Vacancy

Album: Homegrown (2020)

Songfacts®:

  • On the surface, "Vacancy" seems to be a poisonous woman pretending to be a good one. Looking closer, though, it's clear that the song is about a woman who has changed over time from a loving partner into a toxic one.

    The key is in the last line of the chorus:

    Why aren't you showing through?

    The question wouldn't make sense if Young was singing about two different people. The whole song is him talking to a woman he no longer recognizes from the one he fell in love with.

    The person he's speaking to is almost certainly actress Carrie Snodgress, the mother of his first child. Young has spoken at length about how all the songs from Homegrown were recorded during the turbulent time after he learned that Snodgress was sleeping around on him. The experience was so traumatic that he buried this recording, along with the rest of the album, for nearly 50 years. He didn't release the album until June 19, 2020.

    "Vacancy" deals with the Snodgress breakup about as unambiguously as any other song on the set.
  • According to the Neil Young Archives, Young recorded this one at his home studio, Broken Arrow, on January 4, 1975.
  • This was the second and last Homegrown single that Young released to the public prior to releasing the album as a whole. He put it out on the Neil Young Archives website on June 10, 2020, following the May 13 release of "Try."

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