If you thought that the only people who misinterpret songs and lyrics are little kids, well, think again. Adults do it, too, because like all art, sometimes the true intent behind the words of our favorite songs are only truly known to the people who create them.
And collectively, we all fell in love with these 4 songs before we truly understood what they were written about in the first place.
4. Song 2
In the mid-90s Americans were more obsessed with grunge than British pop, and they pretty much ignored the band Blur… at least until they performed Song 2 on their fifth studio album.
The imitation of American grunge groups’ distorted, wailing guitar sound was conceived as a joke, but that didn’t stop Americans from eating it up along with the rest of their grunge staples.
No one got the joke, assuming the band was trying to appeal to American listeners. Ironically, they sort of became the thing they hated.
But at least they got a hit song out of it, I guess.
3. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
This Christmas staple was commissioned for the musical Meet Me in St. Louis, and after it was written by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin, and then performed by Judy Garland, it became an instant hit.
The thing is, if you’ve always felt it had a bit of a melancholy undertone, well, you weren’t wrong.
The song is about hard times and economic trouble that makes a man pack up his entire family to move to New York City.
Garland is singing about leaving friends and memories and her entire life behind as she breaks down toward the end of the song, and though the lyrics have been altered twice (once by Frank Sinatra), the thread of lonely sadness runs through the music still.
2. Stayin’ Alive
The Bee Gees most recognizable single, written for Saturday Night Fever, and is obviously more about surviving the exhausting hustle and bustle of tour life in America.
Manhattan wasn’t always the pinnacle of wholesome tourism it is today.
The line “New York Time’s effect on man” was later explained by co-writer Barry Gibb as being “bleak and intended for desperate people crying out for help.”
Also? The band wrote the song without knowing even the plot of the film that would later make it famous.
1. Baba O’Riley
This song by The Who, also known as Teenage Wasteland, is pretty much a go-to reference for anything involving experimenting teens.
Pete Townshend, though, penned the song about being fed up with the cliched rock persona. His words were meant to convey the total wasted potential that came with drug dependency, and to encourage us to love our way to a nourished, clean consciousness.
“Baba,” in fact, refers to mute guru and alleged living god Meher Baba, who preached abstinence from drugs. Townshend was a fierce adherent.
The song somehow became an anthem for high school stoners everywhere.
I’m gobsmacked, y’all!
Did you know about all of these? Can you think of any other examples?
If so, share them with us in the comments!