Black Out
Pavement Lyrics

Jump to: Overall Meaning | Line by Line Meaning

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 speaker 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 speaker 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 speaker's thoughts start to turn.

The final verse takes a more introspective turn, with the speaker 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 speaker 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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Comments from YouTube:

Paul Vidal

This track here may just go down as my favorite song of all time -- there's some kind of inherent beauty & nostalgia to it that just completely captivates me, even if I can't quite put my finger on it.

Michael Smith

Beautiful, timeless melody. Plus the 3 note variations at the end… Untouchable.

Peter Zuppardo

Pavement is so great at that: something amazing that you can't put your finger on


just a beautiful timeless song / the talent of stephen malkmus

Mark Wallner

No lyricist is better than Malkmus at understanding the musicality of words themselves - how certain words sound when placed together, and “Black Out” is one of the best examples of this. One of my favorite Pavement tunes, just a beautiful song all-around.

Alex Block

I wish this song was longer...but yet I am satisfied with it's duration at the same time....

Alex Block

Paul Vidal Yeah that is true

Paul Vidal

The best songs keep you wanting more!


This song is so good. I will always love pavement. I just wish I knee them when I was a kid in the 90s. It would have been brilliant

Merging Marky


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