Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean

1 “Every Breath You Take” –  The Police

Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
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    • What it sounds like: A comforting love song
    • What it’s really about: An obsessive stalker

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According to SongFacts, Sting wrote “Every Breath You Take” after separating from his first wife, Frances Tomelty. He explained the inspiration for the song during an interview with New Musical Express. “I think it’s a nasty little song, really rather evil. It’s about jealousy and surveillance and ownership,” Sting said.

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    2 “Like A Virgin” – Madonna

    Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
    Talk About Pop Music
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    • What it sounds like: A song about the power in female sexuality
    • What it’s really about: Starting a new relationship

    Madonna shocked the world with the song “Like A Virgin,” but the songwriter, Billy Steinburg, told SongFacts he wrote the lyrics about making it through a painful breakup. “I had been involved in a very emotionally difficult relationship that had finally ended and I had met somebody new,” he said. “I remember writing that lyric about feeling shiny and new—I made it through the wilderness, somehow I made it through—I made it through this very difficult time.”

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      3 “Born In The U.S.A.” – Bruce Springsteen

      Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
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      • What it sounds like: A song about being proud to be an American
      • What it’s really about: A struggling Vietnam War veteran

      The lyrics of the song “Born In The USA” aren’t as patriotic as they seem. “Sent me off to a foreign land/To go and kill the yellow man.” Springsteen sang later in the song, “Down in the shadow of the penitentiary/Out by the gas fires of the refinery/I’m ten years burning down the road/I’ve got nowhere to run and nowhere to go”

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        4 “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” – Bonnie Tyler

        Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
        Vanity Fair
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        • What it sounds like: A love song
        • What’s really about: A vampire love song

        According to Country Daily, the song’s writer, Jim Steinman, wrote “Total Eclipse of the Heart” as a musical version of Nosferatu. “If anyone listens to the lyrics, they’re really like vampire lines. It’s all about the darkness, the power of darkness and love’s place in the dark,” Steinman said.

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          5 “Wonderful Tonight” – Eric Clapton

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          • What it sounds like: A love ballad
          • What it’s about: A man annoyed with a woman getting dressed

          This song may sound romantic, but according to Songfacts, Clapton wrote the tune while waiting for his girlfriend, Pattie, to get ready for a Buddy Holly tribute in 1976. He grew so impatient as she tried out on different outfits that he grabbed pen and paper to write the lyrics to what would become a fixture at weddings. It’s still a sweet song, despite the unexpected inspiration behind the words.

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          6 “Barracuda” – Heart

          Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
          Mulder And Skully
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          • What it sounds like: A song about a bad boyfriend
          • What it’s about: A creepy comment made by a journalist

          Nancy Wilson told American Songwriter that a journalist asked an inappropriate question about a photo of her standing bare shoulder-to-shoulder with her sister and fellow bandmate, Ann Wilson. “So, the insinuation that we were lovers was, of course, not anywhere near true and really sleazy and inappropriate,” Wilson said. “We were just young enough, just idealistic enough to take it pretty badly and have a lot of anger around it, insult around it.”

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            7 “One” – U2

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            • What it sounds like: A romantic love song
            • What it’s really about: Breaking up

            Bono explained the meaning of “One” in Neil McCormick’s documentary, U2 By U2, “The song is a bit twisted, which is why I could never figure out why people want it at their weddings,” Bono said.” I have certainly met a hundred people who’ve had it at their weddings. I tell them, ‘Are you mad? It’s about splitting up!’”

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              8 “Take Me Home” – Phil Collins

              Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
              Now TV
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              • What it sounds like: A song about a man returning home
              • What it’s really about: A patient in a mental institution

              According to SongFacts, Collins said on VH1 Storytellers that the song’s lyrics refer to a patient in a mental institution and that he was inspired by the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

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                9 “Jump” – Van Halen

                Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                Rolling Stone
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                • What it sounds like: A party anthem
                • What it’s really about: A man threatening to jump off a bridge

                According to Van Halen News Desk, David Lee Roth wrote the lyrics to “Jump” after watching the news and seeing a man on top of Arco Tower, threatening to jump. He thought that there’s always at least one person in the crowd telling the guy to “Go ahead and jump.”

