Songs you finally understand

**Closing Time by Semisonic **- everybody: “I know whoooo I want to take me home!!!”

Ahem - sorry.

Really about the singer (who wrote the song) waiting on the birth of his child. Really(link to Songfacts - but there is a youtube clip out there of Dan Wilson playing a solo acoustic version and explaining it, too - I linked to Song Facts so you wouldn’t have to wade through a full video).

Is it? It doesn’t really sound like it is from the lyrics…

Maybe I’m misunderstanding. Are you saying that:

  1. The vain guy wouldn’t think the song is about him because it’s not flattering, and…
  2. The vain guy thinks the song is about him even though it’s really about Carly…?

Aren’t those two notions contradictory? And if someone flew their Learjet a long way to watch a solar eclipse, that person will understand that the song is about them even if it isn’t totally flattering. (Which, BTW, sounds like something Warren Beatty would do, but not Mick Jagger.)

Well, even if I misunderstood your point I don’t think Carly is the main subject of the song. I think Ms. Simon came up with an overly clever line, (“You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you”) and wrote a song to go with it.

“Where oh where could my baby be…” stuck in my head one night while walking my dog. Listened to the entire song later and realized that it’s about a horrific fatal car accident.

I thought “She Bop” was about a girl who liked dancing until my roommate told me otherwise when I was like 26. :stuck_out_tongue:

Likewise with “Dancing with Myself” - I thought it was about a guy who liked to go out dancing even if his friends didn’t.

I had the same revelation about “Turning Japanese” when I got old enough to know better.

There is an obscure Barenaked Ladies song called “You Will Be Waiting” that sounds like it’s about a relationship between a man and a woman… pretty typical stuff… I didn’t learn until many years later that it’s actually about the relationship between Canada and Quebec.

You say you cannot live with me, you need your own identity
And now we air our laundry on national TV
And so you hate my arrogance, my smothering and sitting on the fence,
But I’m afraid of the hard permanence of letting you go free

Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a ZZ Top song that wasn’t about a debauched sex act.

I just discovered that ‘I don’t like Mondays’ is about a girl who shot a bunch of her fellow students. When captured and asked why she did it, she replied, “I don’t like Mondays.”

I guess she shot them right down.

A colleague of mine used to play Sympathy for the Devil in our workplace of the time, and due to general tinnyness and lack of volume, the only words that I took note of were "Pleased to meet you,hope you guess my name ".

I thought that it was about someone who didn’t "fit in "at a snobby party.

It was only later that I understood what it was about when I heard it in normal surroundings, and pegged the lyrics.

I found it to be totally awesome and somewhat self relevant, as did my fellow workers.

Still think that its an incredible record.

Of course, one of the most obvious examples of this is “Every Breath You Take” by The Police. At first blush it’s a love song, but on closer listening you realize it’s actually about a stalker.


I’m listening to that song **right now **on my iPod! :smiley:

I can’t interpret the whole song for you, but I am pretty sure that “three and nine” is an amount of money in British pre-decimal currency: three shillings and nine pence. It looks like the singer is being nostalgic for a time when you could buy a cinema ticket for that amount. References to “decimal romance” and “centigrade” bear out this interpretation (as it changed to decimal currency, Britain also changed from the Fahrenheit to the Centigrade temperature scale). Not long after Britain changed to decimal currency, we had the high levels of inflation of the 1970s, and ticket prices went way up.

I am not sure about the six and two threes - possibly bus ticket prices, in pennies, for an adult and two children.

I once saw a Roxy Music concert advertised for 7 and 6 (probably actually written 7/6), i.e., seven shillings and sixpence, which was very cheap for a concert, even then. I did not go, because I had never heard of them, and I thought the name sounded stupid. A few weeks later, they were stars. I have been kicking myself ever since for missing out on what was probably one of their first ever gigs.

Like many songs, it is deliberately ambiguous, but I think Sting has said that what he mainly had in mind was living in a totalitarian state, where you are watched all the time, as in 1984.

Anyway, a stalker does believe he is in love, so there is really no contradiction there (although you can tell just from the music, never mind the lyrics, that something creepy is meant to be going on in the song).

Me too, and although I have known better for quite a long time now, I still tend to visualize the knights in their white satin robes whenever I hear it.

You do realize, do you, that “roundabout” has two quite different meanings in British English, what Americans call a merry-go-round, and what Americans call a traffic circle (which are much more common in Britain)? I think the song is playing off both meanings, which may make a little more sense of some bits (although not much, I will admit).

Wow, I just read that, that is one fucked up case. Three of the four girls had been sexually molested (which was fairly obvious from the description of sodomizing her), and there was a lesbian love triangle playing out as the motivation.

TV Dinners?

I only knew about the traffic circle. But either way:

Means nothing other than, “Man, this is some good shit!” :smiley:

Personally, I always assumed that they primarily had a merry-go-round in mind. The music seems to me to resemble a sort of fractured and dissonant sort of merry-go-round music. Looking at the other lyrics written down, though, I see the references to driving (but also to children), so perhaps the traffic circle meaning is in there too.

But yes, you are quite right, there is no way to make actual sense of it all. It is just another example of why Yes always sucked pretentious donkey balls. Giberish lyrics and soulless music.

:eek: I actually like their nonsensical songs written by a drugged out hippy trying to write “cosmic lyrics”, as he called them.

But anyway we’re getting off topic. I know I have a good example that I’m not remembering, so until then, I’ll offer a mediocre one.

For the longest time I didn’t realize that U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” referred to an actual event. :smack:

It took me years to realise “Spirit in the Sky” was a religious tract.

If ever I start to think I understand the meaning of “Blinded By The Light” you have my permission, nay request, to get a straight jacket.

I always thought that ‘No Woman, No Cry’ was a bittersweet song with Bob singing to his heartbroken male pal about how at least now that he has no woman, he’ll have no further reasons to cry. Kind of a bromantic, you’re-better-off-without-her, love-hurts-but-friendship-rules thing. And ‘everything’s gonna be all right now’ was them sort of trying to shake off the break-up blues and celebrate life in spite of the pain. No, I obviously did not pay close attention to the verses.
When I finally realized the truth, it seemed somehow less poignant.

Well, if it makes you feel better, it isn’t a real one. Written by a Jewish dude named Norman Greenbaum who wanted to see if he could write a gospel song, and dashed one off in 15 minutes.

I forget where I saw this, but apparently the lyrics are actually wrong from a mainstream Christian standpoint. It says “I’m not a sinner, I never sinned, I’ve got a friend in Jesus”, whereas Christian doctrine holds that all people sin, but are forgiven by Jesus.

My submission for the thread is Rush’s “Passage to Bangkok”. I thought it was a song about touring the world. And well, it is a song about touring the world. For weed. In my defense, Geddy Lee’s vocals can be nigh incomprehensible at times.