Not so happy songs
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It’s inevitable that popular music varies over the years, but there are some songs that stand the test of time. Listening to music, we usually enjoy the tune that is pleasing to our ears–even though the lyrics that go with it may not be so pleasant. Some songs with the happiest and catchiest beats have some of the most depressing lyrics. When a phenomenon like this occurs, it is called lyrical dissonance. Here are my top five songs that capture the pure essence of lyrical dissonance.
5. Every Breath You Take – The Police
At first glance, this song is about star-struck lovers who are keeping a close eye on one another, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. “Every Breath You Take” is actually about a possessive and controlling stalker and even the lead singer of The Police, Sting, has called this song “very sinister” and “creepy.” The chorus of the song, “Every move you make/Every vow you break/Every smile you fake/Every claim you stake/I’ll be watching you” is enough to make sure you close your blinds before you change your clothes.
4. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer – The Beatles
The Beatles are quite the obscure bunch when it comes to music, and this song isn’t any different. The meaning of this song is pretty in your face, yet the lyrics are quite catchy. “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” is about a kid named Maxwell who has a silver hammer he uses to kill people he doesn’t like.
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3. Wonderful – Everclear
This song has a bright sound of hope with lyrics that talk about how everything will be wonderful some day, but other lyrics of the same song aren’t so positive. One example that stands out the most to me is: “I go to school and I run and play/I tell the kids that it’s all okay/I like to laugh so my friends won’t know/When the bell rings I just don’t want to go home.” Clearly, something isn’t right with the boy’s home life if he doesn’t want to go home after school, and he has to keep it from his friends.
2. Jump – Van Halen
This song is a classic with its upbeat tune that just makes you want to go and jump around. The real meaning behind this song is one of great sadness and cynical pleasure. David Lee Roth, the lead singer of Van Halen at the time, said that this song was inspired by a television report about a person who was going to jump off the top of a building. He thought, “might as well jump,” and decided to write a song about it.
1. Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the People
Number one on my list, “Pumped Up Kicks,” conceals its dark meaning rather well behind a very catchy tune that is also sure to get stuck in your head. When you take a closer listen, you can hear the lead singer talk about how, “all the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run better run, outrun my gun.” Mark Foster, the lead singer of Foster the People, explained to Spinner UK that this song is about a kid who is going crazy and is looking for revenge on the people that have done him wrong.