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                  10 “Pretty In Pink” – Psychedelic Furs

                  Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                  Rolling Stone
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                  • What it sounds like: A song about a charming girl
                  • What it’s really about: Being naked

                  Lead singer Richard Butler told The Quietus about “Pretty In Pink,” “The idea of the song was, ‘Pretty In Pink’ as a metaphor for being naked. The song, to me, was actually about a girl who sleeps around a lot and thinks that she’s wanted and in demand and clever and beautiful, but people are talking about her behind her back. That was the idea of the song.”

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                    11 “Walk This Way” – Aerosmith

                    Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                    Medium
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                    • What it sounds like: An octane-charged song
                    • What it’s really about: Inspired by a line from the movie Young Frankenstein

                    According to the Wall Street Journal, Aerosmith took a break from recording to see the movie Young Frankenstein. When they went back to the studio, Steven Tyler had a hard time finishing the lyrics to the song. Producer Jack Douglas suggested they call it “Walk This Way” from a line said by Igor in the film.

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                      12 “Macarena” – Los del Río

                      Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                      Fun 107
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                      • What it sounds like: A song about a fun dance
                      • What it’s really about: A woman who cheats on her boyfriend when he’s drafted into the army

                      The folks over at the Huffington Post translated the lyrics sung by Los del Río and revealed the scandalous content. “Hey Macarena!/Macarena has a boyfriend who is named/Who is named with the last name Vitorino/And while he was being sworn in as a conscript/She’s giving it to two friends.” Yikes!

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                        13 “In The Air Tonight” – Phil Collins

                        Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                        NBC News
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                        • What it sounds like: A person witnessing someone drowning
                        • What it’s really about: Divorce

                        Phil Collins opened up to Jimmy Fallon about what motivated him to write “In The Air Tonight,” “Well, you go through a divorce,” Collins said. “And sometimes it’s like, ‘I love you. Don’t hang up.’ And sometimes it’s like, ‘Well, f–k you.’ And that’s where a song like [that] comes in. There’s obviously a lot of anger in there.”

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                          14 “Sister Christian” – Night Ranger

                          Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                          Louder
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                          • What it sounds like: A song about a rebellious nun
                          • What it’s really about: A girl about to graduate from high school

                          The lead singer and bassist Jack Blades told Fox News, “Kelly’s sister’s name is Christy and so he was writing a song about his little sister growing up in a small town in Oregon and cruising up and down the street on a Friday, Saturday night, you know, motoring, everything like that, but it was sister Christy. He’s singing ‘sister Christy oh the,’ and we all thought it was Christian.”

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                            15 “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”- The Beatles

                            Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                            Rolling Stone
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                            • What you think it’s about: A song about a woman tripping on mind-altering substances
                            • What it’s actually about: A picture drawn by John Lennon’s son

                            According to ILoveClassicRock, Lennon said during an interview on the Dick Cavett Show, “My son came home with a drawing of a strange-looking woman flying around. He said, ‘It’s Lucy in the sky with diamonds.’ I thought, ‘That’s beautiful.’ I immediately wrote the song about it.”

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                            16 “You’re Beautiful” – James Blunt

                            Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
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                            • What it seems like: A romantic song
                            • What it’s really about: A man stalking his ex-girlfriend

                            James Blunt told Time that he wrote “You’re Beautiful” after seeing his ex-girlfriend with another man on the Underground in London and never saw her again. “It’s about this guy who’s high as a kite stalking someone else’s girlfriend—and should be locked up and put in prison. But people think, ‘Ah, he’s a sweet romantic.’ If you think that’s what romance is, then I think you’re pretty weird,” Blunt said.

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                            17 “MMMBop” – Hanson

                            Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                            E! Online
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                            • What it sounds like: A mindless pop song
                            • What it’s really about: Cherishing life’s fleeting moments

                            Zac Hanson revealed the meaning of the hit song “MMMBop” to E! News. “It represents the fact that time passes very quickly… And so in a story about reaching for what’s important and kind of driving towards the impossible dream, MMMBop is telling you go now, go now, go now, because in a moment, in an MMMBop, life will be over and have passed you by,” Hanson said.

