music 15 Songs That Don't Mean What You Think They Do  

Molly Mahan
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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 even realize what the lyrics really are. Then, one day, your world breaks down. The real meanings of these popular songs will shock you.

Everything you knew and loved about these songs is about to turn out to be a lie because that songs you thought were innocent and sweet are often actually about the opposite. Think "Born in the USA" is a patriotic anthem? Think again.

Hopefully, learning the truth about these popular songs doesn't shatter your world too much, though it will certainly make you think twice at the next karaoke night.

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The Ice Cream Truck Song That utterly American ice cream truck song you thought meant "hey kids, come enjoy a cold treat on this fine sunny day!" actually has some of the most racist lyrics in the history of music. Recorded for Columbia ...

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Brown Sugar by The Rolling Stones Many an unsuspecting singer chooses "Brown Sugar" for karaoke and balks at the lyrics as they appear on the screen. Somehow (we don't know how) they typically understand what this song is about, even though the story ...

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Tutti Frutti by Little Richard You probably heard this song a lot as a kid and didn't think much of it. Well, give this record a spin and really listen to the lyrics - you'll realize that the song is all kinds of rough. Not only is it about ...

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Closing Time by Semisonic This memorable '90s track is about a bar at closing time, right? RIGHT? No. No, it's about something else entirely. According to Dan Wilson, Semisonic lead singer, it's about being "bounced from the womb." As in, your ...

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Like a Virgin by Madonna "Like a Virgin" isn't about a sensitive girl, and is, in fact, not about a girl at all. Lyricist Billy Steinberg explained in an interview with the LA Times that he did not intend for a woman to sing the song, and ...

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There She Goes by Sixpence Nonethericher This is actually a cover of a song by British rock band The La's from their eponymous album. Although the song initially seems to be about a woman, if you look closely at the lyrics, the "she" in question is actually ...

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My Sharona by The Knack We all probably know that "My Sharona" is about sex or trying to get laid, but how about sex with underaged girl? Maybe not. In the tradition of "Young Girl" by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, the song ...

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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, so he goes to ...

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Money For Nothing by Dire Straits Probably best known for the repetitive chanting of "I want my MTV" by Sting, the song is often believed to be an anthem for the MTV generation. "I want my MTV" even became a tagline, and slogan for the ...

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Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind Misconstrued by eBay and many others as an anthem for consumerism (thanks no doubt in part to the music video), "Semi-Charmed Life" is actually about a drug users dark descent into crystal meth use and the sexual acts ...

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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 ...

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Material Girl by Madonna So you think "Material Girl" is about a gold digging wh*re? Well, that's not exactly correct. Although the video directly alludes to Marilyn Monroe's gold digging anthem, "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best ...

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(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 ...

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Every Breath You Take by The Police The sweet tenderness of this 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 ...

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White Wedding by Billy Idol Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli played this song at their wedding, and since that has been documented as the world's perfect love match, we can imagine that even great guitarists fail to listen to the lyrics. If he had, ...