"Paper Thin Walls" as written by and Brock/judy/green....
These walls are paper thin and everyone hears every little sound
Everyone's a voyeurist, they're watching me watch them watch me right now
They're shaking hands, they're shaking in their shoes, oh Lord don't shake me down
Everyone wants to move them and half of everyone else moves around
It's been agreed the whole world stinks so no one's taking showers anymore

Laugh hard, it's a long ways to the bank
I can't be blamed for nothing anymore
It's been a long time since you've been around
Laugh hard, it's a long ways to the bank
Tow the line to tax the time you know that you don't owe
I can't be a fool for everyone that I don't know

Lyrics submitted by PLANES, edited by ARampaginWalrus, bassmaster

"Paper Thin Walls" as written by Isaac Brock Eric Judy

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Paper Thin Walls song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentTo me it sounds like he's talking about dealing with the fame of being in a band. The first four lines are a just about how he's in the public eye by being in the band with everyone judging his music and his image. The "shakin hands/ shakin in their shoes" reminds me of record execs making deals and marketing Modest Mouse's music and being nervous that it will bring a profit. "Laugh hard... to the bank" and the last few lines are all about how he signed with a major label to make money and he's basically mocking other peoples reactions to it. "Its been a long time since you've been around" refers to all the "friends" you have come out of the woodwork once you make it big and the part about not being a fool for people he doesn't know is saying that he's not going to be a fool and turn down the money from a major label because he's afraid of some small minded "indie" kid that he doesn't know calling him a sell out on some message board.

    I'm not quite sure about the "half of everyone else" and "showering/ world stinking" part.
    egoat711on June 02, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI love The Moon and Antartica!
    i think it could be about the rape charge,

    i think he's saying that privacy has been destroyed, and that people nowadays are completely voyeuristic; everyone loves watching other people, especially people in the soptlight, especially people in the spotlight who have done something wrong (or in his case been falsely accussed of doing something wrong)
    "watch them WATCH ME WATCH THEM" - he (and everyone including you and me) are involved in the watching, everyone gets sucked into this cultural aspect

    "they're shaking hands" - people making decisions, "shaking in their shoes" - people nervous about the outcomes of the decisions (perhaps the girl who accused him is scared she's going to get found out, "oh lord dont shake me down" - he's hoping he's not going to go down for this

    "everyone wants two of them" - greed and selfishness "and half of everyone else.." - people want bits of other people - back to voyeurism we want to know all about them and this ends up with taking part of them for ourselves"
    then he basically says everyone in the world is disgusting (shower imagery)- self explanitory line

    laugh hard its a long way to the bank -- that girl think's she'll be 'laughing all the way to the bank" but he's saying laugh it up now (laugh hard) but its a long way to the bank aka dont count your money yet i'm not proven guilty yet and i wont be you've got a long time to go before you should be laughing

    then he's saying that he doesnt want to be the fool for everyone by taxing the time (jail time) for something he knows he didnt do
    scissorspaperrockon July 28, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMaybe there's a point saying that this is about the rape charge, or maybe he's just paranoid about people listening to him, but what caught my attention in the song was the sentence "It's been agreed, the whole world stinks, So no one's taking showers anymore" That single line made me laugh. It's kinda depressing, but somehow also very funny.
    blenderheadon July 22, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhether or not this is the correct song, one of the songs on Moon and Antarctica IS about the rape charge.
    lookwhereitgotyouon June 16, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Its been agreed, the whole world stinks "
    To me this means that everyone agrees that the world is a bad shape because of all the evil and wrong-doing that takes place on a daily basis.

    "So no ones taking showers anymore"
    People are actually using dirty-methods to get ahead, like a corperation using child-labour to increase profit. People who do try to live good lives are at such a disadvantage, and so no one bothers to clean up the world.
    Staffon October 21, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIts like the paper thin walls bit is reffering to how easy it is to see what other people are doing and fit in with the social norm.

    "These walls are paper thin
    And everyone hears every little sound
    Everyone's a voyeur, their watching me
    Watch them, watch me right now "

    Then he goes onto say that people will do what they must to get ahead even if they now its wrong.

    "They're shakin’ hands, they're shakin’ in their shoes
    Oh Lord, don't shake me down"

    And how greedy everyone is and how people in third world countires starve to keep the west fat and lazy.(no offence to any nice westeners)

    "Everyone wants two of them
    And half of everyone else who’s around"

    Then he goes on to say that since evryone acts this way its become okay to do so even if its really bad.

    "Its been agreed, the whole world stinks
    So no ones taking showers anymore"

    And then he says that all this greed is pointless ad eventually tiresome even if you find a little pleasure in it.

    "Laugh hard its a long ways to the bank."

    And eventually he goes on to say how he doesnt care how everyone else acts he's just going to be honest with himself and let everyone else get on with their lives and how he'll let himself be abused for others profit cos he doesnt care about the money. He'll no longer let himself be dragged down by others.

    "I can't be blamed for nothin’ anymore
    It's been a long time since you've been around
    Laugh hard it’s a long ways to the bank
    Tow the line to tax the time, you know
    That you don't owe
    I can't be a fool for everyone that I don't know"
    suspectofsubtletyon November 12, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI buy the rape thing.

    "Tow the line to tax the time, you know
    That you don't owe" probably talks about false accusations. (BTW, SparklingLemonade, it may well be "toe"- I've noticed quite a few misspellings and typos in his lyrics.)
    boo_ninnyon January 02, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment'the whole world stinks so no ones taking showers anymore' - everythings so shit, people are so awful then who cares, he must have done it, i think thats what its saying, how people always believe the worst and no one beleives that people can or will better themselves..
    novelwithcocaineon October 10, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is just what the song meant to me. when i first heard this song i was serving 3 years in state prison and the lyrics fit perfect for that situation. indeed it felt like all the walls were paper thin and everything you said or did was broadcast to the world. everyone was constantly watching trying to make sure someone wasn't going to try something and you had to watch everyone else for the same reason. 'Oh Lord, don't shake me down' was particularly interesting because thats what it was called when the guards went through all your stuff looking for contraband and most people tried to look out for their buddies and warn them if they got advance word of guard movement, thus 'They're shaking hands, they're shaking in their shoes '
    as it's been said, 'Laugh hard, it's a long way to the bank' always made me think of how much money the whole ordeal cost me for lawyer fees and restitution and how much some people seemed to profit from my problems. 'It's been a long time since you've been around' struck home with how many people said they would be there for me but quickly forgot i existed once i was out of sight. 'I can't be blamed for nothing anymore' was how i felt about doing my time and the false hope that once it was over it would be over. 'Tow the line to tax the time, you know That you don't owe' was how i felt about being punished for something i didn't feel i deserved, or at least the punishment not fitting the crime. 'I can't be a fool for everyone that I don't know' was how i felt about people that i never met and had nothing to do with letting me know exactly what they thought of me and how i had to decide that i couldn't worry myself with everyone's opinion.
    there are a lot of versus in MM songs that have some sort of jail reference. you can take these songs however you feel and apply them to whats going on in your life at the moment. i believe that's what gives them substance.
    fitsallsizeson August 02, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentReally? That's interesting. This is my favorite Modest Mouse song
    Chiisushion May 18, 2002   Link

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