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                              18 “Summer Of ’69” – Bryan Adams

                              Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                              Showbiz Cheat Sheet
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                              • What it sounds like: A song about childhood innocence
                              • What it’s really about: Gettin’ busy

                              Bryan Adams told Louder Sound about the origins of “Summer of ‘69,” “The song is a bit autobiographical,” Adams explained, “but it’s really about summer love and, in my case, being a musician. I love the song >Night Moves by Bob Seger, which is about getting laid in the summer, and I always wanted to write an answer to that.”

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                                19 “Waterfalls” – TLC

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                                • What it sounds like: A catchy song about waterfalls
                                • What it’s really about: AIDS awareness

                                TLC’s “Waterfalls” deals with a number of issues, including AIDS. The evidence is directly in the lyrics. “One day he goes and takes a glimpse in the mirror/But he doesn’t recognize his own face/His health is fading and he doesn’t know why/Three letters took him to his final resting place/Y’all don’t hear me”

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                                  20 “London Calling” – The Clash

                                  Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                  Infocielo
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                                  • What it sounds like: A punk rock anthem
                                  • What it’s really about: The threat of London flooding

                                  Lead singer Joe Strummer told Uncut that “London Calling” originated in a taxi ride with his fiancée, Gaby Salter. “There was a lot of Cold War nonsense going on, and we knew that London was susceptible to flooding,” Strummer said. “She told me to write something about that.” The rest is rock-and-roll history.

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                                    21 “99 Luftballoons” – NENA

                                    Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                    Genius
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                                    • What it sounds like: An upbeat song about balloons
                                    • What it’s really about: A UFO sighting starting a nuclear war

                                    Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen wrote on his website that the idea for “99 Red Balloons” came to them at a Rolling Stones concert in Berlin, where balloons were released into the sky. Carlos asked, “Would Russian radar control be smart enough to spot the difference between a bunch of harmless balloons and a swarm of short-range nuclear missiles? Or would they press the red button, launch a counter-attack, and accidentally bring about worldwide nuclear annihilation?”

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                                      22 “Losing My Religion” – R.E.M

                                      Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                      The Wall Street Journal
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                                      • What it sounds like: A song about questioning faith
                                      • What it’s really about: Unrequited love

                                      Lead singer Micheal Stipe told Top 2000 a gogo about the inspiration behind “Losing My Religion,” “I love the idea of writing a song about unrequited love,” he said. “About holding back, reaching forward, and then pulling back again. The thing for me that is most thrilling is you don’t know if the person I’m reaching out for is aware of me. If they even know I exist. It’s this really tearful, heartfelt thing that found its way into one of the best pieces of music the band ever gave me.”

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                                        23 “All Star” – Smash Mouth

                                        Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                        Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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                                        • What it sounds like: A song about a lovable green ogre named Shrek
                                        • What it’s about: Climate change

                                        People may associate “All Star” with the movie Shrek, but the song actually has a more political meaning. The lyrics seem filled with tongue-in-cheek self-affirmations, but it actually touches on the threat of climate change. The band’s guitarist, Greg Camp, told Vice magazine, “It’s not completely about climate change but it has elements, or a few lines in the lyrics, addressing a ‘hole’ in the ozone layer and global warming.”

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                                        24 “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)” – Green Day

                                        Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                        Pro Motion Music News
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                                        • What it sounds like: A reflection of past glories
                                        • What it means: A bitter goodbye

                                        Chances are that you’ve heard this song at graduations and funerals over the years. Everyone thinks it’s an uplifting tune, but Billie Joe Armstrong told Guitar World, “It’s about an ex-girlfriend who had moved to Ecuador,” the singer said. “In the song, I tried to be level-headed about her leaving, even though I was completely p*ssed off. So I named it ‘Good Riddance’ just to express my anger.”

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                                        25 “Chandelier” – Sia

                                        Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                        Vocal
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                                        • What it sounds like: A song about letting go of inhibitions
                                        • What it’s about: Substance addiction

                                        This song may sound like it’s about a girl that likes to have fun, but the meaning behind it has a much darker theme. Sia spoke with American Songwriter about the inspiration behind the song that put her on the map. “When I saw a chandelier, I thought I could write a song about swinging from the chandelier. A party anthem of some sort. But as I was writing it, it turned into a song about my battles with addiction, inadvertently.”

