Beat down, misdirected, cropped short and sized to fit.
Honey if we're still connected, i could really use a hit,
I am not lookin' for the key that opens every door,
just a pillow on the floor where we can sit.

Here in the shining city, here in the endless summer,
here in the cave of wonder number ninety-two,
the sky of never was was never quite this blue
but it's all right, it's all right with me if it's all right with you,

Guru child on glory mountain, waitin' patient, turtle wise,
twenty years of bliss and countin' – trips and riddles in his eyes,
he says the primal quest ain't nothin' but a second guess,
sometimes you just do your best to compromise.

Here in the shining city, here in the endless summer
here in the cave of wonder number ninety-two
the book is empty from the sparrow's point of view
but it's all right, it's all right with me if it's all right with you.

Shootin' fools and starry gazers, wizard hip and button down,
I walk the occam's razor way through priests and circus clowns,
am I a missioner of faith or grace or vision Earth or,
another grinning prisoner in Happytown?

Here in the shining city, here in the endless summer,
here in the cave of wonder number ninety-two,
we chase the shadows of the chosen and the few,
but it's all right, it's all right with me if it's all right with you.

So strap me in, I'm goin' clear, i'm turnin' circles 'round the sun,
the fisher king is here, but he is not the only one,
parceval and valentino, ridin' winged palominos,
Willie in his el camino, on the run.

Here in the shining city, here in the endless summer,
here in the cave of wonder number ninety-two,
the gods will lounge around until the show is through,
but it's all right, it's all right with me if it's all right with you.


Lyrics submitted by phoonzang

Happytown (All Right With Me) song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentThis song, to my mind, is very much akin to two of Dave's other works, "The Mountain" and "Mother, I Climbed", in its exploration of the ways we achieve an illusory "higher" state. This one is mostly about four things, one for each verse:

    Modernism (1st verse) and its rejection: "Cropped short and sized to fit" is reminiscent of projects to create (or "locate") an abstract, uniform human being, a conceit of high modernism. See James C. Scott's "Seeing Like a State" for a good exploration of this. "I am not lookin' for the key to open every door" is a rejection of the forced paradigm and of the strictly universalist hermeneutic. The "shining city" may also be a reference to this, as may the "sky of never was" -- the world a modernist seeks is pretty, but doesn't actually exist.

    Religion (perhaps Daoist?) (2nd Verse): We turn away from the quest for knowledge and just exist. Just be and let be. Furthermore, "the book is empty from the sparrow's point of view"; this appears to be a reference to ancient Roman poetry. Maybe. Jeez, Dave. Perhaps this is a bit of relativism; the subject of the work is unaware that it is being written about.

    Academia: We transcend pointless philosophical debates and seek knowledge through science, including the science of psychology, which Dave Carter studied at the postgraduate level. Priests become symbols, decorations, trappings of religious systems, not the representatives of God on Earth. "We chase the shadows of the chosen and the few" certainly says "trying to get an academic job" to me.

    Symbols: Dave Carter stated in an interview that he specifically mentioned Willie Nelson in his car (El Camino) because he wanted certain images from "pop and classical culture" to show up in this piece. "The Fisher King is here, but he is not the only one" indicates that, though Jesus plays a definite role in such a genre as modern mythic American folk, there are other symbols (and powerful ones!) to perceive in the system, other gods.

    Honestly, it took me years and an advanced degree to wrap my head around this one. Dave wrote like no one else.
    SparkandMercuryon April 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHere's another theory: the song is making references to the book Last Call by Tim Powers. "Happytown": a shining city in endless summer; where else but Las Vegas? And you'll find the book contains ample material about the Fisher King, gods, Arthurian legend, even El Caminos. Some other parts also stand out, such as the use of the word "trips", which is poker lingo...over all, if the song is not in fact based on Last Call, it at least bears a striking similarity to it. Oh, and read the book. It's great.
    OtherPersonon January 31, 2008   Link

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