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Hi.
I was thinking about this the other day and thought it would make an interesting forum topic! I know some songs have their meanings right out there and others hide the meanings in metaphors. It all depends on the band or artist. So I was thinking we could share songs we like and discuss what they might mean.
Here is one satellite by dave matthews band . This is one of my favorite songs of their's but I have no idea what the lyrics are talking about.
Anyway now I'll  just sit back and see if this topic grows.

Guitarman.
What has been created in the laws of nature holds true in the laws of magic as well. Where there is light, there is darkness,  and where there is life, there is also death.
Aerodyne: first of the wizard order

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Okay here we go....

1. Imagine by John Lennon is, essentially, the Communist manifesto

2. Evry Breath you Take....stalking song

3. Ticket to Ride is about prostitutes in Hamburg

4. Blackbird is about racial inequality in 60s USA

5. Closing Time is about childbirt
There's some

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Hi.
Closing time is about child birth? That's nuts i had no idea!
I've heard people say every breath you take is a stalker's song but I can't figure out why. It doesn't sound very stalkerish to me lol!

Guitarman.
What has been created in the laws of nature holds true in the laws of magic as well. Where there is light, there is darkness,  and where there is life, there is also death.
Aerodyne: first of the wizard order

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It really is... lol just look at the first few lines, everything you need to come to that conclusion is right there.
"Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I'll be watching you"
One could also interpret that as a romantic thing I suppose, but then that screams possessive partner to me. Very... very possessive. Either way, not good. tongue

"I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee."
guards, skyrim

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Here's the video I was going to put in here earlier:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ziEsZSVJ1s

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Also this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6iK5zWQRgQ

Thanks, WatchMojo.....

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Perhaps this is why the mainstream scene has always disenchanted me so much; you think you have a song  pegged only to find you have ended up with a bunch of garbage.
and then there are songs people write that I'm almost certain are far beyond their own comprehension, the meaning hidden even from them because they've delved into concepts so deep and philosophical in nature they don't have the abstract strength and mental power to process and understand half of it.

I do not know what my future holds, but I do know who holds my future.

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And then there's always Don McLean's American Pie about the death of Buddy Holly.

@JaceK

It would be nice if you'd say something about what those links you are posting are about, I'm not inclined to click on a link just to see where it leads.

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They're just youtube links.

"I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee."
guards, skyrim

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I know that, still, before I click them, it would be nice to know what the videos are. To me it's just a simple courtesy to tell people what you are presenting them with, and simple laziness not to bother.

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well try listening to tori amos. I love her music and her voice but I have apsolutely no idea what her songs are about.

if duct tape doesn't fix it, you haven't used enough.

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Lol, my lady hates every breath you take for that reason, the song is down right scary!

One thing I will caution people of is being careful of the literary critic mentality  trying to look for "meanings" in things be they songs, books or whatever.

So many critics are so busy analyzing a  riding upon their favourite hobby horse, be that sexual morality, feminism, communism, christian imagery etc  they willfully disregard any actual logic to their judgements, such as one lady I saw who insisted that Lord of the Rings was an evil book in which J R R Tolkien deliberately set out to stamp on the communist perspective and uphold race slavery.

So, before definitively saying "such and such is about such and such"I'd suggest looking into what the artist was doing, what they were thinking or (in the case of a lot of songs, especially with bands like the beatles), whether they're in a legal state of mind or not big_smile.

The most hilarious one of these I know is Lewis Carrol's poem "the walrus and the carpenter"
A lot of literary  critics have spent a huge amount of time talking about how the carpenter represents the working class, how the oysters are young apprentices trapped into a life of drudgery, or how the carpenter is actually a representation of Jesus and the oysters are virgin girls who are forced   into sexual repression by overbaring christian morality, or a host of other equally whacky theories.

What is hilarious, is that Carrol actually never intended a carpenter at all! When composing the poem, he asked the publisher what three syllable thing would be preferred, the choice came down to a carpenter or a butterfly, but the publisher went for the carpenter on the basis that drawing and printing illustrations of butterflies  was harder and more expensive in ink than carpenters big_smile.

I suppose this does show the carpenter is a representation of the over burdened working class, but probably not in any way that comunist literary critics suggest big_smile.

Btw, this is also not to suggest going down the other literary critic route, of saying "everything is completely relative! it's what the song/book/poem/whatever means to you" since that just renders all and any discussion rather pointless. It's just to say to be careful when assigning meanings or discussing such things before  jumping to radical conclusions one way or another.

Now, anyone fancy a chat about Leonard Cohen? big_smile.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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The two links were to a pair of WatchMojo videos about song meanings everyone gets wrong.