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                                        26 “Jolene” – Dolly Parton

                                        Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                        CNBC
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                                        • What it sounds like: A woman begging another woman not to steal her man
                                        • What inspired the song: A young fan with red hair that Parton met during a concert

                                        Dolly Parton told NPR about the song, “One night, I was on stage, and there was this beautiful little girl—she was probably eight years old at the time,” she continued. “And she had this beautiful red hair, this beautiful skin, these beautiful green eyes, and she was looking up at me, holding, you know, for an autograph. I said, ‘Well, you’re the prettiest little thing I ever saw. So what is your name?’ And she said, ‘Jolene.’ And I said, ‘Jolene. Jolene. Jolene. Jolene.’ I said, ‘That is pretty. That sounds like a song. I’m going to write a song about that.'”

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                                        27 “Firework” – Katy Perry

                                        Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                        Hello Magazine
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                                        • What it sounds like: An empowering anthem
                                        • What it’s about: Perry’s morbid thoughts on death

                                        It’s shocking that Katy Perry was inspired by her fascination with death when she wrote “Firework”. “I want to be a firework, both living and dead,” she told Billboard magazine. “My boyfriend showed me a paragraph out of Jack Kerouac’s book On the Road, about people that are buzzing and fizzing and full of life and never say a commonplace thing. They shoot across the sky like a firework and make people go, ‘Ahhh.’ I guess that making people go ‘ahhh’ is kind of like my motto.”

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                                        28 “Closing Time” – Semisonic

                                        Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                        Amazon
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                                        • What it sounds like: A bar at closing time
                                        • What it’s about: The birth of Dan Wilson’s baby girl

                                        Semisonic’s lead singer, Dan Wilson, revealed to Billboard that “Closing Time” was inspired by the birth of his daughter. “We had spent seven years of our lives at that point, four nights a week entertaining people. That was our life.” Wilson continued. “Some bouncers yelling things, closing time coming, all that imagery, literally, that’s how the song started and then when I was halfway done, I started realizing the whole thing was a pun about being born, so I just made sure that the rest of the thing could ride with that double meaning, but nobody got the joke and I didn’t bother to explain. I thought everyone would get it.”

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                                        29 “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Party)” – Beastie Boys

                                        Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                        Dazed
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                                        • What it sounds like: A party anthem
                                        • What it’s really about: A spoof on a party anthem

                                        Mike D revealed they wrote the song to make fun of popular party anthems like “Smoking in the Boys Room”. “The only thing that upsets me is that we might have reinforced certain values of some people in our audience when our own values were actually totally different,” Diamond said. “There were tons of guys singing along to “Fight for Your Right” who were oblivious to the fact it was a total goof on them.”

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                                        30 “Hey Ya!” Outkast

                                        Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                        Pinterest
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                                        • What it sounds like: A catchy song you can dance to
                                        • What it’s about: Being stuck in an unhappy relationship

                                        Andre 3000 opened up to MTV about the meaning behind their hit song “Hey Ya”, saying, “It’s about some people who stay together in relationships because of tradition because somebody told them, ‘You guys are supposed to stay together.’ But you pretty much end up being unhappy for the rest of your life.”

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                                        31 “Pumped Up Kicks” – Foster the People

                                        Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                        The Young Folks
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                                        • What it sounds like: An upbeat song
                                        • What it’s about: Gun violence

                                        Lead singer Mark Foster explained to CNN the inspiration for the song “Pumped up Kicks”, saying, “For me, that song was really an observation about something that’s happening in the youth culture these days. I guess I wanted to reveal that internal dialogue of a kid who doesn’t have anywhere to turn, and I think the song has kind of done its job. I think people are talking about it, and it’s become a point of conversation, which I think is a really healthy thing.

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                                        32 “Semi-Charmed Life” – Third Eye Blind

                                        Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                        Amazon
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                                        • What it sounds like: A happy song with a catchy hook
                                        • What it’s about: Addiction

                                        According to Reddit, Stephan Jenkins, the singer and songwriter, said “Semi-charmed Life” is a dark song about certain substance abuse. “The music that I wrote for it is not intended to be bright and shiny for bright and shiny’s sake. It’s intended to be what the seductiveness of speed is like, represented in music.” He added that the title “refers to a life that’s all propped up. You know, the beautiful people who lead bright and shiny lives that on the inside are all f*cked up.”.

