Ahh, the '90s — a time that most people look back on with a trace of nostalgia, whether or not their formative years fell during the decade or not. Nineties music was a big part of that — who doesn't hear a TLC song and feel instantly happier? Maybe the people who know the surprisingly dark meaning behind even the most upbeat and catchy '90s hits. Sure, you knew that not every '90s artist sat around all day writing songs about their love of slap bracelets and the Tanner family, but you might be surprised to learn that some of your old favorite '90s songs are actually really dark. Sorry to burst your bubble, friends.
So why didn't we notice just how sad and dark these '90s hits were? I blame our lack of a reliable source for lyrics on the Web. I mean, this was a time when we read our lyrics off the tiny print on the inside of CD covers — it's easy to see why we would have missed an important phrase or two. Then there are the songs that keep their real meaning cloaked with fancy metaphors, giving listeners absolutely no chance to successfully interpret their meaning.
Here are the '90s songs that were way darker than you realized — read on if you're willing to trade your happiness for the truth.
Len, "Steal My Sunshine"
What You Thought: Not letting the proverbial "haters" get you down.
What It's Really About: Struggling with depression around people who don't understand.
Fastball, "The Way"
What You Thought: A couple taking a happy summer stroll.
What It's Really About: An elderly couple who goes missing on a short trip. The last verse is our only clue to the chilling meaning: "Their children woke up, and they couldn't find them."
The Cranberries, "Zombie"
Dave Matthews Band, "Crash Into Me"
Tonic, "If Only You Could See"
Ben Folds, "Brick"
What You Thought: A relationship that's slowly turning sour.
What It's Really About: The relationship in the song does take a turn, but it's for a specific reason — Folds wrote the song about the time that his high school girlfriend got an abortion.