Young the Giant’s “Cough Syrup” Lyrics Meaning

There is plenty of complex symbolism used throughout “Cough Syrup” which is too encrypted to definitively extract. So instead we present the meaning of the song as explained by Young the Giant’s lead singer, Sameer Gadhia. And he has stated that it was written during a very precarious period in the timeline of the band. More precisely, they were dealing with economic challenges as well as a lack of definitive direction (this was well before they were actually signed by Roadrunner Records). 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Young the Giant's Cough Syrup at

Moreover, they felt constrained by the cultural norms of suburbia – ideological shackles which they very much wanted to be freed from. So all of the diverse metaphors used throughout the track are meant to point to those ideas. 

Meanwhile the song’s title, “Cough Syrup”, has yet to be conclusively equated with a specific allegory. But in general, it operates along the lines of representing the vocalist’s longing to escape the life he is currently trapped in.


So in all, the narrator is going through a very difficult chapter in his life and desires “cough syrup”, i.e. a cure for his situation.

"Cough Syrup" Lyrics

Facts about “Cough Syrup”

“Cough Syrup” was officially released by Roadrunner Records on 12 July 2011. Roadrunner released it as the second single from Young the Giant’s debut album, which was also entitled “Young the Giant”.

However, the song’s history predates that, as the band self-released it back a number of years ago. At that time they were known as The Jakes. And they released it on their 2008 EP “Shake My Hand”.

In fact the song was so outdated in the eyes of Young the Giant that by the time it did blow up in 2011, they had grown tired of playing it.

“Cough Syrup” charted in Canada, the Netherlands, Italy and the United States.  And in the latter two countries it has also been certified Platinum.

The colorful (and wet) music video to this song was helmed by a director named Petro.

Since the band released this song in several years ago, a number of artists have released cover versions of it. One such notable covers was done by Melanie Martinez in 2012.

Writing Credits

“Cough Syrup” was written by the members of Young the Giant. Therefore the writing credits are as follows:

  • Eric Cannata
  • Francois Comtois
  • Sameer Gadhia
  • Ehson Hashemian
  • Jacob Tilley

The entire band also produced the song alongside Joe Chiccarelli.

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