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                                        33 “My Sharona” – The Knack

                                        Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                        NME
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                                        • What it sounds like: A song about getting it on
                                        • What it’s really about: A man lusting after a girl named Sharona

                                        The Knack wrote the song “My Sharona” when band member Doug Fieger fell in love and dated a younger girl named Sharona. Fieger once revealed, “It was like getting hit in the head with a baseball bat; I fell in love with her instantly. And when that happened, it sparked something and I started writing a lot of songs feverishly in a short amount of time.”

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                                        “Hotel California” – The Eagles

                                        Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                        Chicago Tribune
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                                        • What it sounds like: A song about a freaky hotel in California
                                        • What it’s about: American excess

                                        Don Henley told Rolling Stone what inspired The Eagles to write “Hotel California”. “Lyrically, the song deals with traditional or classical themes of conflict; darkness and light, good and evil, youth and age, the spiritual versus the secular. I guess you could say it’s a song about the loss of innocence,” Henley added. “It’s basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America, which is something we knew a lot about.”

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                                        “The One I Love ” – R.E.M.

                                        Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
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                                        • What it sounds like: A love song
                                        • What it’s really about: A song about using people over and over

                                        Lead singer Michael Stipe spoke to Q magazine about the feeling behind “The One I Love”, saying, “It’s probably better that they think it’s a love song at this point. That song just came up from somewhere and I recognized it as being really violent and awful. But it wasn’t directed at any one person. I would never write a song like that.”

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                                        36 “Bad Reputation” – Joan Jett

                                        Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                        Decider
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                                        • What it sounds like: A rebellious anthem
                                        • What it’s really about: Sexism in the music industry

                                        Kenny Laguna, co-writer of the song, told SongFacts, “Joan had this bad reputation, no label would sign her—that’s why we own the records. It was so frustrating, we thought we should write a song about it. One day Joan said something, and I said, ‘You shouldn’t do this.’ I was trying to give her the advice of an old man, but she was a teenager at the time, and she says, ‘Look, I don’t care about my bad reputation.’ I said, ‘Whoa, there’s the song.'”

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                                          37 “We Built This City” – Starship

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                                          • What it sounds like: The 1977 incident when Jefferson Airplane was not allowed to play at a free concert in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park
                                          • What it’s about: Absolutely nothing specific

                                          According to the site Songfacts, “We Built This City” would only be an assemblage between a demo created from the lyrics of Bernie Taupin, Elton John’s songwriting partner, and the music of Martin Page, which was then modified by the group at the request of producers. Starship was then looking for a hit, but unfortunately, the song was ranked among the worst songs in history by Blender magazine, Rolling Stone and GQ.

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                                          38 “Iron Man” – Black Sabbath

                                          Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                          LoudWire
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                                          • What it sounds like: The theme to the Iron Man films
                                          • What it’s really about: A sci-fi story about a man who sees the future

                                          According to History 101, Sabbath’s bassist and songwriter, Geezer Butler, revealed, “I wrote it about a guy who is blasted off into space and sees the future of the world, which isn’t very good,” Butler explained. “Then he goes through a magnetic storm on the way back and is turned into iron. He’s trying to warn everybody about the future of the world but he can’t speak, so everyone is taking the mickey out of him all the time, and he just doesn’t care in the end.”

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                                          39 “Jack and Diane” – John Mellencamp

                                          Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                          Sound on Sound
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                                          • What it sounds like: A love song about a debutant and a football star
                                          • What it’s really about: An interracial couple

                                          John Mellencamp told HuffPost Live,Originally the line was Jack was not a football star, Jack was an African American,” Mellencamp said. “In 1982, when I turned the song in to the record company, they went, ‘Whoa, can’t you make him something other than that?’” He continued, “So, anyway, through much debate and me being young, I said, ‘Okay, we’ll make him a football star.’”

