I live at the end of a 5 and 1/2 minute hallway
But as far as I can see you are still miles from me
In your doorway
And oh by the way
When the landlord came today
He measured everything
I knew he'd get it wrong
But I just played along
Cause I was hoping that he would fix it all
But there's only so far I can go
When you're living in a hallway that keeps growing
I think to myself
5 more minutes and I'll be there
Inside your door
But there's more to this story
Than I've been letting on
There are words made of letters
And yes I forgive you
For leading me on
You can think of it like this
When you can't resist
I'm in your hallway standing on a cliff
And just when I think I've found the trick
I'm tumbling
Like an echo
'Cause there's only so far I can go
When you're living in a hallway that keeps growing
I think to myself
30 seconds and I'll be there

Lyrics submitted by merchantpierce

"5 ½ Minute Hallway" as written by

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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5&½ Minute Hallway song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentThis song is a bit ambigious, actually. I read the book almost a year ago, so forgive me if I get some details wrong. But sometimes, I feel like it's from Karen's point of view for a lot of this song...

    Karen lives at the other end of the hallway, she doesn't dare go in, and so as far she she can see, he is still miles from her. And when Navidson's brother comes over and measures the house, neither Navidson nor Karen really buy into believing the house is bigger on the inside, and they just feel like he got it wrong, and that would fix all the problems. I think this song is as much about the hallway as it is about the distance between Karen and Navidson, and the distance between them still growing as much as the hallway does. At the point of "but there's only so far i can go," I think it switches more to Navy's point of view, and he's lost. I think the "when you can't resist part," refers to Navidson definitely because there's something about the unknown that he's just drawn to and he can't resist the hallway. I don't know. That's all I have. :)
    MidnightChaoson May 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentpoe's brother wrote a book called House of Leaves. Read it, and even if you dont understand it (which u probably wont) it will make you understand the lyrics better. Be careful though, the book has a way of totally screwing your head like u wouldnt believe.
    universalsolideron March 26, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe Lyrics were for some of the books. But i think that it's a hallway that keeps growing is a lot like creating a distance between someone that you care about, whether it be, a family member, friends, loved ones. When the relationship is almost over...it's that distance that is created
    Rudegerrl13on September 26, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthouse of leaves isn't the kind of book you can just read, you have to let it take you over for however long it takes you to read it. however, it's really not that hard to understand, i don't think. it does have a way of making you think, though. many of the songs on haunted make alot more sense if you read the book, it's a concept album based on the book.
    deliriumtriggeron March 26, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a gorgeous song. In the book "House Of Leaves", Mark Danielewski wrote that Johnny Truant saw a band performing in a bar, and while he is having a conversation with the bartender, the band begins to play a song whose first line is, "I live at the end of a five and a half minute hallway..." The band is made up of only men, so Mr. Danielewski isn't casting his sister, Anne, or Poe as we know her, in his book, but here is the riddle: what came first, the line or her song? I'd love to know, wouldn't you?
    Miraikion February 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI read somewhere that this CD is not only in dedication to Poe's late father, but also a soundtrack to her brother's book. I think the book came first. Or maybe the concept. But I don't really know. :P

    Poe is definitely an underrated artist. And one of my favorites.
    troiajon November 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn House of Leaves, Will Navidson who is the star and creator of the Navidson Report, which half of the book is based on, first made a short film called The 5 1/2 Minute Hallway. In it, he opens a door in his home that leads to a hallway, and then circumnavigates it to show that there's no way there could be a hallway there. The way he shows it, in one continuous camera shot, is that the door is actually on a flat wall, and where the hallway is, there's nothing but empty space.

    Later, Navidson finds that someone got lost in that hallway that's supposed to be non-existent.

    Poe's song, then, while it might be about other things, in the context of the book, is from the point of view of the man who was lost in the hallway, looking out and seeing Navidson in the doorway. Of course the song can be read in all sorts of ways, and I agree with Rudegerrl with saying it's also about the distance in relationships, but in the most... literal way, it's also talking about that part of the book. The line "I'm tumbling/like an echo" especailly points to the book; there's a whole chapter on echoes because that's how Navidson realises that the space on the other side of the doorway is more than a hallway. When he throws something in there, there's an echo, meaning it must be bigger than just a simple hallway.

    [/literary rant]
    devalison March 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"And just when I think I've found the trick
    I'm tumbling like an echo..."

    I love these lines, because it describes that weird dynamic you have with people sometimes. You're never quite sure if you'll win or lose. It seems no matter what you do, instead of continuing to walk on through, you just fall right off the cliff again every time. Over and over again, like an echo.
    delialon May 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with Delerium. I've been on and off reading the book for awhile. The first time I just read it and got through it quick just to read it. This last time had taken me a few years because it starts making me question everythng not only in the bok but in my own life and it's too strange for me so I just put the book away a few months and pretend nothing happened.
    I see this song as not only on eof the best Poe creations ever. But my view of the song is that no matter how much we strive and work to be close to someone there are those times where no matter what we do to make it work we only end up distancing ourselves more in the end
    jacobjoalon August 08, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI read "House of Leaves" as well and still remain convinced that this song means "I love you, you are just fucking with me, everyone validates that, but still I wonder if you might be telling the truth."
    lindseygranton January 24, 2010   Link

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