14 Popular Songs That Hit Different When You Know What They’re About

Sometimes a song is so catchy or beautiful that you don't pay much attention to the meaning behind the lyrics. Someone on a popular online forum asked, “What song hits different after you read the lyrics?” Here are the top 14 responses.

1. Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival (1969)

Image Credit: Wiki Commons, Fantasy Records, Public Domain.

Everyone knows the lyric, “Some folks are born to wave the flag.” Too many people ignore that the song mentions that “it ain't me”… they're no senator's son.

2. Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads (1980)

Talking Heads
Image Credit: Wiki Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0.

One music fan said it best. “This song popped into my head for the first time in years recently when I had an odd moment of self-reflection. It was like snapping back to reality as if the past 10 years had been on autopilot,” they noted. “All those little changes over time you grew accustomed to as one-day blends into another, and then suddenly you look at everything in the aggregate, and it's an overwhelming shock to the system… How did I get here?”

3. You Are My Sunshine by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell (1940)

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This seems like a happy, upbeat song. In reality, it's quite depressing. Just look at the lyrics, which are about unrequited love:

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You'll never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away. The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping. I dreamed I held you in my arms. When I awoke, dear, I was mistaken. And I hung my head and cried.”

4. Hey Ya by OutKast (2003)

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The popular OutKast song is known as a dance anthem, but the message is quite depressing. “If what they say is nothing is forever, then what makes love the exception? Why are we so in denial when we know we're not happy here? Y'all don't hear me. You just wanna dance.”

5. Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People (2011)

woman wearing Nike sneakers and leggings laying on the ground
Image Credit: Benjamas_Photovec/Shutterstock.

It's not uncommon for this to be someone's favorite song. It is common, however, for people not to realize the lyrics are asking the pumped-up kids to outrun bullets.

6. My Sharona by The Knack (1979)

"My Sharona" by The Knack
Image Credit: Capitol Records.

The popular song from The Knack is about a real person named Sharona. The problem? She was 17, and the songwriter was 25.

7. Polly by Nirvana (1991)

Kurt Cobain
Image Credit: mamex4 / Shutterstock.

The Nirvana song will hit differently upon the realization that it's about a real-life incident: the abduction of a 14-year-old girl in Tacoma, Washington.

8. Two Out of Three Ain't Bad by Meat Loaf (1977)

Meat Loaf
Image Credit: Photo Works / Shutterstock.

Playing this song at weddings seems a little odd, no? Yet Meat Loaf mentions it's a common occurrence. “There ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you. Now don't be sad. Cause two out of three ain't bad.”

9. Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen (1984)

bruce springsteen SS MSN
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Despite being portrayed as a patriotic song, “Born in the U.S.A.” is anything but. It's played at countless military events in every small town you can think of, a sign that no one pays attention to the lyrics.

10. 99 Luftballons by Nena (1983)

Nena 99 Red Balloons
Image Credit: Epic.

There have been countless covers of the song. I wonder how many realize it's about Cold War generals misinterpreting a balloon for a first strike.

11. Cat's in the Cradle by Harry Chapin (1974)

harry chapin
Image Credit: Wiki Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0.

“Cat's in the Cradle” focuses on a father-son relationship. “I used to love it as a kid, but it absolutely crushes me as an adult with children,” one music lover shared. Others said it's a reminder to make time for your kids.

12. Every Breath You Take by The Police (1983)

The Police
Image Credit: Lionel Urman / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0.

“Every Breath You Take” is sometimes misinterpreted as a romantic song but it's really about a stalker. One music fan called it “the poster child for ‘sounds beautiful until you read the creepy lyrics.'” Another noted, “Even Sting was disturbed by how people misinterpreted his song.”

13. Macarena by Los del Rio (1993)

Los Del Rio
Image Credit: Wiki Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0.

“Macarena” was always played during its heyday and had a popular dance associated with it. But no one realized it was about a girl cheating on her boyfriend while he was deployed.

14. Physical by Olivia Newton-John (1981)

Grease John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

When you're 10, you imagine this song is about getting physically active. Of course, it's about a different physical activity.

Source: Reddit.