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                                          40 “Fire and Rain” – James Taylor

                                          Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                          Amazon
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                                          • What it sounds like: A song about a woman who died in a plane crash
                                          • What it’s really about: James Taylor’s addiction and lost of a friend

                                          James Taylor said during a 1972 Rolling Stones interview“The first verse is about my reactions to the death of a friend. The second verse is about my arrival in this country with a monkey on my back, and there Jesus is an expression of my desperation in trying to get through the time when my body was aching and the time was at hand when I had to do it. And the third verse of that song refers to my recuperation in Austin Riggs which lasted about five months.”

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                                          41 “Detroit Rock City” – KISS

                                          Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                          Ultimate Classic Rock
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                                          • What it sounds like: A tribute to the music scene in Detroit
                                          • What it’s really about: A young fan who is killed in a car accident on his way to a Kiss concert

                                          According to Song Facts, Paul Stanley said: “On a previous tour somebody had gotten hit by a car and killed outside the arena. I remember thinking how weird it is that people can be on their way to something that’s really a party and a celebration of being alive, and die in the process of doing it. So that became the basis of the lyric.”

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                                          42 “I Will Always Love You” – Dolly Parton

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                                          • What it sounds like: A song about the end of a romantic relationship
                                          • What it’s really about: The end of a professional relationship

                                          Dolly Parton told CMT during a 2011 interview that she wrote the song when she decided to leave Porter Wagoner’s show. “There was a lot of grief and heartache there, and he just wasn’t listening to my reasoning for my going,” Dolly explained. “I thought, ‘Well, why don’t you do what you do best? Why don’t you just write this song?’… so I went home and out of a very emotional place in me at that time, I wrote the song, ‘I Will Always Love You.'”

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                                          43 “Blackbird” – The Beatles

                                          Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                          Rolling Stone
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                                          • What is sounds like: A song about a black bird
                                          • What it’s about: The civil rights movement

                                          Paul McCartney explained the meaning behind the song to GQ. “I was sitting around with my acoustic guitar, and I’d heard about the civil rights troubles that were happening in the 60s in Alabama, Mississippi, Little Rock in particular,” he said. “I just thought it would be really good if I could write something that if it ever reached any of the people going through those problems, it might give them a little bit of hope. So, I wrote ‘Blackbird.’”

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                                          44 “Human” – The Killers

                                          Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                          Deseret
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                                          • What it sounds like: A song with a grammatical error in the lyrics
                                          • What it’s about: The moral decay of society

                                          The lyrics to The Killers song “Human” are confusing to some fans. The particular line says, “Are we human, or are we dancer.” Many people wonder if it is a grammar mistake. Lead singer, Brandon Flowers, cleared up the confusion, telling Rolling Stone, “It’s supposed to be a dance song. It goes with the chorus. If you can’t put that together, you’re an idiot. I just don’t get why there’s a confusion about it.”

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                                          45 “Ben” – Michael Jackson

                                          Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                          Biography
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                                          • What it sounds like: A song about a friendship between two boys
                                          • What it’s about: A relationship between a boy named Ben and a pet rat

                                          The song “Ben” may have sweet lyrics, but according to Songfacts, it was written for the 1972 film of the same name about a boy who befriends an evil rat that recruits other human-killing rats. The main character, Ben, eventually transforms into a rat himself. So, while it may sound like a sentimental ballad, it unexpectedly accompanied a horror movie about killer rodents. Who knew?

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                                          46 “Love Song” – Sara Bareilles

                                          Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean
                                          ABC News
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                                          • What it sounds like: An artist being forced to write a love song by her record label
                                          • What it’s about: An unpleasant experience Bareilles had working with fellow songwriters

                                          Sara Bareilles revealed to the Huffington Post, “The co-writing sessions, I think for me, they came at a time where I was still so unsure of my own edges. In a way, I was still sort of discovering who I was as an artist at that time. And while I don’t think that any of those collaborators had any bad intentions, I just don’t think I was ready to collaborate,” said the singer.

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                                          Leigh Hewett

                                          Freelance writer and pop culture junkie, Leigh Hewett loves to keep her finger on the pulse of celebrity news. Her work has been featured on TheTalko, Babygaga, and TheRichest. Her hobbies include keeping up with the Kardashians, eating french fries, and driving her two sons to and from basketball practice, all while blasting 90s hip hop from her minivan.

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