Sometimes you can listen to a song for years, only to discover after loving it for so long that you had no idea what that song was actually about. In fact, there are tons of songs with confusing meanings, misheard lyrics, or double entendre. Often, you discover that you didn't know the meaning of a song at a really inopportune time, like when you choose the song for karaoke and realize onstage that you don't actually know the lyrics. Or when you're driving in your car, and your friend (who does know the lyrics) hears you sing whatever nonsense words you think are in the song and laughs at you for your naiveté.
Don't be too hard on yourself: it's not your fault. Sometimes, musicians have a really difficult time enunciating when they're ripping into a song, and nobody knows what the heck they're saying. In other cases, the lyrics are so vague, or mired in double entendre, that the hidden meaning can completely slip by you. And some songs have such a sick beat or killer music that you're completely distract from how serious, sad, or ridiculous the lyrics are.
Here are seven songs whose meanings slipped by most of us at first...
"Dancing On My Own" — Robyn
It took me years of drunkenly dancing to this song at hipster bars throughout Brooklyn before I actually listened to the lyrics. It turns out, they're incredibly sad!
"Poker Face" — Lady Gaga
After this song became a mega-hit, Gaga confirmed numerous times that it's about her bisexuality, much to the surprise of the millions of heterosexuals who had been singing along completely unaware.
"Puff The Magic Dragon" — Peter, Paul, and Mary
Look, everyone likes to think of this song as being about smoking weed, but, if you actually read the lyrics, you'll see that the song is actually about absolutely nothing. It's complete nonsense.
"Born in the U.S.A." — Bruce Springsteen
On the surface, this song sounds like one of the most rousingly patriotic tunes ever written, so much so that numerous political candidates have used it on the campaign trail. In fact, the song is about the horrendous mistreatment of soldiers returning from Vietnam after the war.
"Every Breath You Take" — The Police
"Such a heartfelt song about love," you thought when you first heard it. Listen a little more closely, however, and it's clear that the song is actually from the perspective of an obsessive stalker. "Every breath you take, every move you make, I'll be watching you..."
"Hit Me Baby (One More Time)" — Britney Spears
Granted, I was in about fifth grade when this song came out; nevertheless, all I heard was an infectious beat and addictive chorus. Reading through these overtly vulgar lyrics as an adult, however, I'm shocked that my parents ever allowed me to listen to Britney Spears at all after this hit.
"Semi-Charmed Life" — Third Eye Blind
So upbeat! Such a glossy video! Who would ever suspect that the song is actually about a couple on a meth binge? Certainly not optimistic 90's music fans...