Ain't No Rest for the Wicked

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"Ain't No Rest for the Wicked"
Single by Cage the Elephant
from the album Cage the Elephant
Released June 16, 2008
Format CD single, 7" Vinyl
Genre Alternative rock
Length 2:52
Label Relentless
Writer(s) Cage the Elephant
Producer(s) Jay Joyce
Cage the Elephant singles chronology
"In One Ear"
"Ain't No Rest for the Wicked"
"Back Against the Wall"
Music sample

"Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" is the third single by the American rock band Cage the Elephant. It was released as a CD single on June 16, 2008 by Relentless Records and became the first Top 40 hit for the band in the UK. A music video was filmed for this song which was directed by D.A.R.Y.L of Pulse Films. A later re-release in North America the following year barely dented the Billboard Hot 100 at number 92, but reached number 3 on the Alternative Songs chart and number 8 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. It also appeared in a commercial for the TNT series Leverage; in the 2010 film The Bounty Hunter; in an episode of The Vampire Diaries ("Isobel"); in a third season episode of Jersey Shore; as the opening song of Canadian reality television series Yukon Gold; and for the opening sequence of the 2009 video game Borderlands. It is also mentioned in Borderlands 2 and played in its end credits. Cage the Elephant performed the song on national television on the Late Show with David Letterman.


The song talks about three particular instances in which the narrator realizes "there ain't no rest for the wicked." First, he encounters a prostitute asking if he desires to spend the night with her. The narrator proceeds to ask her why she does what she does. The chorus (her response) analyzes the main reasons why individuals follow the paths they follow ("...Money don't grow on trees, I've got bills to pay, I've got mouths to feed..."). The narrator, fifteen minutes later, is mugged by a criminal, whom he asks the same question and from whom he receives the same answer. Finally, upon turning on the television, the narrator sees a preacher being arrested for stealing the funds of his church. This is followed by a third chorus saying that everyone is the same and we all have no rest "until we close our eyes for good."

Lead singer Matt Shultz stated the song was inspired by an old co-worker of his who at the time was a drug dealer. When Shultz asked him why he dealt drugs, the co-worker told him that "There's no rest for the wicked." Shultz was a plumber at the time, and said that he wrote the lyrics on a piece of drywall which he found while working at his co-worker's house.[1]

Track listings[edit]

  1. "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" – 2:52
  2. "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" (Acoustic Version) – 3:02

Chart positions[edit]

Chart Peak
UK Singles Chart[2] 32
Billboard Hot 100 83
Billboard U.S. Modern Rock[3] 3
Billboard U.S. Mainstream Rock 8
Billboard Rock Songs 6


Country Certification
United States Platinum[4]


  1. ^ Lopez, Korina (22 April 2011). "On the verge: Cage the Elephant stampedes to fame". USA Today. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "UK Top 40 Hit Database". Retrieved June 29, 2008. 
  3. ^ "Artist Chart History - Cage the Elephant". Billboard. Retrieved April 16, 2009. 
  4. ^

External links[edit]