Vanessa Carlton: White Houses Meaning
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White Houses Lyrics
This little bungalow with some strange new friends
Stay up too late, and I'm too thin
We promised each other it's til the end
Now we're spinning empty bottles
It's the five of us
With pretty eyed...
1TOP RATED#1 top rated interpretation:anonymous Aug 23rd 2009 report
Okay well this is pretty easy interpret. The girl (Vanessa) went to a ballet camp. There were 5 girls all together in the bunks at the camp. The bunks were called white houses. Thus the name of the song. It says she crashed on the floor when she first moved in, meaning when she first came to the camp she crashed on the floor when she stepped through the door. Some strange new friends represents the other girls in the bunk. well the girls had inside jokes ("Beer through through the nose on an inside joke") they liked to party, and their was a girl named Jenny who was "so pretty and confident" and got the "guy in the red shirt" to kinda like her. well Vanessa thought that she was "more clever than a girl like her" meaning she could win the guy over. well she does and goes to his car. Thus the "cracked leather seats" and "the smell of gasoline in the summer heat" she then starts to "come undone at the things he said" before she knows it she "puts herself in his hands" then she looses her virginity " my first time hard to explain. rush of blood, oh, and a little bit of pain" she is in love with him but he only wants a fling. She is hurt "love, or something ignites in my veins" she then realizes she's made a mistake "he was my first mistake" she feels "so far from where I've been." and she realizes her friend probably would have been better being with him because her and the rest of them were "faster than me,we gave each other up so easily, these silly little wounds will never mend" so she decides to give up on her love for the guy "I lie, put my injuries all in the dust " and then she leaves. ("So I go, and I will not be back here again, I'm gone as the day is fading on white houses") she never forgets her friends though "In my heart is the five of us" and then she gets over him "Maybe you'll remember me, what I gave you is yours to keep" (what she means in 'what I gave you is yours to keep' meaning you can keep my virginity I don't want need it anymore) oh and white houses symbolize purity and that she's saying that she left her innocence behind at that camp. and when she says we were all in love and we all got hurt, she means Jenny was hurt because she stole 'the red shirt' guy from her and Vanessa was hurt because he didn't love her back. well that was very long so thanks for reading. I hope I got it right :)
2TOP RATED#2 top rated interpretation:anonymous Feb 4th 2006 report
The song is about a summer intensity program, like a summer camp-type thing that hardcore ballerinas do in preparation to begin to dance professionally, as she was on track to do. They are usually held on a campus, in nicer, sorority-type dorms (the White Houses). She's talking about her new ballerina buddies she met, that's why she's "too thin". They have fun and party and meet boys, but are also highly competitive with each other- (Maybe I'm more clever than a girl like her). Since most of these girls spend hours a day dancing, they don't attend regular school, and spend a lot of time with older boys, so hense, her first sexual encounter. This is all courtesy of my roommate, btw, once a ballerina, who instantly knew what the song was about, and explained it to me.
3TOP RATED#3 top rated interpretation:anonymous Nov 30th 2007 report
This song is about all the trials and tribulations of growing up. First she moves out and meets some new possibly more experienced ("maybe they were all a little faster than me") friends. She was jealous of jenny because jenny's confident and beautiful. The the girl is smart. They like the boy in the red shirt and although jenny's pretty and outgoing, the girl maybe can outsmart her. She does and she and the boy have sex in his car. She describes what it is like to lose your virginity, as a girl. She thought he cared about her, but all he wanted was a summer fling. She feels she made a mistake a great like is "love, or something in my veins" meaning she's aware its not love that's driving her to do what she does. Many think its lust; I thunk its triumph. I think even thought at one point in the song she does hesitate, the idea of beating jenny to the boy makes her continue. The white represents purity and the houses are where her not so innocent secrets will be stored. Vanessa said that she practiced ballet at an academy and the bunks were called "white houses."
Hope that might have been a little helpful!
anonymous Mar 26th 2012 report
White Houses is simply about the phases of life, it's about growth, scars, youth, unconfidence, feeling different, being cheated and hardened, leaving behind your innocence and your mistakes, and feeling of being on your on for the very first time. Summary, it's about adolescence.
