Top 5 Misinterpreted Songs

Posted: January 20, 2015 in 80s Music, 90s Music, Indie, Lists, Music Culture, Pop, Rock
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Things are rarely what they seem. In music, lyrics can be interpreted in so many different ways, sometimes finding out what a song was intended to mean, reveals a completely different side to the track, causing you to never be able to look at it the same way. Did you know Semisonic’s epic “Closing Time”, is not at all about being kicked out of a bar at the end of the night – it’s about the birth of lead singer Dan Wilson’s first child. How did we all miss that? Here are a few other very famous and very commonly misinterpreted songs I dug up.

5. “Slide” – Goo Goo Dolls

So this relatively upbeat track from a big 90s pop/rock band seems just like any other pop/rock song in their music library. A boy asking his girl to slide into his room, to wake up next to her and have their arms around each other. I always thought it was the story of a boy and girl who wanted to be together, but couldn’t make it work. Well I hate to break it to you, kids, but this song is about abortion. A boy and girl trying to decide what to do with their unexpected pregnancy: “Don’t you love the life you killed? The priest is on the phone Your father hit the wall Your ma disowned you”

4. “Losing My Religion” – R.E.M.

I hope I don’t blow too many minds here, but this song has nothing to do with religion. In fact, “Losing My Religion” is apparently a phrase in the southern U.S. that means losing one’s temper/patience; being frustrated. It’s also not about a person’s relationship with God, or wavering feelings towards a higher being. It’s simply about unrequited love. Someone trying to figure out where they stand with a loved one: “Every whisper Of every waking hour I’m choosing my confessions Trying to keep an eye on you Like a hurt, lost and blinded fool, fool Oh no, I’ve said too much I’ve said enough”

3. “Every Breath You Take” – Sting & The Police

Staying on the topic of misinterpreted love songs, this track is often sought as romantic, sweet, sensitive. I hate to break it to you, but it’s actually quite the opposite. I blame P. Diddy (or whatever his name is now) for this. He stole “sampled” this song as his loving dedication to the deceased Notorious B.I.G. Therefore, one would assume the original track runs along the same vein. Except it doesn’t. Sure it’s about love, but the creepy stalker kind; not the adoring kind: “Every breath you take Every move you make Every bond you break Every step you take I’ll be watching you”

2. “Pumped Up Kicks” – Foster the People

Most people viewed this song as a fun summer song. A tune to put you in a good mood, and take all your cares away. That likely has to do with the laid back vibe, the pleasant whistling, and the video that shows only good times with friends. But lead singer Mark Foster has said he wrote this track to draw attention to the increasing amount of mental illness amongst teenagers. He covered in way to many layers, essentially burying the message. Not a smooth move. “Robert’s got a quick hand. He’ll look around the room, he won’t tell you his plan. He’s got a rolled cigarette hanging out his mouth, he’s a cowboy kid. Yeah, he found a six shooter gun in his dad’s closet hidden with a box of fun things. I don’t even know what but he’s coming for you, yeah, he’s coming for you. All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you better run, better run, outrun my gun. All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you better run, better run faster than my bullet.”

1. “Crash Into Me” – Dave Matthews Band

This had to be the most eye-opening one for me. I never used to be a DMB fan, but after heavy insistence by several different parties, I caved. Mostly because of this song. It comes off as a sweet little love song, and for the most part it is a love song. Until you realize it’s not between a boyfriend and a girlfriend, but between a peeping Tom and an oblivious Annie (I just made that up; Annie is not a real person): “Oh I watch you there through the window And I stare at you You wear nothing but you wear it so well Tied up and twisted the way I’d like to be For you, for me, come crash into me”

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Comments
  1. kirranb says:

    Is Annie…angsty? Is she friends with Nelly? Or Nancy?

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