"Reinvent the Wheel" as written by and Oberst....
My friend you were the model
A priceless work of art
Boys would fashion their emotions
To the pattern of your heart
And I heard you wrote that record
For a girl you loved but died
I'm here sewing mine together
Just hoping you're alive
And I know you'll never come back now
To the world where people are
Because you never understood
What they loved you for

Now ghosts, they have their secrets
And they'll tell them to a few
So you could never pay attention
When they're whispering to you
There were many talents you possessed
That I wished myself to have
But the way your eyes would gloss over
Well, I never envied that
And I doubt you'll ever come back now
From wherever it is you are
Because you never understood
What we loved you for

I'm sure the TV sets will tell us
When someone reinvents the wheel
Until then I'll have a million conversations
About shit that isn't real
But I've tried to breathe in meaning
Dig deep to every gasp of air
Because I know you did the same thing
For as long as you could bear
I guess everything just circles around
To where it was before
So I hope I see you soon
In some other form


Lyrics submitted by Tfil7

"Reinvent the Wheel" as written by Walt Aldridge Brad Crisler

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Reinvent the Wheel song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI'd say with almost 100 percent certaintity this song is about Tupac... It only makes sense.
    N8RTOTon January 29, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti agree with the entire elliott smith thing.

    the song 'the biggest lie', by elliott smith, conor covered it and it's on the motion sickness record.

    and in 2003 conor also did an elliott smith tribute with a bunch of other artists.
    it's not just like someone said 'oh, it must be about elliott.' there are significant things leading people to think that, not just the fact that he is a dead guy.

    the lines 'the way your eyes would gloss over...', elliott smith was a heroine addict a large portion of his life.
    as well, elliott smith was depressed, mainly from the drugs, so the line "tried to breathe in meaning
    dig deep to every gasp of air.." refers to the depression.

    i understand that that could refer to any drug addict who was depressed, but the connections that conor had with elliott, as well as the fact that they were both born in omaha makes it more likely that it would be him than tupac.
    lovenothing__on March 04, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThere were many talents you possessed
    That I wished myself to have
    But the way your eyes would gloss over
    Well, I never envied that


    hello... ELLIOT SMITH did heroin.
    steenahon May 26, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm a big NMH fan and I don't see how this references Jeff at all.

    "My friend you were the model
    A priceless work of art
    Boys would fashion their emotions
    To the pattern of your heart"

    Elliott Smith is the very first person that came to mind when I heard that verse. ES is someone that so many people identify with.

    "And I heard you wrote that record
    For a girl you loved but died"

    The ES song Condor Ave. is about getting in a fight with a g/f and she gets killed by a drunk driver, I'm not sure whether or not that song is fact though, but it could be a reference.

    He talks about sewing together a record, ES put so much work into his recording process.


    I'm sure the TV sets will tell us
    When someone reinvents the wheel

    So I hope I see you soon
    In some other form

    This part also reminds me of ES. First of all, we'll never reinvent the wheel, it just makes me think that's the message he's trying to get across is that Elliott Smith was such a great person, "work of art" and unfortunately we'll never see anyone else like him, and he hopes to see him in another form, that goes with the themes from cassadaga of spirituality and the dead crossing over and all that psychic, cosmic calendar stuff which I still don't understand.

    And steenah, I totally got heroine out of the line about eyes glazing over also.

    "Because I know you did the same thing
    For as long as you could bear"

    I'm pretty sure that by 2001 or 2002 a lot of people were starting to figure out ES was not long for the world. This kind of just sums up the whole ES idea. He was here for a while, he left us with a beautiful work of art being his music career, then he was gone once he said what he had to say. Kind of ghostly, i love the ghost imagery. I always thought ES voice was really ghostly and angelic.

    someone mentioned the line "I guess everything just circles around To where it was before" having to do with circling in a drain. ES was pretty close to death trying to od before he ever died. Heroine does that to you though...

    And the main reason it's about ES

    "Because you never understood
    What WE loved you for"

    Everyones I know who loves ES it's kind of a sick fascination that can't be described. Aside from his music he's not someone you'd want to aspire to be like. Not to take a shot at him, but I would not wish his fate on anyone else. That's just the meaning I found in this song though, feel free to challenge my thoughts.
    FYOD9on June 16, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionNot discounting the opinions that it's about Smith or Mangum, but I immediately thought, Sabrina Duim/Breezy. Inside the Cassadaga album, it says "For Breezy" and since this is off the Four Winds EP I imagine this was written around the same time (2007, when she died).

    However, I can definitely see it being about Mangum. And seeing the word "ghosts" (I know it's just a general word though) brings to mind "Ghost" by NMH, though that could just be my brain making connections.

    I'm less familiar with Smith though I know his work/have listened to songs/etc. Anyway, why can't the song be about all of them?
    amyynoelleon July 28, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Commentbout elliott smith?
    brandonbett02on January 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think Elliot Smith too. I really like the last line 'I hope to see you soon in some other form'. Apart from seeing him after death, it could refer to seeing someone else who was inspired by Elliot out there making music too, and inspiring people in turn. Or Someone else who is very good at it, being hailed as re-inventing the genre, when all they are doing has been done before.
    Evil Herbivoreon January 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentelliott is a safe bet, yet the line "boys fashioned their emotions.." doesnt fit. i guess it could in an artistic sense...that his music influenced others to feel.


    it could also be about rosemarie gentile....
    quirky_but_kewlon January 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthahah "and I heard you wrote that record for a girl who loved a guy" should be "and I heard you wrote that record for a girl you loved but died."
    wiretapxscarson February 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentActually. quirky, the line "Boys fashioned their emotions" could well apply to Elliott Smith's work.. I know that I've listened to his music and found my emotions in it before. But I think unless someone hears Conor reference to Elliott Smith, Tupac (yes!), or whoever before we can really say who it's about.. brilliant song though.
    forgetmynameon February 06, 2007   Link

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