Half a Canyon
Pavement Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Ah shit, baby
Canyon bro', your life is worked in
Dream about the witch trials
You get all too hot of pepper
In your forecast
Beneath the shady mezzanine
Keep it when you want to belong
July fourth, raging fortune
Dream about the witch trials
Send in the romance of people

With their dreadlocks
Tied like windshields in the night
Keep it when you want to belong
I keep my head on for pretty jades
I keep my head up for ships and shade
I keep my head up for Richie Raid?
I keep my head up for guilty rays?
(Feel like I'm falling!)




Allez! allez! allez! allez!
Allez! allez! allez! allez!

Overall Meaning

In Pavement's "Half a Canyon," the lyrics are cryptic, and seemingly, disconnected from each other. However, listeners have attempted to find meaning in its chaos, which partly lies in the challenges of bridging the gap of communication between the singer and the listener. One interpretation sees the song as expressing a sense of confusion or disconnection in its lines "Ah shit, baby" and "July fourth, raging fortune," which can signify feeling lost or found in situations where one does not understand what is happening. The line "Dream about the witch trials" offers an insight into how some people might feel when facing judgment, whether it be a real-life scenario or a perceived one. The references to dreadlocks and pepper may relate to the singer's surroundings or the people surrounding them. The chorus offers a piece of advice where the listener is encouraged to keep their head up for whatever reason they desire, as long as it keeps them going.


However, the construction of the song does not provide a narrative thread for interpretation. Rather it is more like a series of flavors and moods that do not rely on linear structure. The lyrics are purposely abstract and open-ended, leaving the listener to create their understanding based on their perspective. The "allez" line at the end of the song adds to the nonsensical quality of the song, with it not being apparent what it signifies.


Line by Line Meaning

Ah shit, baby
An expression of frustration or disappointment


Canyon bro', your life is worked in
Life is predictable and mundane


Dream about the witch trials
Reflecting on dark moments in history


You get all too hot of pepper
Easily overwhelmed or agitated


In your forecast
Expected or predicted outcome


Beneath the shady mezzanine
In a low, covered area


Keep it when you want to belong
Conforming to fit in with others


July fourth, raging fortune
Celebrating a national holiday with high expectations


Send in the romance of people
Seeking passion and connection with others


With their dreadlocks
Describing a particular hairstyle


Tied like windshields in the night
Securely fastened or connected


I keep my head on for pretty jades
Remaining focused for beautiful or valuable things


I keep my head up for ships and shade
Remaining hopeful for safety and shelter


I keep my head up for Richie Raid?
Unclear meaning or reference


I keep my head up for guilty rays?
Unclear meaning or reference


(Feel like I'm falling!)
Anxiety or insecurity about one's situation


Allez! allez! allez! allez! Allez! allez! allez! allez!
Repetitive chant or encouragement




Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC
Written by: Stephen Malkmus

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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