In a wooden boat in the shipping lanes
With the freighters towering over me
I can hear the jets flying overhead
Making lines across the darkening sky

And when the sun is going down I can take a taxi into town
And the waiter at the restaurant sets a table just for one
Wheels keep on spinning round spinning round spinning round
Wheels keep on spinning round spinning round and round

So I had a plane to take me to a place so far away from you
Eventually we began to see that we could be completely free
And I could get away from you
And you could get away from me
And we could live each separately in our cities in the sun
Wheels keep on spinning round spinning round spinning round
Wheels keep on spinning round spinning round and round

In a CD karaoke bar
By the banks of the mighty Bosphorus
Is a Japanese man in a business suit singing "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes"
And the muscular cyborg German dudes dance with sexy French Canadians
While the overweight Americans wear their patriotic jumpsuits

Wheels keep on spinning round spinning round spinning round
Wheels keep on spinning round spinning round and round
(Spinning round)

Wheels keep on spinning round spinning round spinning round
Wheels keep on spinning round spinning round and round
(Spinning round)

(I don't know)
Why you say you are not in love with me
(I don't know)
Why you say you are not in love with me
(I don't know)


Lyrics submitted by Eamon

"Wheels" as written by John M Mccrea Carlos Forster

Lyrics © Stamen Music

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Wheels song meanings
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29 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentthe thing that makes me appreciate cake so much more than almost all other artists is the overall integrity of the layering of meaning in the poetry of the lyrics and within the instrumentals.

    within the short first verse john manages to evoke the images of three different modes of transit: sea, air, and land, all to make the painfully simple observation that he's eating dinner alone tonight.

    the second verse is the most straight-forward of the three verses, and it ultimately works to solidify the central theme of the song in a rather bald-faced way. i adore the shift from more observational/external poetry in the first verse to the more personal, gut-wrenching straight talk of this verse; it mirrors the crazy up and down emotions involved in a difficult break-up. note that the first line of this verse bridges from the first verse's transit imagery: "so i hired a plane to take me to, a place so far away from you..." the line: "and i could get away from you, and you could get away from me" would seem so pedestrian if it weren't for the perfect context that john sets the line within. as it is, i absolutely cherish it.

    the third, and last, verse is a bit of a digression from the main theme, which i believe is its intent: to bring back in some of the observational/external imagery from the first verse to further evoke the sense of detachment from the world while he is rather aimlessly running away from a relationship gone bad.

    wheels keep on spinning 'round, spinning 'round... the chorus is lovely for the reason i stated at the beginning: the layering of meaning. in his transit imagery and his (probably imagined) travels, wheels literally spin, within his mind thoughts of the relationship keep spinning 'round, getting mixed up with all of the things around him, and, ultimately, life goes on, or 'keep[s] on 'spinning round.'

    the sheer musicality of the outro would be enough to make it an excellent conclusion to the song, with the 5-part vocal harmonies layered harmonically and rhythmically within the instrumentals, but the lyrics make it really exceptional and, for me, moving. "I don't know why you say you are not in love with me," repeated until all that remains is the man's lonely voice: a return to the harsh mental anguish of the second verse, but in an even more stripped-down, emotive way.

    This is an amazing song. As somebody who recently lost a love of almost three years, I appreciate many of the songs on this album a great deal. I hope that my observations of the song are useful/interesting.
    belsambaron July 22, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentBosphorus is not A BIG RIVER.It is a strait that separates Europe and Asia.
    salviaaon October 28, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentWhat a poignant song about a relationship gone bad, but not in a I-hate-you-never-want –to-see-you-again way. The two people loved each other and have grown apart and realized they needed to go their own ways; however, it was the woman that made that decision, even if they both knew it needed to be.
    He opens as a man is in a wooden boat while all the transportation is bigger, faster and better. He feels like he’s just floating - surviving - but he can see the world is still moving on at its own speed without him. Even the taxi isn’t a self-reliant transportation – someone else is doing the moving – a stranger in fact. The fact he’s alone is nailed with the table set for one.
    The second verse is why I don’t believe that the relationship ended in a knock down drag out way. They went their separate ways, maybe even as a trial to “get space.” But they both see they live alone without each other fine. They don’t *need* each other. That is a sad realization to go from loving someone so deeply you can’t imagine live without them, to seeing that you don’t need each other at all.
    In the final verse, he is still on the outside looking in. He’s not at a five-star restaurant with a new date. He finds himself in a back street karaoke bar and is still not part of life, so he’s observing the stereotypes in action. He has not yet become a part of his life yet, he’s still observing and “along for the ride.” Imagine not being part of the scene, so you sit back and watch and see the actions and the behavior, but are not part of it.
    In the end, we realize, she called it off. She didn’t say she hated him - she didn’t cheat on him – she didn’t go psycho – she fell out of love, but he didn’t. That is painful to still love someone, and not have that closure of a relationship truly going south. All you have left is the echo of the words, “I don’t love you anymore.”
    tiger_splashon July 14, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe "mighty Bosphorus" is a big river in Turkey, for all who don't know.
    J.J.on November 24, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me, the speaker is running away from a relationship, going all over the world, but he can't escape her. Even though he pretends like he's over her, she saying she's not in love with him still haunts him. He can't help but notice that the waiter sets the table for one, because he is still alone, he hasn't found anyone else.
    Michelobon March 29, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe art of run away relationships.
    Or just run away from ex. As Michelob said "Even though he pretends like he's over her, she saying she's not in love with him still haunts him."
    It's a great song!
    anygirlon April 02, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSlight annoyance: the Bosphorus is a strait, not a river. But who cares, it's a great song.
    Raven92on May 30, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's basically just the stages of a breakup.

    The first step, you've broken up. You're sad, you notice the waiter sets the table for one, everything seems so lonely and you just want her back even if there's no chance in hell.

    The second step, you try to just deny it all and get the hell away as fast as you can. In this case he bought a plane trip to somewhere "far away from her". In this step he's in the mindset that he's over her, it can't be fixed and he's going to live with that.

    The final part (this is where he's chanting "Why you say you're not in love with me?!") is the breakdown that comes after that. With the emotion put into those words combined with the previous "setting" that has been put forth (the seedy karaoke bar, etc) I'd imagine the character in this song is drunk off his mind and is breaking down emotionally over this girl.

    The basic message I get from this song is things like break ups will happen, and your life will move on (wheels will keep spinning 'round) but it's so hard to forget someone that was a large part of your life like that.
    shadowpommyon May 24, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionI love when he says why you say that your not in love with me he sings that so well i love this song.
    dp9241loveron December 22, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn a seedy karaoke bar
    By the banks of the mighty Bosphorus
    Is a Japanese man in a business suit
    Singing "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"
    And the muscular cyborg German dudes
    Dance with sexy French-Canadians
    While the overweight Americans
    Wear their patriotic jumpsuits


    so good. cake's lyrics are always so meaningless, yet so meaningful. awesome song.
    andrewhambletonon November 02, 2004   Link

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