Once upon a time, you were a child with a healthy interest in radio — so you listened to whatever tune came on, no matter the subject matter. These songs you shouldn't have been listening when you were younger have a lot in common. Did you ever notice that the filthier the subject matter, the catchier the melody was, making it a dead certainty that you'd sing it somewhere really inappropriate without even thinking about it? Like, say, at Sunday School?
Or that if a track was drug-related, it often used an up-tempo beat, making it seem sunnier than its topic? Or that often the naughtier a song was, the more the evil geniuses behind it tried to market it to kids — presumably to the fury and frustration of a whole generation of parents? ("Barbie Girl," I'm looking at you.)
Basically, all that really sunny, kid-friendly sounding music that you thought you were totally entitled to sing along to were far more adult than you may have realized or even remembered after all these years. If you grew up in the '90s or the '00s and had ears and access to radio, I'm guessing at least one of these inappropriate jams was a song you were obsessed with as a child.
1. "Thong Song" By Sisqó
So inappropriate. So catchy. And since a remix of this track actually made it onto the Nutty Professor II: The Klumps soundtrack, every kid in town was singing it under their breath.
2. "Barbie Girl" By Aqua
The topic, the bright colors in the music video, and the sugary-sweet melody meant if you were a kid, you assumed you were the target audience. But with lines like "You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere" and "You can touch, you can play, if you say, 'I'm always yours'," it was pretty creepy to hear kids singing this.
3. "Pony" By Ginuwine
There you were thinking it was for all the kids out there who were into horse riding. The chorus set you straight, though: "If you're horny, let's do it." This wasn't about a pony, this was about Ginuwine's pony, which was something totally different.
4. "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" By TLC
You only joined in with the chorus, which sounded pretty general, right? But now let's take a deep-dive into the lyrics: "If I need it in the morning or the middle of the night... If the lovin' is strong then he got it goin' on... Two inches or a yard rock hard or if it's saggin'..." Oh dear.
5. "Rump Shaker" By Wreckx-N-Effect
The irony was that the song really did make you want to shake your rump. But you probably weren't Wreckx-N-Effect's target audience when they rapped "A wiggle and a jiggle can make the night complete."
6. "Genie In A Bottle" By Christina Aguilera
Was this about emotional loneliness? Or was it about a woman asking someone to rub her in the right place? Probably the latter, which makes the fact that you were obsessed with this track all the weirder.
7. "Sex And Candy" By Marcy Playground
That great riff endures, but the subject matter — sex and, presumably, drugs — still makes a great case for why your parents switched the radio station every time this came on.
8. "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" By Will Smith
Because 8-year-olds chanting "Gettin' jiggy with it! Na na na na na na" is pretty upsetting. Bonus points for the immortal line "Big Willie style's all in it."
9. "2 Become 1" By The Spice Girls
Because no matter how sweet the harmonies, this was still a song about two people fusing their bodies together during penetration.
10. "...Baby One More Time" By Britney Spears
The song's chorus "hit me baby one more time" conjured up images of an S&M relationship. This wasn't, in fact, what the songwriters Max Martin and Rami Yacoub had intended; they're Swedish, and they had meant "hit me" to sound like American slang for "call me." So actually the song is about a girl wanting her ex-boyfriend to call her back. Which is... not what it sounds like.
11. "Sex Bomb" By Tom Jones
The title was bad enough, and the refrain ("You can give it to me when I need to come along") was worse. But it was a total earworm, so what parent could blame their kid for singing along?
12. "Sorted For E's & Wizz" By Pulp
Whether or not younger you could decipher what this song was about, the experiences described sounded perfectly pleasant: "Just tell me when the spaceship lands because all of this has to mean something," "In the middle of the night it feels so nice," "At 4 o'clock the normal world feels very, very, very faraway."
13. "Bump 'N Grind" By R.Kelly
I mean, all of it right? But this in particular: "You say he's not treating you right/Lady spend the night now." Hey, don't tell the women of tomorrow that in response to your boyfriend being sucky is to jump into someone else's bed. No judgement on how quick you need to move on, but emotional vulnerability and a new sexual partner? Doesn't sound like the greatest advice in the world.
You had no business listening to any of these songs as a kid — but, praise be, you're now an adult. Make sure you play them loud and proud for the filthiest singalong in town.