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My name's Clifford Stumme, and I explain the deeper meanings of popular songs. Let's have a conversation about what you think about the songs and go deeper together. Feel free to email me at clifford@popsongprofessor.com with questions or ideas!

What does "Golden (ft. Sia)" by Travie McCoy mean?

Travie McCoy's name is most recognizable from "Billionaire (ft. Bruno Mars)" that got popular in 2010. Since then, he's been mostly out of the spotlight (though he did make it to 82 on the Billboard's The Hot 100 in 2013 with Jason Mraz with "Rough Water"). While it'll likely be a few weeks before the world sees whether "Golden" goes viral or not, the song is interesting and maintains what "Billionaire" would have us believe is Travie McCoy's signature rapping style--a mix of generic rap, island rhythm, and spoken word.

The looping scene in the music video seems to demonstrate McCoy's need to go somewhere that's blocked by other people. This video seems to be about McCoy searching for someone else who he can be "golden" with. Even though actresses whose costumes suggest fun, wealth, freedom, and sexuality present themselves to him, McCoy keeps walking, looking for someone else.

"Golden" Video Screenshot 

"Golden" Video Screenshot 

"Golden (ft. Sia)" Lyrics Meaning

Sia (of "Big Girls Cry" and "Chandelier" fame) sings the part of Travie McCoy's girlfriend, the one who is "golden" with him. In the pre-hook, she sings, "You got that look in your eyes, eyes / I can tell you had bad dreams last night"; she knows a lot about him and can predict his moods. She explains how their physical relationship comforts him: "Let me me take you in my arms; you can cry, cry / Let me love you 'til you feel alright."

She explains just how close they are by singing that "I am yours" and repeating that "you are mine." She's "[n]ot going anywhere, I am standing by your side," and she sings, "I will love you 'til the end of time, time / I will love you 'til the day we die." She's dedicated to the relationship, wanting them to be together.

In the hook, Sia continues, "Don't fear, baby, cause you and me are golden." Urban Dictionary has several definitions for the idea of "gold" or being "golden," but most center around the ideas of staying young, keeping one's integrity, and being one's self. These barely seem to capture what Sia and McCoy are saying here since their use of "golden" seem to be more synonymous with "being money." Urban Dictionary defines that as being "of unusually high quality." When McCoy and his girl are together, they gain value and are better people for the relationship because they work well together.

Travie McCoy 

Travie McCoy 

Sia continues the hook, "When you can't breathe, it's you that I'll be holdin' / Yes, I'm all in, through thick and thin / This is good loving; you and me are golden." She likes their love and wants to be there for him even when he's having bad days.

In verse 1, McCoy sings, "I gotta give it to her, she got a mean Golden Eye game," referring to her playing video games with him. When he says that "[h]onestly it’s not a lot of O's to fit the rhyme scheme," he's explaining that he's not just making up stuff to fill a song about his girl. He really means what he's saying.

When he says, "But f**k it, for the sake of being overly cheesy / I think it's cute we both like our eggs over easy." Even though he doesn't like being cheesy, she makes him feel cheesy, causing him to admit something he wouldn't normally say.

"Golden" Video Screenshot 

"Golden" Video Screenshot 

He continues singing: "And lately I've been losing at love / But when you lookin' in the Lower East Side / You're bound to find nothing but bad luck." He's been trying to fall in love, but he's not opened his eyes to a larger realm of possibilities outside his own neighborhood, the lower east side of Manhattan where he feels stuck. But after he found her (whether in the LES or elsewhere), his life started looking better.

Still in the LES, McCoy acknowledges that "[d]ays can drift by, but I don't give a damn if you with me." He enjoys being with her so much that he doesn't care where he happens to be. In fact, lots of terrible things could happen, and he'd still be happy: "Even if the earth exploded, I probably wouldn't notice." He sings, "Never has another narrowed down the field to nada," suggesting that she's the only girl for him.

Travie McCoy 

Travie McCoy 

He sings about how they "[s]pend our days shopping at Target, cause she’s not concerned with Prada / We make hand-me-downs look designer." They are happy together whether they have a lot money or not--a fact that he appreciates about them and her.

To end the verse, he sings, "Golden's in the eye of the beholder / Love ya, girl." Whether other people would be happy in his situation, Travie McCoy is, and he explains that love isn't connected to wealth or money. He's happy; because he's with her and she's with him, they're golden.

In verse 2, McCoy tells how she's changed his life for the better: "And honestly she ain't even gotta say much / I'll wait a whole day for that Midas touch /Minus the fact she's the finest eyelids could open to." This seems to be a reference to sexuality and how attracted he is to her. The "Midas touch" refers to how she knows how to touch him to arouse him. And while he'd wait excitedly to be with her, instead of waiting, he'd rather sleep with her so that he can wake up to her and forego the waiting. He sings about his own dedication to her: "My highness, I'd travel the world and back in hopes to glow with you." Being with her causes him to feel better. 

"Golden" Video Screenshot 

"Golden" Video Screenshot 

Next, McCoy pulls in cultural references to cartoons to demonstrate his light-heartedness and happiness: "She’s the Patti Mayonnaise to my Doug Funnie / Every kiss is 24 carats, no Bugs Bunny." Patti Mayonnaise and Doug Funnie are characters from the Nickelodeon cartoon Doug. In the show, Doug has a secret crush on Patti and loves her desperately in the same way that McCoy loves his girl. However, unlike Doug and Patti, McCoy and his girl have kissed and when it happens, it's "golden." 

When Travie McCoy lived on his own, he was "wild," but "she made me slow it down" so much so that he's considering that "[w]ho knows? Maybe one day, we'll have a golden child." She's had such a calming influence on him that she's possibly even inspired him to accept the domestic life of a father.

Based on the next line, McCoy seems to be a fan of Eddie Murphy, whom he gives a shoutout to, but he claims that he "wouldn't trade places if [McCoy's girlfriend] threatened to hurt me." He loves her so much that to be with her, he would endure the pain she could give him and the possible joy of another more luxurious life.

Travie and his girl are "[t]wo peas in a pod that could never be open." Their relationship is closed and always will be. No one else will be able to tear them apart.

Travie McCoy 

Travie McCoy 

In what sums up the theme of the song nicely, McCoy claims, "I’m cool all by myself, but together we golden, yeah." He's got a strong opinion of himself (or this could be a satiric joke), but even still he likes who he is with her even better.

What did you think of "Golden (ft. Sia)" by Travie McCoy? Did you like it or did you not? Any opinions or thoughts? Thank you!

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