When you consider everything else we get exposed to, dirty song lyrics are no surprise in this day and age. We can listen to Nicki Minaj rap about “making it drip” and carry on about our day unfazed — enlightened, really. Some 12-year-old just covered “Trap Queen” like it was no big deal. On the one hand, it’s great to think that we don't have to go all "Greased Lightning" and try to make a sexual metaphor out of everything. We can just be free to enjoy The Weeknd in all his glory.
On the other hand, it becomes shocking to look back on some classic tracks and find more double entendres than you can count on your fingers. I guess Freud was right after all; everything really is just about sex. It leaves you thinking, "Wait, what do you mean it wasn't just a song about a girl named Eileen? How could someone do this to me?!”
Hidden meanings in songs can range from the absurd to the cryptic — but don’t worry, there’s no “Hail Satan” here. These 10 classics are just downright dirty. Yet, beware: You’re definitely going to have flashbacks of singing these songs in front of your parents, and be forever unable to face them again.
1. Spice Girls, "2 Become 1"
Lyrics: Come a little bit closer, baby / Get it on, get it on / Cuz tonight, is the night when two become one
When we were jamming out to the Spice Girls in 1996, "2 Become 1" was one of the slow, soulful tracks that found us scrambling for the fast-forward button on the tape deck so we could bounce around to "Wannabe." Reexamining it now, it's pretty explicit in its intent: "Be a little bit wiser, baby / Put it on, put it on" sings Baby Spice. But hey, at least now we know that the Spice Girls were advocating for safe sex this whole time!
2. Cutting Crew, "(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight"
Lyrics: It was a long, hot night / She made it easy, she made it feel right
Admittedly, it's a bit difficult to really analyze the content of a song when you only hear a clip in movies and commercials (no offense to the one-hit wonders of Cutting Crew, who I am sure are doing very well off royalties). A bit of research reveals that band member Nick Van Eede received his songwriting inspiration while literally engaged in intercourse. The "dying" in question is a play on the French phrase la petit mort, which is a euphemism for an orgasm. Crafty.
3. The Beatles, "Ticket To Ride"
Lyrics: She's got a ticket to ride / But she don't care
This is common knowledge among flannel-wearing dads, but it's highly speculated that this famous Beatles track is actually about prostitutes. The "ticket" in question may refer to the doctor-issued cards which sex workers in Hamburg, Germany carried as proof of a clean bill of health. John Lennon, who wrote the song, also claimed that this was one of the "earliest heavy-metal records made."
4. Baha Men, "Who Let The Dogs Out?"
Lyrics: And tell the fellas stop the name callin' / Yepee ah yo / Then them girls respond to the call / I hear a woman shout out / Who let the dogs out?
Want to feel old? This song came out 15 years ago. Now that we've got that out of the way, here's something to be happy about: This song actually has feminist undertones. Anslem Douglas, the writer of the song, explained the tune was actually bashing men who cat-call women. "The men started the name-calling and then the girls respond to the call. And then a woman shouts out, 'Who let the dogs out?' And we start calling men dogs. It was really a man-bashing song," says Douglas. Does anyone else have a newfound respect for the Baha Men?
5. Dexys Midnight Runners, "Come On Eileen"
Lyrics: You in that dress / My thoughts I confess / Verge on dirty / Oh, come on Eileen
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this feel-good song actually appears to be about sexual coercion. "You've grown, so grown" sings Dexy and his Midnight Runners. Sorry, I think Eileen has better things to do.
6. One Direction, "Up All Night"
Lyrics: I wanna stay up all night / And do it all with you
If I've learned anything during this investigation into the world of dubious song lyrics, it's that the One Direction boys are dirty! Nearly every verse and chorus is ripe with double entendres, and "Up All Night" is no exception. Sure, maybe he means that he wants to stay up all night and "watch Netflix" or "make brownies at midnight," but I think we can all make an educated guess at the real meaning behind this one.
7. Violent Femmes, "Blister In The Sun"
Lyrics: Body and beats / I stain my sheets
This weirdo-stoner classic manages to make itself even dirtier by sneaking in a tidy little line about masturbation. But hey, it's catchy!
8. The Knack, "My Sharona"
Lyrics: I always get it up / For the touch of a younger kind
Oh dear, didn't anyone every explain to these guys the concept of "age of consent"? I hope for Sharona's sake that this is more of a May/December romance situation and not of the January/September variety. (I also hope that no one was named Sharona after this song was released.)
9. TLC, "Ain't Too Proud To Beg"
Lyrics: Two inches or a yard rock hard or if it's saggin' / I ain't too proud to beg (no)
"Ain't Too Proud To Beg" comes off as a crowd-pleasing party anthem. The video is super-fun and wild, but the lyrics reveal a much more private message that doesn't leave a lot to the imagination. But we love the sexually expressive message hidden between the shouts of "Ain't Too Proud To Beg!"
10. The Foo Fighters, "All My Life"
Lyrics: Hey don't let it go to waste / I love it but I hate the taste / Weight keeping me down
This heavy, anthemic song is a Foo Fighters fan favorite. It's meaning? Dave Grohl put it pretty bluntly, explaining that the song is about cunnilingus. "I'm very fond of giving oral sex to women," he says. Oh my. I am suddenly a huge Foo Fighters fan.