"The Old Apartment" as written by Steven Page and Ed Robertson....
Broke into the old apartment
This is where we used to live
Broken glass, broke and hungry
Broken hearts and broken bones
This is where we used to live

Why did you paint the walls?
Why did you clean the floor?
Why did you plaster over
The hole I punched in the door?
This is where we used to live

Why did you keep the mousetrap?
Why didn't you keep the dish rack?
These things used to be mine
I guess they still are, I want them back

Broke into the old apartment
Forty-two stairs from the street
Crooked landing, crooked landlord
Narrow lane way filled with crooks
This is where we used to live

Why did they pave the lawn?
Why did they change the lock?
Why did I have to break it
I only came here to talk
This is where we used to live

How is the neighbor downstairs?
How is her temper this year?
I turned up your TV
And stomped on the floor just for fun

I know we don't live here anymore
We bought an old house on the Danforth
She loves me and her body keeps me warm, I'm happy here
But this is where we used to live

Broke into the old apartment
Tore the phone out of the wall
Only memories, fading memories
Blending into dull tableaux
I want them back

I want them back (This is where we used to live)
I want them back (This is where we used to live)
I want them back (This is where we used to live)
I want them back


Lyrics submitted by ToniteReprise

"The Old Apartment" as written by Steven Page Ed Robertson

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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The Old Apartment song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentI disagree with everyone so far... for most of the song you think that its about an old flame and where they used to live and how much he misses his old life, but the it has a surprise ending. you think that they've broken up, but really they moved out and lived happily ever after together... like they moved into a real home and started a family. "We bought an old house on the Danforth
    She loves me and her body keeps me warm
    I'm happy here
    But this is where we used to live" maybe i'm crazy cause i'm the only one who thinks this, but that was my interpretation.
    SoCoismywonderwallon July 04, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentIn one of the podcasts they made while making Barenaked Ladies Are Me, Steve and Ed were talking about this song and apparently the guy and his girlfriend did just move somewhere else and didn't break up and it's about not wanting to see what somebody else has done to someplace where you've made so many memories.

    Throughout the song the speaker is remembering things about the place (being broke, punching a hole in the wall, breaking a bone, etc.), which things the new tenants changed (painting the walls, changing the locks, cleaning the floor, getting rid of the old phone on the wall), and by seeing other people do things with what's left of these memories (they covered the hole, they're using the same dish rack and mousetrap) and generally changing what he did to his place, he wants it all to be the same again. The new tenants are changing things without knowing the sentimental value and are in a way destroying that value and those memories, and the speaker wants to have those memories and value back. (I want them back)
    Loial73on August 19, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis song describes part of my life. i moved and went back to visit my old town one year later. some things were the same but mostly everything changed.
    strummer117on October 05, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhen I hear the song I think about the first guy I ever lived with, and the studio apt we had at first. It was a cramped horrible gas smelling firetrap that was too small with too many nosey neighbors. I think about how much in love we were in that horrid little apt, and i think of the much better place we got together later on, but still the best memories are from the early days. That's what this song means to me, just recalling the days gone by.
    Lioness_Whisperson July 20, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song makes me think of the apartments I lived in when I was in college. Yesterday I took a trip to campus to visit some old friends, and I drove by two of the places I had lived in. I felt compelled to put this song in my CD player. Just makes me think of all the memories we made in those apartments and all the fun we had. Now it's over and I am in the real world. For those of you still in college--ENJOY YOUR TIME THERE!! It is the best years of our lives.
    des325on September 02, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhen I first heard this song it was haunting. I have been divorced for two years, and I can actually picture walking into our old house and asking my ex wife "Why did you paint the walls".....It was a very sad song until I finally read the entire lyrics. I have since met a wonderful girl, and the last line sums up the closure of my divorce...."She loves me and her body keeps me warm...and I'm happy here"
    cache65on April 16, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is about moving on. This guy likes his new life "she loves me and her body keeps me warm.. i'm happy here" but old memories come back to him by breaking into the old apartment where he once lived. This song pretty much explains itself.
    ToniteRepriseon July 21, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLike others have said, I've always thought this song was pure nostalgia. Most of us have that first miserable apartment we lived in where it was crowded and nothing worked and there were bugs or creeps in the alley and all we could do was imagine getting out of there and the hardships we have in that stage of life where we're just starting out and money is a struggle.

    The couple has moved on from there. They're more financially secure. They now have the dream house and possibly a car and a couple of kids too. The singer is happy with his life in general but with the new stage of life comes new challenges, possibly more complicated challenges like workplace politics, determining how to teach his children to do the right thing, drawing up a will, looking after aging in laws.

    He goes back to the apartment because part of him misses the simplicity of those early days when it was just the two of them living on love.

    He is angry that the place has changed because we're all a little narcissistic and deep down we tend to feel that we can change but other things should stay the way we left them. Deep down he felt like that old apartment would always be his.
    Sylviedon April 04, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHere's what it's about:

    "Steven Page has said that the song was partly inspired by "Back to the Old House" by The Smiths.[citation needed] While some[weasel words] have misinterpreted the lyrics to mean that the man in the song is stalking an ex-girlfriend and breaks into her apartment to terrorize her, Page has said that this is definitely not the case.[citation needed] The person in the song and his girlfriend are still together and happy, having "bought an old house on the Danforth" (Danforth Avenue in Toronto). However, he goes back to visit "the old apartment" "where we used to live," and winds up breaking in to reminisce. Although recalling "broken glass," the "crooked landing, crooked landlord," and other disadvantages, he nonetheless feels nostalgia for "fading memories / blending into dull tableaux."
    barkerbarkon March 19, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere is a rumor going arounf that this song has to do with domestic violence...I haven't made up my mind yet...
    beatls8on June 04, 2002   Link

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