I play on the black keys,
Where I don't have to worry much..
It's already hard enough to sing a song about this.

Some people try the white keys,
Well, the thinking hurts my head,
So I move back here instead..
Becomes easier.

and you know why,
cause you're the one who's on the grieving end.
Just wave goodbye,
Wonder if you'll ever breathe again..

That's why I play on the black keys,
when it already takes my best
to pretend that this big mess isn't happening.
I play on the black keys,
So I can close my eyes,
Try to picture you beside me singing harmonies

You know why,
One day I will try and explain it all,
and if you don't mind,
I'd like some time to try and play it all..

If I ever thought it would come to this,
the beating, and the bleeding,
then I would've tried to say it better, better.
In my every thought I cherished you,
and I mean it, yeah I mean it.
Now, I still think I hear you pulling in, pulling in.

But you wouldn't know why
Because you're the one who's on the leaving end..
If you wave goodbye,
and you saw me cry, would you believe me then?

That's why I play on the black keys


Lyrics submitted by lau88

Black Keys song meanings
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2 Comments

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  • 0
    General Commentthis is great stuff

    speaker is obviously getting left by a girlfriend, and he's regretful because he feels like he didn't do enough to show how much he really cared. maybe he did, but she doesn't believe him anyway
    MadeMyself7on October 11, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI really enjoy the concept of this song. Once again, obviously the speaker is getting ditched because he didn't show his girlfriend how much he truely cared. Now, I am not a pianist, but I could imagine how a song completely on black keys is more difficult than white keys due to the spacing. Although I am not sure if it is harder to create a smoothly melodic and harmonic song from completely black keys. In this sense the black vs white keys are so symbolic. In the verse: "Some people try the white keys. Well, the thinking hurts my head, so I move back here instead..Becomes easier." I can see his reasoning for playing on the black keys.

    --The white keys are easier physically and melodically. More people use them. I take the white keys to symbolize the way people in relationships let each other know how they feel. They use cliched words, phrases, and actions.
    --Black keys are more difficult. They demand more devotion from a pianist and a composer. Songs in all black keys are rare, but when performed, they are unique and beautiful.

    So as the speaker thinks back over their relationsship, he uses the overall comparison of black to white keys to express his confusion.
    **When he thinks back, if he thinks of the "white keys" or the typical relationship behaviors (i.e. flowers for anniverseries, chocolates for Valentines, jewlery for Christmas) then he is unsure of why she is leaving, because he did all of these.
    **However it is easier if he thinks of the "black keys" or the genuine devoted actions. (For any of Nicholas Sparks' "The Notebook" fans, when I think of genuine, raw, love, I remember the scene from the movie as Noah watches Ally on the balcony while she is painting only covered by her sheets. Even if they are just actors, you can feel the true love that Noah felt, and Ally could see it and probably feel it heating her back as he stared at her) So when the speaker tries to remember THESE types of actions, he can not think of the times that he showed her. SO therefore, it is easier for him to accept that he failed in the relationship.

    Sorry this is so long. I was just perscribed Adderall and can write for hours. Kudos to anyone who reads it all!!!!
    jmhagemaon September 03, 2009   Link

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