8 Songs with Meanings You Won’t Expect
Published by Nemanja on May 13, 2015
You might be surprised to hear that Miley Cyrus never heard a single Jay Z song even though she sings so enthusiastically that ‘the Jay Z songs was on’ in her hit single ‘Party in the USA’. What’s even more surprising is that, according to her words, she doesn’t listen to pop music. You might be even more surprised to know that Sweet Child O’ Mine was written in less than 5 five minutes.
Furthermore, Ed Sheeran‘s hit single ‘Don’t’ had the f-word, but he decided to remove it from the studio version of the song. Why? Well, because a taxi driver told Sheeran that he won’t let his daughter listen to Ed’s music because it has explicit lyrics. Also, we cannot leave this unnoticed – the lyrics of Ariana Grande‘s ‘Break Free‘ don’t make sense. How do we know that? We read it, and we can’t quite wrap our minds around that phrase ‘I only wanna die alive’. We tried so hard, yet we failed.
We almost forgot, South Detroit from ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ doesn’t exist. The lead singer of Journey basically lied to us – he’s obviously not a city boy from South Detroit unless the city is a river.
Yes, the music world is full of surprises, and what we want to share with you in this article are 8 songs that have meanings you’d never expect. So, let’s start.
1) The Police – Every Breath You Take (Stalkers’ Anthem)
We’ll start our list of 8 songs with meaning you’d never expect with a classic: The Police – Every Breath You Take. Sounds like a really lovely love song, right? A guy watching over a girl that left him, making sure he’s always around to make sure nothing bad happens to her. NOT.
This song is not a love song, but, as we like to call it – a stalkers’ anthem. Why? Let’s start with the lines ‘every breath you take, every move you make, I’ll be watching you’. How close should you be with someone (or to someone) to be able to do that? We’ll just say that the guy from the song has nothing to do in his life but watch his loved one. From that we assume he has no job, no friends, and the only thing he has is his obsession with the girl. Does that sound like a stalker?
Have you ever noticed that Sting repeats the phrase ‘I’ll be watching you’ fourteen times in the song? When someone says that once, you start to feel uncomfortable. After 14 of those, you call the police (no pun intended).
There is a really big problem in the line ‘O, can’t you see, you belong to me’. She obviously doesn’t share the same idea. What should have been a great love song, turned out to be a creepy stalking song.
2) Sia – Chandelier
Famous for her decision not to show her face in front of cameras, singer Sia wrote a hit single Chandelier. Now, what’s the song about? ‘Chandelier’ is mainly revolving around partying and having fun – basically, ‘living like tomorrow doesn’t exist’. Sia has struggled with alcoholism, thus lyrics: ‘1, 2, 3, drink’.
However, she wanted to show the other side of partying and living every day like there’s no tomorrow. The song shows that she drinks in order not to feel anything, Then, the lines: ‘Sun is up, I’m a mess, gotta get out now, gotta run from this, here comes the shame, here comes the shame’ tell us that she regrets drinking.
Sia led a long battle with alcoholism, and stopped drinking after she discovered she suffered from depression. Taking all of this into account, ‘Chandelier’ is not a party anthem, but a really sad song about coping with alcoholism, fitting in with the rest of the world, and eventually finding out that escapisms is not the solution.
3) Madonna – Material Girl
Madonna’s ‘Material Girl’ song sounds like it is about a material girl who’s after a rich guy – if we concentrate on the firm grasp of the obvious. The main culprit for the wrong misinterpretation of the song is the video. Madonna is presented as a girl that is only interested in superficial things i.e. money, money, and more money. However, this song’s meaning may surprise you.
Namely, the meaning of ‘Material Girl’ is just the opposite of what you’d expect. The song is about a girl who works hard to be able to enjoy nice things in life. The man she wants is not supposed to buy her everything, but be on the same page as her i.e. be successful.
According to the lyrics, ‘the boy with the cold hard cash is always Mister Right’. However, this material girl is Miss Right, and she wants a guy who understands all the sacrifices that living in luxury takes. In relationships where both partners are equally successful, in most cases there’s not much room for romance.
