Music has been around for longer than mankind can know. Its origins are not definitively known and yet it is one of the most powerful forms of communication. It can completely change your mood, depending on the way it sounds. If it is upbeat you will feel happy and energized. If it is down tempo you may feel melancholy or sleepy. For ages, music has been a way to escape one’s current surroundings or feelings. It is also one of the most individualistic forms of artistic expression. Without music movies would be lackluster, parties would cease to exist and elevator rides would be painfully silent. Throughout history, thousands of talented and creative individuals have made a living creating some of the greatest music known to our world. Some of said individuals have also found very clever ways to say something-without actually saying it. They have found ways to mask the true meaning of a song using lyrical trickery.
Have you ever found yourself scratching your head while listening to one of your favorite songs? “What did she just say?” you ask yourself. You have heard the song before, possibly a dozen times but for some odd reason you have never paid much attention to the lyrics-until now. Feeling a bit curious, you head the web to read the song’s lyrics when you find yourself wondering exactly what the writer of the song was thinking about when they wrote it. Check out five songs that have mastered the art of disguising controversial lyrics with double entrendres and elegant innuendos. Their hypnotizing harmonies and catchy chords don’t hurt either.
5. Rush Rush by Paula Abdul (1991)
This may come as a shock to some children of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s but Paula Abdul was actually a singer and dancer before she was a host on the hit competition show American Idol. Shocking, I know. Rush, Rush (not to be confused with Rush Rush by Debbie Harry) was written by Peter Lord and topped the Billboard Hot 100 at its peak popularity. In this breath-y heartfelt ballad from her second studio album, Spellbound, Abdul passionately sings about a lover (played by a baby-faced, long haired Keanu Reeves in the music video) whom she is completely smitten with.
“I don’t know just how or why/but no one else has touched me so deep, so deep, so deep inside,” she sings.
This lyric leaves the listener wondering if she speaking figuratively or literally. However, the subject becomes clearer as she sings on.
“When you kiss me up and down/Turn my senses all around/Oh baby, baby…”
This 90’s hit was both tasteful and sensual. Wonder if she and Keanu Reeves are still together.
4. Afternoon Delight by Starland Vocal Band (1976)
Yet another possibly disturbing bit of information for Generation Y-ers; this song was not written by the cast of Anchorman. Yes, it is true. Although Will Ferrell and the gang delivered a hilarious rendition in the hit comedy, they were not the originators of Afternoon Delight. Starland Vocal Band (say it slow, it rhymes!) was comprised of two couples, Bill and Taffy Danoff and their friends Margot Chapman and Jon Carroll. This 1970’s international hit, written by band member Bill Danoff, landed the group a best new artist award at the 1976 Grammy’s. It also brought a great deal of attention to a groundbreaking idea….wait for it…..daytime sex! What a concept! Member of the band, Taffy Danoff, was said to have explained that the popular song’s name originated from a menu item at Clyde’s restaurant in Washington, D.C. Apparently that was one tasty dish. In the song’s lyrics, the group debunks Ray Charles’ theory that the night time is the right time:
“Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight/Gonna grab some afternoon delight/My motto’s always been when it’s right, it’s right/Why wait til the middle of a cold dark night When everything’s a little clearer in the light of day/And we know the night is always gonna be there anyway”
There’s no other way to conclude this other than to sing: SKY ROCKETS IN FLIGHT, AFTERNOON DELIGHT!
3. Genie in a Bottle by Christina Aguilera (1999)
Christina Aguilera burst on to the scene with this smash hit single and sent critics into an uproar. With a cleverly composed hook, Aguilera tells a prospective love interest that if he wants to be with her; he’s got to make a big impression, he’s got to rub her the right way. On the surface, this is a seemingly innocent lyric as it is an old English idiom to rub someone the wrong way and vice versa. However, Christina’s midriff baring video gives the idea that she wasn’t referring to the idiom but was in fact referring to being rubbed in a more literal sense. And to think people were shocked when she came out with “Dirty” just a few years later.
2. Mary Jane by Rick James (1978)
Who is Mary Jane? I bet the entire state of Colorado knows! Mary Jane is a slang term for marijuana. Rick James was completely in love with her-or it, rather. That’s right. Bud, dope, weed, sticky-icky, doobie, ganja, joint, blunt, or chronic weren’t Rick James’ idea of the drug. Instead of demeaning marijuana with tacky street names he decided to dignify his love with a classier more acceptable name, a lady’s name. Obsession or addiction may be a more accurate description of Rick James’ feelings for his Mary Jane. Perhaps the best part of this song is the fact there is absolutely no mention whatsoever of the actual drug. In every line of this song, Rick sings of his love for Mary Jane as if she is actually a woman. Maybe marijuana was a woman in his mind; every stoner’s hallucinations are unique!
1. Drunk in Love by Beyoncé and Jay Z (2013)
Beyoncé threw the world a curve ball when she released her critically acclaimed self-titled album in December. Little did everyone know-the real shock came in the extremely provocative nature of the album. In this steamy duet with her husband Jay Z, Beyoncé conveniently distracts the audience with slang and a heavy bass laden back beat. Critics have dissected each and every part of the song with the most talked about lyrics regarding a certain sexual position and the exact contents of the “watermelon” she claimed to be drinking at the end of the song. Here is a breakdown of some of the speculated meanings of the lyrics.
“Cigars on ice/cigars on ice
Feeling like an animal with these cameras all in my grill
Flashing Lights/Flashing Lights”
“Cigars on ice” is speculated to be urban slang used to describe a man taking a cold shower in an attempt to gain relief after being…well…stimulated for a long period of time.
“Boy I’m drinking/I’m singing on the mic ’til my voice hoarse Then I fill the tub up halfway and ride it with my surfboard, surfboard, surfboard”
“Singing on the mic” is used to describe a female performing fellatio on a male. Surfboard (a.k.a reverse cowgirl) is known to be a sexual position –Google it!
“Didn’t mean to spill that liquor all on my attire/I’ve been drinking, watermelon…”
There have been a couple of different debates on exactly what she meant by drinking watermelon. Some say that she is referring to a watermelon flavored Vodka which would make sense being that the entire song is about a night of drunken love making between her and her husband. However, another thought is far raunchier! Drinking watermelon is sometimes known to be a euphemism for the act of the female ‘swallowing’ in a sexual context, the watermelon’s seeds serving as a representation of the male (ahem) ‘seed’ – hence the reference.
What do YOU think of all these hidden meanings? Are they truth or just speculation? I sent Beyoncé a text to ask her. She never responded.
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