Black Out
Pavement Lyrics

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Sunday drive past your own hall of fame
It's closed on weekdays, shut for good
Pick out no one when you're talking
Thoughts like rattlesnakes were walking
No one has a clue

The parting shots
The thin caught fault line
Dancing across the frigid air shafts
A spastic grass, a criminal's child

Count to ten and read until the lights begin to bleed
Lights, 'til you actually see the rays
And your thoughts, they start turning
Just lessons that you're learning
No one has a clue

The gauzy thoughts of those dirty Scots
Wrestling with the elements up on the trail high
I need to know where does it go?
How do I get there and what will I find?

Fun, fun, fun, fun for the summertime blues

It's gonna set you free
Fun, fun, fun, fun for the summertime blues

Overall Meaning

The opening lines of Pavement's song "Black Out" introduce a sense of disillusionment and loneliness. The singer is driving past their own "hall of fame," only to find it closed and deserted. This sense of emptiness is compounded by the realization that they have no one to confide in; their inner thoughts are like "rattlesnakes were walking." The party is over, and the thin caught fault line of reality is exposed.

The second verse introduces a sense of chaos and confusion. The singer perceives that "no one has a clue," signaling a breakdown in communication and understanding. The spastic rats and criminal chatter further create an atmosphere of disorder, and the counting to ten and reading is an attempt to maintain control. However, ultimately, the lights begin to "bleed," and the singer's thoughts start to turn.

The final verse takes a more introspective turn, with the singer reflecting on the "gauzy thoughts" of the "sturdy Scots" who "wrestle with the elements." There is a sense of wanderlust and longing for adventure, as the singer wonders "where does it go" and "what will I find." The chorus serves as a reminder that despite this sense of uncertainty and confusion, "no one has a clue" - perhaps implying that we are all stumbling through life without a clear sense of direction or purpose.

Line by Line Meaning

Sunday drive past your own hall of fame
You are reminiscing about the past and all of your accomplishments that are memorialized, but currently you are just driving by without stopping.

It's closed on week days shut for good
The hall of fame is only open on the weekends, so you cannot even visit to look back on your successes or find validation.

You've got no one when you're talking
When you speak, there is no one that truly listens and understands what you are saying.

Thoughts like rattlesnakes were walking
Your thoughts feel dangerous and unpredictable, like venomous snakes slithering around in your mind.

No one has a clue
Nobody can comprehend or relate to the thoughts that are consuming you.

The party's shot
The good times are over and you feel like you missed out or were never really part of the fun in the first place.

The thin caught fault line dancing
Something is not quite right and you can feel it, like a small misalignment in the tectonic plates that could cause a seismic shift.

Across the frigid air shack
You are experiencing a sense of coldness and detachment from the world around you, as if you are trapped in a shack of loneliness.

The spastic rats,
Your thoughts are frenzied and chaotic, like rats running wild in a frenzy.

The criminals chat
The negative thoughts in your mind are conspiring together, almost as if they are criminals hatching a plan.

Count to ten and read
Try to calm yourself down and distract your thoughts by counting and reading something else.

Until the lights begin to bleed lights
Keep yourself occupied until evening comes and the lights become fuzzy or blurry with a sense of exhaustion and weariness.

Until you actually see the rays
You need the light of a new day to break through your darkness and provide hope and positivity.

And your thoughts then start to turn and
Once the light shows you a new way of thinking, you will begin to shift your perspective and focus more on the positive.

Those lessons that you're learning
You are gaining knowledge and insight from your struggles and pains.

No one has a clue
Despite learning and growing, nobody truly understands the battles that you face or the triumphs you earn.

The gauzy thoughts of the sturdy Scots
Your thoughts are dreamy and hazy, like a Scottish mist that is hard to see through but still feels strong and grounded.

Wrestle with the elements
You are struggling with the uncontrollable forces around you, like a wrestler in a ring who must find a way to unite strength and strategy.

Up on the trail high
You are searching for a higher path or purpose than what is currently in front of you.

I need to know where does it go
You are yearning for clarity and direction in your life, to know where you should be headed and what you should be striving for.

How do I get there and what will I find
You want to map out a plan for reaching your goals and hope that the journey itself will bring growth and fulfillment.

Fun for the summertime blues
Even amidst your struggles and challenges, there can be moments of joy and lightheartedness during the summer season.

Written by: Stephen Joseph Malkmus

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