Five Songs That Were Grossly Misinterpreted


2. The Police, "Every Breath You Take"
Given the amount of people who took this one as a touching love song, it just goes to show how creepy love can be when you're in the throes of it. Sting's sinister anthem isn't really very romantic at all, instead being about a stalker. You have to think Sting was laughing pretty hard at all the people playing this at weddings, not paying attention to the lyrics.

Still, given its romantic adult-contemporary sound, it isn't hard to understand how someone would misunderstand it. It's practically a parody of '80s love songs, and when Stephen Colbert released his own parody titled "Charlene (I'm Right Behind You)," thematically it was barely different than the original.


1. R.E.M., "The One I Love"
Like "Every Breath You Take," this one has often been misunderstood as a love song, but a cursory look at its lyrics show that it's a crass appraisal of someone who just uses his or her lovers as "props" for their own ego.

Time and time again, any song with "love" in the title has managed to become a massive hit, and this one was no different. I have to wonder if it would have gone over so well had it been titled after the second part of the chorus, "the one I left behind."


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4 comments
moHATI
moHATI

Manfred Mann's "Blinded by the Light." 

sussmanbern
sussmanbern

Not to be left out "Lust for Life" by David Bowie.  This was the almost incomprehensible lyric that starts off with "Here comes Johnny Yen again.  Lust for life!"  It was used in commercials (including one for a vacation travel agent) and even in a couple of wholesome-type TV shows.  But the lyric - if you play it again and again and pay close attention - is a song in praise of someone's heroin dealer!

sussmanbern
sussmanbern

Another misinterpreted song was Send In the Clowns.  It was thought to be a sort of upbeat thing about how circus clowns make people happy happy happy.  No, it's the traditional call when a trapeze artist falls to his death.  It's an indication of a terrible tragedy.

carrottope
carrottope

How about the Beastie Boys' Fight For Your Right? It was making fun of jocks and bros and ended up becoming a dude-bro anthem. Didn't they refuse to perform it live?

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