It has been scientifically proven that music can effect us emotionally. Whether it be happiness, depression, peacefulness, or anxiety, any possible feeling can be increased or suppressed by the music we listen to. Sometimes, however, we get sad lyrics on top of an upbeat rhythm, or poetic lines full of symbolism. Whatever the case, many of the songs we thought we knew and loved have been misinterpreted over the years, for better or worse. Although there are really too many compositions out there with misleading or misunderstood lyrics to count, here are 25 Songs You Love That Contain Unexpected True Meanings.
Every Breath You Take – The Police
Despite being known as one of the best love songs of the 80’s, “Every Breath You Take” actually refers to a possessive relationship in which a man is unable to let go of an ex-girlfriend and continues to stalk her obsessively. Police front man and songwriter Sting has since stated that he originally intended for it to be a love song; however, it got continuously darker as he wrote the lyrics.
Slide – Goo Goo Dolls
Typically considered to describe the experience of falling in love, “Slide” actually refers to a teenage pregnancy and the young couple who are forced to decide between getting an abortion or eloping together.
99 Luftballons – Nena
Because of its German lyrics accompanied by its popularity among English audiences, “99 Luftballons'” real meaning went over the heads of many fans who just liked it for its upbeat rhythm and funky bassline. This secretly dark song actually tells a story of 99 balloons that are confused for missiles, throwing the world into a 99 year-long global war that ends in the destruction of humanity.
Semi-Charmed Life – Third Eye Blind
This major 90’s hit may sound like fun, but a closer inspection of the lyrics reveal that the song is actually about a man who is unsatisfied with life and turns to hard drugs to keep him going. The entire song is told through the perspective of the man and his girlfriend, who spend an entire night binging on crystal meth.
London Calling – The Clash
Due to it’s strange and disconnected lyrics, many people took “London Calling” to mean the apocalypse or downfall of society. According to the band members, however, it refers to our own irrational fears and sensationalist newspaper headlines that take advantage of them. The chorus is also inspired by songwriter Joe Strummer’s personal fear of drowning.