Sometimes a certain smell will take me back to when I was young How come I'm never able to identify where it's coming from? I'd make a candle out of it, if I ever found it Try to sell it, never sell out of it, I'd probably only sell one It'd be to my brother, 'cause we have the same nose Same clothes, home grown, a stone's throw from a creek we used to roam But it would remind us of when nothing really mattered > Out of student loans and tree house homes, we all would take the latter

In this context what is the meaning of tree house homes? it means bad residental place like attic?


Looking at the context, the song appears to be about nostalgic childhood memories. There is mention of smells taking the person back to when they were young.

Given the title of the song "stressed out" I would say that the song is suggesting that their "adult" life is too stressful and the writer (or first person in the song) is wishing for a return to childhood.

A "tree house" is a child's play-house constructed in the branches of a tree, usually with a ladder to climb into it. True, there are other kinds of tree-houses which actually function as real homes, but in the context of the song I believe it is referring to a child's tree-house.

Student loans are monies loaned to students in order to pay for their higher education (university). There are a number of "stresses" attached to these, mainly that they reportedly do not cover all expenses needed during study, and must be paid back later.

I would therefore suggest that the lyric:

Out of student loans and tree house homes, we all would take the latter

..means that the person would rather return to their childhood (the tree-house) than deal with their present stress (the student loan).

  • +1 The song-writer is taking a slight liberty here for the sake of a rhyme with roam. Kids call these things "tree-houses" not "tree-house homes". At least I've never heard these playhouses in the trees called "tree-house homes" Oct 17 '18 at 12:59
  • Student loans in the US: forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2018/06/13/… Oct 17 '18 at 13:02

There is a play on words here:

Between student loans and tree house homes, student loans representing adulthood, treehouse homes representing childhood, we all would take the latter- meaning we miss and prefer the childhood.

He uses the word "Latter" as he is picking the second of the two, but it also could be meant as "ladder", as in he's taking the ladder to climb up into the treehouse. This is a clever way to establish his preference of the treehouse homes, or the "childhood" memory. Whether you perceive it as Latter or Ladder, they both represent the same choice. This is very poetic and these types of play on words are used a lot in hip hop and rap, Eminem being famous for this.

There is a third part to this that is a bit darker - ladder is a street name for "Xanax", a drug that combats anxiety that is often abused. The pill is rectangular with rungs and looks like a ladder. The singer is hinting that between childhood and adulthood, they end up taking xanax to deal with the stress of growing up. "out of student loans and treehouse homes, we all would take the xanax". Most people probably don't pick up on this, and that's probably the intention as it is a radio-friendly song. You could argue about this third meaning, but knowing the personality of the song writer and his creativity with plays on words, I would definitely not put it past him.

  • Wow, I love your interpretation! Nice first answer, and welcome to the site!
    – M.A.R.
    Jan 7 '19 at 20:49

To add to Astralbee's good answer...

out of is a colloquial way of introducing several things from which one can choose.

Out of a new car, a two-month vacation, or a raise in salary, which would you choose?

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