If there's one thing that exists completely under-appreciated in this life, then it's the comedy potential for misheard lyrics. For the majority of us, a misheard song lyric only becomes apparent years following the first time we ever heard the song, revealing the true identity of the lyric in an embarrassing eureka moment where we realize that we've been singing a well known song totally wrong since forever. However when it comes to music from this particular era, the misheard lyrics of '90s songs can hardly be blamed on the average listener.
From the shy utterances of indie rock singer-songwriters and the garbled shouts of alt-rockers to the overtly emotional platitudes of pop ballads which made singers feel the need carry one distorted syllable over many, the '90s was an era where music had few clear intentions when it came to the lyricism of its most famous songs.
With most of these songs being major radio hits, it’s also understandable that you could be caught up without realizing it, merrily singing all the wrong words to whatever song just happens to be playing in the background of our work days. Every day. Forever. But, like it or not, a lot of these misheard lyrics have a bad habit of sticking. Here are 12 of the most common ones (but don’t be surprised if you heard them completely differently, still).
1. Backstreet Boys — "I Want It That Way"
Misheard Lyric: Ain't nothin' but a party/ Ain't nothin' but a dance day
Sounded like the perfect relationship, by all accounts, except...
Real Lyric: Ain't nothin' but a heartache/ Ain't nothin' but a mistake
2. Alanis Morisette — "You Outta Know"
Misheard Lyric: It's not fair/ to remind me/ of the cross-eyed bear that you gave to me
Ugh, that bear was the worst.
Real Lyric: It's not fair/ to deny me/ of the cross I bear that you gave to me
3. Nirvana — "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
Misheard Lyric: A Malatto/ hell if I know/ I'm a skater/ a burrito, yeah!
I don't know what it means but I'm too consumed by level 1 teenage angst right now to care.
Real Lyric: A mulatto/ an albino/ a mosquito/ my libido, yeah!
4. Hanson — "MMMBop"
Misheard Lyric: You got through all the pain and strife/ And a day of acne gone so fast
Come hither, Taylor Hanson, and tell me your magical, skincare secrets.
Real Lyric: You go through all the pain and strife/ then you turn your back and they're gone so fast
5. Britney Spears — "Hit Me Baby One More Time"
Misheard Lyric: Oh baby, baby/ The reason I breed is you/ Boy, you got me blasted
Uhm, is this a chat up line? What's happening here? Is "blasted" a euphemism for something that I'd rather not know about? So confused right now.
Real Lyric: Oh baby, baby/ The reason I breathe is you/ Boy, you got me blinded
6. Marilyn Manson — "The Beautiful People"
Misheard Lyric: Your lemonade stand is hard to keep clean
Maintaining a high flying career from those lemons that life gave you turns out to be a real pain in the a**, huh Marilyn?
Real Lyric: You live with apes, man, it's hard to be clean
7. Ace of Base — "All That She Wants"
Misheard Lyric: All that she wants is another bagel
You and me both, sister.
Real Lyric: All that she wants is another baby
8. Metallica — "Enter Sandman"
Misheard Lyric: Dreams of war/ dreams of lies/ dreams of dragon's fire/ and of baked apple pie
Distressing but ultimately, delicious.
Real Lyric: Dreams of war/ dreams of liars/ dreams of dragon's fire/ and of things that will bite.
9. No Doubt — "Just A Girl"
Misheard Lyric: I'm just a girl/ A little hungry
This is what happens when people make the mistake of presuming that I eat dainty, little girl portions. Hell-to-the-nope.
Real Lyric: I'm just a girl/ Oh little old me
10. Spice Girls — "Wannabe"
Misheard Lyric: Slam your body down/ The wine is all around
An accurate description of what prevails whenever you try to dance on a less than stable table top at 2am, with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc in your hand.
Real Lyric: Slam you body down/ and wind it all around
11. Madonna — "Vogue"
Misheard Lyric: Gene Kelly/ Fred Astaire/ gingivitis everywhere
Did anyone else just read that lyric in the voice of Titus Andromedon?
Real Lyric: Gene Kelly/ Fred Astaire/ Ginger Rogers/ dance on air
12. Boyz II Men — "I'll Make Love To You"
Misheard Lyric: Pour the wine/ like a child
Spilling it everywhere but into the glass? Sounds about right.
Real Lyric: Pour the wine/ light the fire
13. Celine Dion — "My Heart Will Go On"
Misheard Lyric: Near/ far/ Wherever you are/ I believe that the hot dogs go on
I'll never forget you, spectacular hot dog vendor I bought lunch from at the carnival 12 years ago. Never forget...
Real Lyric: Near/ far/ Wherever you are/ I believe that the heart does go on
I feel like we've restored some balance in the world by going through this together. And let's be honest, these are just 13 of thousands of songs that we have sang and will continue to sing incorrectly forever after. And so it shall remain.