I wouldn't say Don McLean's American Pie is really a hidden meaning. Vincent, now that's a different story...the one that goes starry starry night....yeah that's a hidden meaning.
I always laugh at Born in the USA being lauded as a pro-US song. Another one I wanted to mention, and this was absolutely brilliant....was The Guess Who? had their US number 1 with American Woman. Radio loved it, the US loved it.....yet it turned out it was criticising the US and US life. Gotta love Canadian musicians for that one. Oh and if anyone can explain Poker Face's hidden meaning.......

Okay one more. I Don't Like Mondays, this one's not quite that well hidden, just look up Brenda Spencer and you should get the story. Short version: She had mental issues, her father got her a rifle. She woke up one Monday and decided to shoot out of her window at a school. Years later Bob Geldof immortalized it in a song. She (Brenda) TOLD The police her reason for shooting people was, simply. I don't like Mondays.....

Also, this just popped into my head while researching the Boomtown Rats song... Pumped Up Kicks is....well....listen very, VERY closely. Also listen closely to Green Day's songs, specificailly Wake mMe Up When September Ends, and Time Of Your Life. They are not what you think.

Oh and since the Dave Matthews Band was mentioned earlier.....yeah, Crash Into Me is not a love song.....nope. Not if you don't want to come off as a voyeuristic creep that is.....


I'll keep going. This got mentioned in the videos but Tom Petty's American Girl was not about a college girl who killed herself, and no, Hey Man, Nice Shot was not about Kurt Cobain's suicide, that was about the tragic cas of Budd Dwyer, who spawned many, many dark jokes in Pennsylvania after his live suicide at a press conference. No, I don't suggest you read up on his situation if you don't want to get quite angry knowing he was innocent all along but took his own life at a televised press conference. That led to the aforementioned song, Hey Man, Nice Shot....which in itself is  arather dark title for a song dealing with such a public suicide.

Okay, one I didn't get until relistening a few times even though it was covered in the videos I posted.....Hey Ya by Outcast. It takes a few listens but hello existential crisis looming....same with Some Nights by FUN. Also, If You Seek Aimy by Britney Spears.....isn't, a[[about sex. It's about how she feels people deal with her. Oh and....again covered in the video but Like a Virgin is.....not about sex. It's about dealing with a breakup and a new relationship.


Lastly......yeah, In The Air Tonight was about Phil Collins going through a divorce. Ouch. He made millions off of it mind.....smart, smart guy

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it does amuse me when people analyse books and give long convoluted descriptions of what the author was trying to say or what the simbalism in the book or song is etc when most of the time the author had nothing like that in mind. they were just telling a story. I've heard lots of stuff like that about the lord of the rings.
one that talkine hated himself was that the book was about the rise of hitler. another one was that watership down was about the jews escaping nazzi Germany. both flat out not the case.

as for songs, sometimes as in my example of tori amos they are getting at something deep and meaninigful, but a lot of others are just songs. oasis were asked about the meaning of some of their songs off the shampaine supernova album and laughed at the things people thought the songs were about. their simple answer was, "it's just words that ryme, so if your name is sally, don't look back in anger isn't about you".

if duct tape doesn't fix it, you haven't used enough.

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15 (edited by Orko 2018-01-27 22:05:11)

One Headlight by The Wallflowers is a song who's meaning mystifies me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zzyfcys1aLM

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Okay one more song meaning, and this is one that amuses me, it's covered in the videos I posted up there...but Ironic by Alanis Morisette...contains no irony. Which is itself ironic. Well played then. I like stuff like that, but @Dark: Speaking of the Beatles, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was always figured to be about an acid trip...which was certainly not the case. I still think Imagine is one of the most creative ways of getting Lennon's political beliefs across, he was after all aa self confessed socialist.

Also, Leonard Cohen's version of Hallelujah......that gives me chills every time but I agree with Mojo on that one, it's not a love song or adoration if you listen closely, I feel....it's an absolutely amazing song. Pentatonix version isn't bad either mind....

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oh loosy in the sky with diamonds was definitely about LSD. they just denied it so they wouldn't get in to trouble.

and I think it's ed byrne does a comedy routine about that ironic song. really funny. points out the only irony is the fact she wrote a song called ironic and doesn't know what irony means.

if duct tape doesn't fix it, you haven't used enough.

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Intrestingly enough, Tolkien himself wrote what would! have happened in Lotr if he'd been writting it as a direct allegory of world war two (it's in the prologue to the 1963 edition), and it's bloody depressing and not the least like the actual story big_smile.

Yep, lucy in the sky with diamonds is pretty clear, also one of my favourite beatles songs I think.