The lyrics follow a story-line structure and you could tell they're pretty autobiographical,though Vanessa says this song is just something she put together without no personal meaning. Anyway, what's most amazing in it is that you can hear in it all the thoughts that run through a teen-aged girl's mind on her first experiences with love, indipendence and hurt. The story is about a girl leaving for a vacation - she goes to a little bungalow where she meets her room mates, maybe a camping or something. Here she finds the atmosphere you can imagine among a group of five teen-aged girls and boys all in the same house and with no parents, chemicals in the air, crazy-partying all day, spinning bottles and butterflies in the stomach; and there's the classical confident and out-going pretty girl, who shows off, and nice and funny boys and the protagonist tries to fit in and to find her own place among them.
Crashed on the floor when i moved in,
This little bungalow with some strange new friends
Stay up too late, and i'm too thin
We promise each other it's till the end
a hint to the fleeting promises of adolescence, still in its good intentions;
Now we're spinning empty bottles, it's the five of us
With pretty eyed boys girls die to trust
I Can't resist the day, I can't resist the day
there are sparks in the air and what's coming next is preluded by this line, "with pretty eyed boys girls die to trust": the contrast between the romance longed by teen girls blinded with their naivety, against the unconstance of boys.
Jenny screams out and it's no pose
cause when she dances she goes and goes
Beer through the nose on an inside joke
And I'm so excited I haven't spoken
And she's so pretty and she's so sure
Maybe I'm more clever than a girl like her
So here starts out Jenny, the girl who's in the spotlights - everybody knows at least one of this kind of girls: beautiful, self-confident, winsome and socially accepted; and the protagonist looks at her show from a distance, comparing herself - a little shy, not so talkative or noisy, and clumsy (ribbing herself by saying that the beer she was drinking went through her nose when she laughed at a joke) to this girl who dances so easily. It turns out she envies this kind of girl, still aware of being more clever than that.
And summer's all in bloom, summer's ending soon
This line particulary means something to me: it kind of explains how fast the time goes, but it also shows the quickiness of the passing phases of adolescence: so many things happen that summer seems to fly away.
it's alright, and it's nice not to be so alone
but i hold on to your secrets, in white houses
Part of this song is also experiencing the first time you live on your own. But sometimes, when you're 17 years old, loneliness scares you, even though it's all you ever ask for, being left alone, being indipenent; it happens you feel lost, and so it's good if you have someone of your age around you, feeling the same way, excited, at first.
maybe i'm a little bit over my head,
I come undone at the things he says
He's so funny in his bright red shirt
We were all in love, and we all got hurt
I sneak into his car's cracked leather seat
The smell of gasoline in the summer heat
Boy, we're going way too fast; it's all too sweet to last
We can all understand times like this: the heat, the smells of summer and the laughter, you start falling and everything goes out of control... and you feel love all around you, but young love always ends up like this, you hurt. Then this is what you remember, details, like the smell of gasoline or the cracked leather of the seats in a car, what intense moments leave in your skin.
it's alright, and i put myself in his hands
but i hold on to your secrets in white houses
love, or something ignites in my veins
and i pray it never fades, in white houses.
This is one of the most relevant phases of adolescence, what makes you grow up more than anything else: love, or what you think that is, makes you go crazy and give yourself away not even realizing what you're doing, because teenagers love in a way that no grown-up person can even remember: naively, blindly, unrationally.
my first time, hard to explain
rush of blood, and a little bit of pain
on a cloudy day, it's more common than you think
he's my first mistake.
Here the great drama about losing virginity is lowered and drained, and this is how it leaves you once you know you made a mistake. The bare and poor narration made of hints is a brilliant choice to make this clear; the few words are sung slowly and almost whispered.
Maybe you were all faster than me
We gave each other up so easily
Here the protagonist feels like she's standing apart from the way all her friends gave their bonds up; she sees how they barely feel the break up, while she's taking much time for the pain her wounds caused her.
