We took the freeway out of town
We found a place to settle down
We bought a driveway and a swingset and a dog
You got your very own bathroom
I got my very own workshop in the basement

We sit around staring at the wall-to-wall
Take field trips to our favorite mall
Waiting for the day when all the kids grow up and leave us here

If you need me
I’ll be downstairs
With the shop vac
You can call but I probably won’t hear you
Because it’s loud with the shop vac on
But you’ll be OK
Cause you’ll be upstairs
With the TV
You can cry and I probably won’t hear you
Because it’s loud with the shop vac on

We hung a flag above the door
Checked out the gourmet grocery store
I bought a mower I can ride around the yard
But we haven’t got real friends
And now even the fake ones have stopped calling

Maybe if you forget to hide the keys
I’ll take a ride to Applebee’s
I’ll come home drunk on daiquiris and throw up on the neighbor’s lawn

If you need me
I’ll be downstairs
With the shop vac
You can call but I probably won’t hear you
Because it’s loud with the shop vac on
But you’ll be OK
Cause you’ll be upstairs
With the TV
You can cry and I probably won’t hear you
Because it’s loud with the shop vac on

I like the Starbucks here that’s better than the other one
Because the other one’s not as good
They really need to put a light there cause it’s hard to turn
It’s hard to make a left turn

And when it’s time to go to bed
I’m still awake inside my head
I’m floating up above the house and looking down
I guess I gotta go back there
I guess there never was any other answer

And as the freeway hums the cars go by
The headlights roll across the sky
Many miles away but I can see them speeding through the dark

If you need me
I’ll be downstairs
With the shop vac
You can call but I probably won’t hear you
Because it’s loud with the shop vac on
But you’ll be OK
Cause you’ll be upstairs
With the TV
You can cry and I probably won’t hear you
Because it’s loud with the shop vac on


Lyrics submitted by emerlee

Shop Vac song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThis is a good song about the hell that is modern life - where you live a shell of an existence in suburbia, doing the same damn thing every day.
    Occams_Harmonyon December 31, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthaha wow i thought this song was about a vacuum until i saw the lyrics :D i agree with the other guy
    X_pirate16on April 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCoulton has described it as his "Fountains of Wayne" suburban angst song.
    GeraldFnordon June 02, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI just saw Coulton at Ohayocon this weekend, and when he introduced this song he noted that he lives in New York City, and that there is this nightmarish place known as the suburbs, of which this song is written.
    cabanastyleson February 03, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about growing up and becoming a boring, soulless shell of a person that watches Grey's Anatomy. You buy a house, a driveway, a swingset, and a dog. You have fake friends and nothing to talk about other than why you like this Starbucks better than the other one. You have nothing to do other than vacuum your workshop. This song is full of satire, and I love it. <3 JC
    Babkockdoodon December 22, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like Mike Spiff's interpretation(he did a music video with WoW graphics for this song):

    "This song is an ode to suburban angst, which is where people move out to the suburbs to get big houses with big yards and driveways, and everything seems great until they begin to realize that there's nothing to do in the suburbs except go to strip malls and eat at chain restaurants and wait until the kids grow up and leave you.

    This phenomenon is exemplified in the shop vac, a tool found in many suburban garages for sucking up leaves, dirt, nails, or whatever. When you first use a shop vac, it seems like the most awesome thing ever. But then you realize it's just a vaccum cleaner."
    Dan Da Manon January 30, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnybody know what the voice in the background towards the end is saying?
    CoachMcGuirkon February 28, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love how the last line begins with "Many Miles Away", a reference to the great Police song from the 1980s (aka Synchronicity II) which was also a scathing indictment of suburban family life.
    WillGuitarmanon January 28, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about my neighbors, who have kids, jobs, and nothing better to do on a weekend than HANDWASH THEIR GARAGE DOOR during the day, and shop vac everything until 11:30 at night.

    Dang they need a hobby.
    bpatrickon January 18, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHas anyone noticed that the man dies in this song. He describes how 'it's hard to make a left turn' it then screeches into a guitar solo symbolising the crash and if you listen carefully there is background noise of a news report of the crash. He is then 'up above the house and looking down'
    JamesCourton May 17, 2013   Link

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