If you look at the song from this perspective, the line ‘If they don’t give me proper credit I just walk away’, is not about credit cards, and money. The material girl is just saying that if a man doesn’t understand that her success may affect their relationship, she’ll find a man that will.
4) Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
Bohemian rhapsody is one of the most popular songs by Queen written by Freddie Mercury in 1975. If you listen to the lyrics of this six-minute song, you’ll assume that it is about a guy who killed a man, and sold his soul to the devil.
Many Queen fans have found another meaning of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ so that it matches Freddie’s personal life. Due to the fact that Mercury was diagnosed with AIDS, his fans saw his emotional state in the song. They were convinced that Mercury was singing about his illness and all the struggles that come with it. Maybe the line: ‘Goodbye everybody I’ve got to go, gotta leave you all behind and face the truth’ gave them that idea.
However, the former lead singer of Queen explained the meaning of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Namely, Freddie said that the words were ‘random rhyming nonsense’, so discussing the meaning of the song any further doesn’t make much sense now, does it? Freddie wanted to create a masterpiece (and may we add, he did), but he focused on music, and not that much, if at all, on the words. Scaramouch, right?
5) Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight
Many people wrongly believe that the song ‘In the Air Tonight’ is about a guy seeing someone drowning, but didn’t help them. When asked about the meaning of the famous line ‘I can feel it in the air tonight oh Lord, I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord’ Collins said that there’s no meaning to it. He just wrote this verse, as he said it, spontaneously.
In an interview, Collins said that he didn’t even know what he was singing about – he just liked how the words flow well with the music chords. Later on, he admitted that the entire song has something to do with his feelings about his divorce he was going through at the moment too – anger, sadness, and bitterness.
6) Maroon 5 – Harder to Breathe
This song tells us that someone’s putting a lot of pressure on Adam Levine. Who dares to do so? You’ve seen the video for Animals – that man look like he’s, in Katy Perry’s words, capable of anything, of anything, and everything.
The song lyrics would lead us to a conclusion that it’s a story about a guy who is in a bad relationship that suffocates him. However, words in ‘Harder to Breathe’ don’t have anything to do with a relationship. Well, they are about a relationship, but not between two lovebirds, but Adam Levine and his record label. Namely, the record label put more pressure on the talented left-handed singer than he could take.
Adam’s very clear in the song: ‘I have the tendency of getting very physical, so watch your step ’cause if I do you’ll need a miracle’. He was tired, and angry when he wrote ‘Harder to Breathe’, but the song turned out to be a very one.
7) Sarah McLachlan – Angel
An angelic voice, and a soothing music – that’s what best describes this song. If you listen to the song without paying too much attention to the lyrics, you’d think that it is about something beautiful, about finding peace, etc. However, ‘Angel’ is about drugs.
It was very easy for Sarah to write this song- as a matter of fact she wrote this beautiful song in less than three hours. She empathized with people in the music business that felt lonely and were lost at some point. As Sarah explained, she too was feeling that way, and she could understand why some musicians turned to heroin during their tough times. The song is dedicated to all talented musicians who died from drug overdose.
8) Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart
At the first glance, you’d think that Total Eclipse of the Heart is just another sad love song revolving around a woman who’s broken-hearted. Your guess would be right, but if you were to assume who Bonnie Tyler‘s boyfriend is, you’d probably be wrong.
Bonnie’s boyfriend is a vampire, as the song was written by Jim Steinman. The famous lyricist and composer wrote ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ for a musical he was working on at the time entitled ‘Nosferatu’. The original name of the song was Vampires in Love. If you go through the lyrics now that you know the meaning of the song, you’ll surely find some signs of vampire love.
These have been our top 8 songs that have meaning you wouldn’t expect. Maybe you did expect meanings of some songs, but we hope we did surprise with a couple song meanings.
If you know of any songs that have unexpected meanings, feel free to share them with us in the comment section.