These silly little wounds will never mend,
I feel so far from where I've been
So I go, and I will not be back here again
I am gone as the day is fading in white houses
So this is the feel of when everything seems wrong, you feel hurt and forgotten, and you feel you've changed, hardened, like what you had been before and what you did is something you don't reckognize as a part of you; all you want is to erase it all, including yourself, and you think that leaving is the only way to do that.
I lie, put my injures all in the dust
In my heart is the five of us, in white houses
And you, maybe you'll remember me
What I gave you is yours to keep, in white houses
Finally, she turns to the boy who broke her heart and stole all she had; he will never be able to give that back, so she feels that even though she's leaving she'll always be tied to him.
anonymous Mar 28th 2011 report
I did go to a similar summer program (Pacific Northwest Ballet School) in Seattle. As a dancer it's really intense from a really young age and you get judged a lot especially with being thin in on auditions. I was really involved in the same world as her at the same age, but I don't think that "white houses" represents dancing at all. (most are on college campuses or in the dorming rooms at the schools themselves, never referenced as houses) Most of the guys aren't interested in girls at these programs, if you know what I mean, NO ONE has a car, drinking is strictly prohibited, and people are generally amazing dancers, but definitely not party people. They train to hard for that. It's more likely a summer spent somewhere like Mission Beach in a bungalow at more of a college age. She gave up dance at fourteen, guys.
anonymous Jan 2nd 2011 report
For some reason, I always thought that this song was about a girl who moves in with these people she doesn't know (so she doesn't have to pay much for a dorm in college/rent for apartment??), the inside jokes line always made me think that she felt left out on some of the things the others were doing. She becomes infatuated with a girl there, Jenny, but soon realizes she's better than her, and hooks up with a guy who also lives with them, and how she gives up her time spent with the rest of her friends just to be with this one guy who she finds out just wanted her for a "one night stand" sort of thing. So in her anger and realization of her and her friend's falling out, leaves, and when reminiscing about it, regrets ever leaving
anonymous Apr 9th 2010 report
the song is about venessa(as a ballet dancer) going to a ballet camp and the dorm is called white houses. she meets five new girls and theres one named jenny who is a great dancer that sets her up with the red shirt guy. they go to his car and she looses her virginity. she regrets it and leaves the camp. its a great song!
anonymous Jan 15th 2010 report
i think it's about a girl and her five friends all falling in love, and she's jealous of jenny. she falls in love with a boy and gives up her innocence,or virginity ,("we're going way too fast." "my first time, hard to explain") and she looks back and regrets it, and holds on to her secrets of what went on in "whitehouses"
I think this song is about a girl (Vanessa) at camp with her 5 strange new friends, and they call there bunks "white houses". one girl, jenny, is so pretty and confident and this guy with the "red shirt" likes her. Vanessa thinks she may be cleverer than jenny and tries to get the guy with the red shirt. She thinks she's in love with him and has sex with him, only to realize that's all he really wanted from her. "we were all in love and we all got hurt" Vanessa loved this shirt dude but he didn't love her and jenny got him taken away from her. when she says "what I give you is yours to keep", I think she's talking about this shirt guy again telling him "keep my virginity I don't want it". Idk...my friend and I kinda pieced it together like that...if that makes any sense...:)
anonymous Oct 28th 2009 report
Well. This song pretty much describes my summer. Haha, yeah. You meet an older boy, he makes you feel special (I come undone at the things he said) you think you're in love, he starts going too fast... and then it happens. Rush of blood, pain. Its fun and and exciting and scary all at the same time and you can't do anything to stop it and you don't want to stop it until its over and it hurts and he's gone and you don't understand... Its the worst and best thing in the entire world. And Vanessa captured all of those emotions and put them in song. It's beautiful. Made me cry.
anonymous Oct 8th 2009 report
I think the white houses part symbolizes her virginity, and when she says beer up the nose, she means someone was laughing so hard beer came up their nose. And before she has sex for the first time, they're playing spin the bottle, and it gets out of hand she ends up in this guy's car.
anonymous Aug 1st 2009 report
I saw a quote from her saying it was about loosing your virginity and going away form home for the first time, and how you cna go into a situation naive and come out knowing about the real world.
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