For hallelujah, nope how anyone imagines it is a love song hasn't heard the words, though imho Rufus Wainright's version (the same one who's family friendly verses are heard in Shrek), is probably my favourite, it also goes along with Empty chairs at empty tables from Les Miserables and Can you feel the love tonight in being one of the very very veeeeery! few songs I can sing and play at the same time, not to mention being a fairly nice song  for a classical tenor.


I love cohen's songs for words, albeit they're pretty dark and rather like a lot of my own poetry in some ways.

Actually if it weren't very pretentious I'd almost be tempted to post one of my poems in this topic and see what people made of the meaning of it since I'd genuinely be interested to know, my poetry tends to range from the very obvious to the rather obscure.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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Well to be fair with Hallelujah though, a lot of people take it as either a love song due to the lyrics or a song of adoration and worship, which....again, nope.. I'd still rather take Cohen's version any day over Rufus Wainright's though....country is not my thing.

Okay, here's one that's mostly due to a language gap. 99 Luftbalons, or, 99 Red Balloons. If you want a cheerfully good time about the nuclear apocalypse.....this song's for you. I'm not including the fact it's due to the song being recorded in German originally (which has all sorts of dark implications given history and geography....) I'm referring to the English version....which is way, wayyyyy too upbeat and cheerful about a nuclear apocalypse for my taste. I mean, she almost sounds happy about it. That's just scary thanks.......

Here's one more, Pumped Up Kicks. Catchy chorus? Check. Upbeat tempo and beat? Check. Insanely dark subject matter hidden in the lyrics? Check. Foster the People stated on record they wanted to draw attention to mental illness and penned a song about an isolated young loner who shoots up a school. Yet.....it's hidden in the song., and then hidden quite well until you take a closer listen.

Also here you go, another video link from Dolan on the very subject of hidden meanings:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi2gkA1_fXo

I'll admit, Semi Charmed Life...didn't expect that one coming. Then again I didn't pick up on Jump's origins either....damn it Eddie Van Halen!

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The first time I heard Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was Elton John's version, and I like it better than the original Beatles version.

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@11. [wow] a fellow Tori fan. All the guitar/music sites I've been on, and you never meet one. Guitar blokes just think you're either gay or just lame for being a guy and liking Tori, but she's fucking amazing. Boys For Pele is genius. But as you said, not a clue what she's on about most of the time.

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Hi.
Okay can't remember which post, but as far as I can tell, lady gaga's songs are all about sex, or her lady parts, or how beautiful and tallented she is, and poker face is either about blow jobs or her being bisexual, not sure which. I don't understand why people like her so much, she can't play an instrument and can't sing without audo-tune, her songs always leave me feeling sickened.

Now as far as scary songs being upbeat, consider blind melon's no rain. It's a very happy sounding song, but he is singing about how miserable he is and how awful life is in general.

Lucy in the sky with diamonds is one of my favorite beatles's songs, but Elton John's is a lot better because he puts a lot of neat extra stuff in there. I love the guitar and keyboard solos in there.

@Dark, It would be nice if you posted one of your poems,I'd like to see if I can catch the meaning of it.

Guitarman.
What has been created in the laws of nature holds true in the laws of magic as well. Where there is light, there is darkness,  and where there is life, there is also death.
Aerodyne: first of the wizard order

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@21 got all her albums but I think boys is one of the best but along with little earthquakes and scarlet's walk.

saw her sing live in Liverpool in 1995 and she was amazing. sang her own piano version of smells like teen spirat. nearly actually had me in tears.

here's a youtube link. not the concert I was at but similar version.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaAI3jI7uCc

if duct tape doesn't fix it, you haven't used enough.

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Yeah, she's done some awesome covers. Her version of Neil Young's Philadelphia is the loveliest thing. Gives me the chills every time. And I grew to love her interpretation of Slayer's Raining Blood. It's so creepy. I skipped over it at first  thinking it was just dull, then one night I really paid attention to what was going on, and man it's jagged dark and horrifying. I believe the members of Slayer approved.

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25 (edited by SirBadger 2018-01-29 00:01:43)

well as we're talking about the meanings of songs, figure this one out. this is one of tori's and it purely baffles me.

Hello Mr. Zebra
Can I have your sweater
Cause it's cold cold cold
In my hole hole hole
Ratatouille Strychnine
Sometimes she's a friend of mine
With a gigantic whirlpool
That will blow your mind

Hello Mr. Zebra
Ran into some confusion with a Mrs. Crocodile
Furry mussels marching on
She thinks she's Kaiser Wilhelm
Or a civiliaes syllabub
To blow your mind
Figure it out
She's a goodtime fella
She got a little fund to fight for Moneypenny's rights
Figure it out
She's a goodtime fella
Too bad the burial was premature she said
And smiled

if duct tape doesn't fix it, you haven't used enough.

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