It was Don DeLillo, whiskey, me
And a blinking midnight clock
Speakers on a TV stand
Just a turntable to watch
And the smoke came out our mouths
On all those hooded sweatshirt walks
We were a stroke of luck
We were a gold mine, they gutted us

And from the sidelines you see me run
Until I'm out of breath
Living the good life, I left for dead
The sorrowful Midwest
Well I did my best...
To keep my head

It was grass stained jeans and incompletes
And a girl from class to touch
But you think about yourself too much
And you ruin who you love
Well all these claims at consciousness
My stray dog freedom
Let's have a nice clean cut
Like a bag we buy and divy up

And from the sidelines, I see you run
Until you're out of breath
And all those white lines that sped us up
We hurried to our death
Well I lagged behind...
So you got ahead

Lyrics submitted by i rock

Gold Mine Gutted Lyrics as written by Conor Oberst

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Gold Mine Gutted song meanings
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  • +3
    General Comment

    I love the imagery of a "gold mine gutted" in relation to the addictive lifestyle.


    OKAY first I need to back up -- I've read all the comments on this page and it fascinates me how Conor reaches everyone on such a person level, as though he's telling a story about himself and reaching the listener about things that have happened in his/her life (or at least, that's the impression I've gotten from a lot of posters). With many of the artists on songmeanings, it's much easier to say "the narrator" or "storyteller" is trying to convey a certain message, but when Connor is singing, it almost feels like this driven story straight from the core of him. It's hard for me to remember that lyrics are merely poetry and poetry is comprised of so many influences and emotions and stories.

    Now that that's been said, I was utterly enthralled with Conor's music, lyrics, message, downward spiral when I was using and loved picking out every drug reference. I felt so bonded with a singer suffering from the same cold, empty disease, never thinking he is also just a vessel for a message as well.

    When he says,

    "And from the sidelines I see you run Until you're out of breath. And all those white lines that sped us up We hurry to our death Well, I lagged behind So you got ahead"

    I always assumed he was referring to being on a drug "run" -- I never really heard anyone call them that until I got into recovery but I thought he was just using a play on words. Essentially I just had this picture in my mind of the two characters being on a metaphorical track-and-field drug run where the narrator eventually can't keep up with the pace of the other person he's using with.

    Anyway, what I really meant to comment on was the gold mine gutted imagery. Just from personal experience, I feel as though the disparity in that imagery -- the idea this piece of earth that was once rich with some rare, precious metal has now been gutted -- really fits the before and after of someone who has a lot of promise and gives it away to a life of addiction. Or rather, they would feel it was taken. Because addicts don't often feel much responsibility in the thick of things -- from what I've seen. ("We were a goldmine and they gutted us") This is just maybe a stab at things, but maybe the narrator just feels cheated. Like I have a lot of friends who have used drugs (some in recovery and some still trying to get there) and if there's one common thread, it's that before they do some work on themselves, there's always a million stories about how if so-and-so and this-and-that hasn't happened, they could have been great or would have finished college and would have finished that album, etc etc. There's always this alusive "they" keeping the world down.

    mytwohandson August 02, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    "and all those white lines that sped us up we hurry to our death well i lagged behind so you got ahead "

    sounds like they were being careless with their lives through drug use, and for somereason conor was slower on his way to death (or his addiction) and this friend of his "got ahead" in death or addiction.


    honeybaneon December 30, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    "We were a goldmine and they gutted us " could mean a number of things; but I think one of the meanings could be talking about how the drug dealers, bad influences, bad kids, and other things of that nature "gutted" or took all the good things Conor and the girl had to offer. It could be mainly money (for drugs), but I think it could also refer to the bright futures, good grades, good health, too. anyone else see what i mean? what do you all think?

    ihopeyoucatchmeon January 16, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I absolutely hate how everyone always talks about drugs the entire time on these boards. People see one drug reference and assume the entire fucking song is about coke addiction. Stop being so narrow minded. My interpretation of the song is that he's talking about high school and growing up. Reference to "grass stained jeans and incompletes." Speakers on a TV stand and hooded sweatshirt walks sound exactly like high school house parties. He's also probably mentioning maybe dabbling in some hard drugs, but he sees all of the people he knew in high school going down the wrong paths and possibly a death or two from drugs. Doesn't necessarily mean much about his own drug usage though.

    dustinmcon June 05, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    its" whisky neat" god damnit

    nujerseyon October 16, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I think the song is about a friend who died. Remembering past times, probably college (you don’t really get incompletes in high school).

    Connor left the “sorrowful Midwest” to pursue his music career and his friend stayed and eventually OD’d.

    globulousmaximon July 27, 2022   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    ok ^^ and this comment of lyrics was different from the original how?

    apocalypse84on November 20, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    "let’s have a nice clean cut like a bag we buy and divvy up"

    "and all those white lines that sped us up we hurry to our death"

    two more lines to add to conor's catalog of drug references in his lyrics. go bright eyes.

    scycison November 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    i commented with the correct lyrics, they were then edited to reflect said correctness.

    Mopnuggeton December 02, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Isn't it WE were a stroke of luck?

    plasticflowerson December 23, 2004   Link

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