Gold on the Ceiling by The Black Keys – Lyrics Meaning & Interpretation

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The Black Keys is an American rock duo of band members Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney. Dan is the lead vocalist and guitarist for the group, while Patrick plays drums. Both the band members are childhood friends, having known each other since they were 8 or 9. They attended the University of Akron together but decided to drop out to work on their music careers.

The duo formed The Black Keys in 2001 in Akron, Utah. So far, the rock duo has released ten studio albums, two EPs, and one live album. The music ranges between the musical genres of blues-rock, garage rock, and indie rock. The Black Keys have won five Grammys for their albums Brothers and El Camino, in addition to several other awards and nominations, and have earned a loyal fan base of millions of listeners.

El Camino is the third studio album of this rock duo released in 2011. The album received highly positive reviews from music critics and became one of the best-selling records of The Black Keys. The album had 11 songs, out of which four got released as promotional singles. The duo produced the album with music producer Danger Mouse, and it came out under Nonesuch Records.

The Black Keys received five Grammy nominations for the album, bagging three awards for Best Rock Song, Best Rock Performance, and Best Rock Album in 2013. The album has a 2X Platinum and 4X Platinum Certification in the US and Canada. It ranked 2nd on the year-end US Rock Album Charts while scoring the 18th position on the decade-end US Top Rock Albums List.

Let’s dive into Gold on the Ceiling lyrics meaning.

What Does The Title Mean?

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The singer talks about two of his vices in Gold on the Ceiling. The first one is his relationship with a selfish lover, and the second vice refers to his addiction to heroin. When interpreting Gold on the Ceiling lyrics meaning, we see the singer confess that his obsessions are unhealthy. However, he can’t seem to find a way to stop or leave either the girl or his drug addiction.

In an interview, the band explained they took the melody first and lyrics second approach when composing this album. The duo created all their tunes first and then added the lyrics later, even revising them several times until they were pleased with the final cut.

Let’s now get into verses and chorus of gold on the ceiling lyrics meaning.

Verse 1 – What Does It Mean?

Down in the waves

She screams again

Roar at the door

My mind can’t take much more


The first verse discusses the singer’s struggle with heroin and how he has developed an addiction to the drug. Waves refer to his blood veins and depict how the heroin screams and roars upon entering his body. It describes the human body’s natural reaction to the injection of any drug.

The singer also describes his helpless condition when he can’t seem to stop himself from going back to this addictive substance. He mentions that he tried to resist his cravings and stay away from them, but he couldn’t help himself. His resolve is not strong enough as he gives in to his addiction every time.

What Does The Chorus Mean?

I could never drown in


They wanna get my

They wanna get my gold on the ceiling

I ain’t blind, just a matter of time

Before you steal it

It’s all right, ain’t no guarding my high


When we go through the chorus to understand Gold on the Ceiling lyrics’ meaning, we see the singer’s delusional belief that his vices can never overtake his senses. It is a common conviction amongst all addicts, but the statement doesn’t hold any truth.

The singer addresses the girl he is in a relationship with and his knowledge of her true intentions. He says that he knows that she is only trying to get the Gold, a synonym for his wealth and money. The phrase Gold on the Ceiling has several interpretations, including religious contexts referring to the golden ceilings at Vatican churches.

He knows that both his vices, the girl and the drug, are trying to steal something from him. While the girl is after his money, his addiction will cost him his sanity. He confesses that he is not blind and can see their intentions clearly, but doesn’t have any complaints. The singer admits that it’s easy to steal his money, as it never mattered to him.

Verse 2 – What Does It Mean?

Clouds covered love’s

Barb-wired snare

Strung up, strung out

I just can’t go without


Decoding the second verse to understand Gold on the Ceiling lyrics meaning we see him address his ill-motivated relationship. Here the singer shares that their love is covered in clouds, pointing out his lover’s dishonest intentions of being with him.

He confesses that his lover has caught him in her barbed-wire snares. These wires find uses in hunting animals to trap their prey with sharp edges. He admits that he can’t make up his mind, switching between feelings of excitement and dreadfulness when it comes to his relationship. Finally, he confesses that he can’t live without her and stays with her despite her shortcomings.


Gold on the Ceiling is the second promotional and third featured track on The Black Keys’ 2011 album El Camino. The band released the song to the audience on 25th February 2012. The song has more than 182.5 million streams on Spotify, with the music video for the track gathering close to 76 million views on Youtube since its release.

After its release, the song scored the peak position of the second spot on the US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs Chart. On the US Billboard Hot 100, the song landed in 94th place while managing the first position on Canada’s Rock Charts. The song managed to land a fifth position on the year-end US Hot Rock Song Charts.

RIAA awarded the song with 2XPlatinum Certification, and it also managed to earn a Gold Certification in Canada. The rock duo wrote Gold on the Ceiling with renowned songwriter Brian Burton, famous by his stage name Danger Mouse. The song recording took place at the Easy Eye Sound studio in Nashville.

Gold on the Ceiling featured in several advertisements, TV shows, trailers, and movies. The most notable mentions include the song’s appearances on Veep, NCIS, Battleship, and Workaholics. The final scene of the famous 2018 movie Ocean’s 8 also features the track. It was part of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament campaign airing on CBS Sports and Turner Sports.

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