiful, waits-ian way! death seems graceful....

    other lines suggest this too:

    Well the moon is broken
    And the sky is cracked
    (the grim reaper is like an angel of death, coming from the heavens above)
    The only things that you can see
    Is all that you lack
    (everything you see is now gone, coz you're dead and coming off this earth

    All your cryin don't do no good
    (there is no resistance to it)
    Come down off the cross
    We can use the wood
    (talking to jesus before his death)


    The world is not my home
    I'm just a passin thru
    Come on up to the house
    (earth is not his home, he just passes through to collect his bill)

    There's no light in the tunnel
    (this is the end, the cut-off for your life)

    Does life seem nasty, brutish and short
    (on one's deathbed, one finally understands the finite nature of life and mortal man)
    The seas are stormy
    And you can't find no port
    (a ship at sea sinking, captain about to die)
    There's nothin in the world
    (this world is meaningless to you now coz you're dead)

    there's nothin in the world
    that you can do
    (its inevitable to all mortal men)
    and you been whipped by the forces
    that are inside you
    (death drive within everyone pushes them to live life, but now death is here it seems to backfire)
    well you're high on top
    of your mountain of woe
    (grief before departing this world)
    well you know you should surrender
    but you can't let go
    (its hard to let go of life, but you must release and come up to heaven)
    mr093242on August 12, 2011   Link

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