13 Songs That Don't Mean What You Think They Do Bands/Musicians

13 Songs That Don't Mean What You Think They Do

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Here's a list of songs whose meanings we completely miss because we either don't listen to lyrics properly or we just take the song at face value, ignoring any origins or intent of the artist. Or we just don't know the lyrics to anything. Then, one day, your world breaks down. Everything you knew and loved turns out to be a lie because that song which you thought was innocent and sweet is actually about slaughtering kittens or marrying dogs. Although none of these songs are actually about those things, you get the idea. Enjoy. I hope the truth to these song lyrics isn't too damaging.
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  1. 11

    (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Party) by by The Beastie Boys

    Without question "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Party)" is one of the greatest party anthems of all time. Everyone gets pumped by mumbling their way through the verses, before shouting the refrain with such ferocity. After all, what is more important than one's ability to have a good time?

    Regrettably, that was never what it was intended to be. In fact, it was written as a parody to mock all the play hard party songs that inundated the 80s, such as Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock" and Motley Crue's "Smoking In The Boy's Room." After all, it's about high school kid, and no matter what Hollywood may tell you: 15 year olds are rarely - if ever - that hardcore.

    So, despite the fact that it is without a doubt the band's most well known song, the mass majority's inability to get the joke has been a cause of distress for the band, leading them to scarcely play it live and although it appears in their greatest hits - Sounds of Science -  Beastie Boys member, MCA, says little about the song other than "it sucks" in the liner notes.

    Additionally, Mike D is said to have once lamented: "The only thing that upsets me is that we might have reinforced certain values of some people in our audience when our own values were actually totally different. There were tons of guys singing along to 'Fight for Your Right' who were oblivious to the fact it was a total goof on them."

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  2. 9

    Ben by Michael Jackson

    This song is particularly interesting because it was not originally intended to be performed by Michael Jackson, but by Donny Osmond. Osmond, however, was on tour so 14 year old Jackson received the honor and his first number 1 as a solo artist. Which is pretty cool, but kind of crazy when you learn what the song is really about.

    Ben the two of us need look no more
    We both found what we were looking for
    With a friend to call my own I'll never be alone
    And you my friend will see you've got a friend in me
    (you've got a friend in me)

    Ben you're always running here and there
    (here and there)
    You feel you're not wanted anywhere
    (anywhere)
    If you ever look behind and don't like what you find
    There's something you should know you've got a place to go
    (you've got a place to go)


    Although it is a song about unconditional love and friendship, as can be expected with lyrics like "You've got a friend in me" and "I used to say 'I' and 'me'/Now it's 'us' now it's 'we'." But what you may not know is that the friendship in question is between a boy and (wait for it) a rat named Ben. And not just any rat, but the gang leader of a group of killer rats. That's right, this sweet and tender ballad is the theme to a film about killer rats.

    Coming from the film of the same name, Ben is the sequel to the film WIilliard (based on Stephen Gilbert's Ratman's Notebook), which also starred Ben and his band of murderous rodents. Although the sequel tries to present Ben ahd his band as protectors of the lonely boy Danny, they still manage to cause several deaths. Imagine it to be Let Me In, but with rats rather than vampires and less sex (thank God).

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  3. 6

    Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen

    Only The Boss could make an anti-war song sound like a jingoistic rock anthem that most people use as a pro-America anthem. The song narrative follows a working class American who, gets into some trouble at home and so he goes to Vietnam to fight in the war. When he returns, he is unable to find work and is shunned by the community at large, kind of like in real life.

    Springsteen's lyrics and message were so cleverly masked, that Ronald Reagan's staff tried to get the song to be the official song for his re-election campaign (which is exactly how well they did their research), but The Boss politely declined them, as he did not support Ronald Reagan at all.

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  4. 1

    Brown Sugar by The Rolling Stones

    I love telling people what this song is about, and now, you will too. It never gets old, seeing unsuspecting singers choose it for karaoke and balk at the lyrics as they appear on the screen. Somehow we don't know typically understand what this song is about, even though the story is right in the lyrics. It's used in some daytime TV commercials and places all around in this fun, light-hearted manner when it is quite literally a song about slave rape.

    There's no metaphor, no euphemism.

    The lyrics tell you straight that this song isn't a love tribute to a beloved African American woman and it is most definitely not something about the sweetener that brings us all chocolate chip cookies.

    The song is about white plantation owners raping their African slaves.

    Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields
    Sold in a market down in New Orleans
    Scarred old slaver knows he's doing alright
    Hear him with the women just around midnight.
    Ah, brown sugar how come you taste so good?
    Brown sugar, just like a young girl should


    So not only is it about slave rape here, but about the kind done to young girls.

    Drums beating, cold English blood runs hot,
    Lady of the house wonderin' where it's gonna stop.
    House boy knows he's doin' alright.
    You should have heard him just around midnight.


    So when the plantation owner's wife finds out about what's happening she's appalled, not being able to wait for it to stop. For some reason another one of the house hands appreciates/enjoys this whole thing.

    It's one twisted, insane song to be the opening track for the album Sticky Fingers. In a Rolling Stone interview (get it?!) Jagger said: "God knows what I'm on about on that song... All the nasty subjects in one go... I would never write that song now... I'd think 'Oh God, I can't. I've got to stop. I can't just write raw like that."

    Just like a proper English gentleman should. It's interesting that Mick Jagger has almost gotten to old for himself.

    So next time you see someone singing this happily at karaoke, watch out for a nearby Klan rally.

    Here's a fun, lighthearted commercial featuring this wonderful, wholesome song.

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  5. 12

    Every Breath You Take by The Police

    Here is another song I love bursting people's bubbles with, since the sweet tenderness of the tune makes the song seem like it's just another love song we can all snuggle up and croon to; however, if you look at the lyrics for even a moment you'll realize there is something far more sinister afoot than your typical romance.

    Every breath you take
    Every move you make
    Every bond you break
    Every step you take
    I'll be watching you
    [...]
    Oh can't you see
    You belong to me
    How my poor heart aches
    With every step you take

    As you can see from the above lyrics, this song is not about the simple joys of love but rather from the perspective of a possessive lover who must be vigilant, if not in control, of his (or her) lover's actions. Down to the air they breathe.

    And, in the off chance, you think I'm just using my fancy liberal arts degree to over analyze and destroy your favorite song, here's what Sting, the songwriter himself, has to say about it from a BBC interview. "I think the song is very, very sinister and ugly and people have actually misinterpreted it as being a gentle, little love song." He also claims when people tell him how much they love it, and used it as the main theme for their wedding, he scoffs and says, "Well, good luck."

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