25 Popular Song Lyrics Most People Don’t Realize Are Secretly Disturbing

Now that the people of Ask Reddit have pointed out how creepy these lyrics are, you’ll never be able to listen to their songs the same way again.
A girl listening to song lyrics
Unsplash / Eric Nopanen

1. Delilah by Tom Jones

“He sees the shadow of his girlfriend having sex with another man. He later knocks on her door and she laughs at him, so he stabs her to death.” — 4737CarlinSir 

2. Don’t Stand So Close by The Police

“Sting had this to say about it:

‘I wanted to write a song about sexuality in the classroom. I’d done teaching practice at secondary schools and been through the business of having 15-year-old girls fancying me – and me really fancying them! How I kept my hands off them I don’t know… Then there was my love for Lolita which I think is a brilliant novel. But I was looking for the key for eighteen months and suddenly there it was. That opened the gates and out it came: the teacher, the open page, the virgin, the rape in the car, getting the sack, Nabokov, all that.'” — PatheticPathologist

3. Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind

“Such a 90’s alternative staple. Hearing this song non-stop on the radio as a kid, you’d figure it would be a pretty harmless song. Found out later it was about a drug user’s descent into crystal meth and giving out ‘favors’ for a fix.” — bvill89

4. Little Talks by Monsters And Men

“Little Talks by Monsters And Men is about an elderly lady who recently lost her husband and is losing her mind while waiting to die so she can be with him again.” — kitjen

5. No Rain by Blind Melon

“The song is about crippling depression. The bass player who wrote it was asked what it was about and he said, ‘The song is about not being able to get out of bed and find excuses to face the day when you have really, in a way, nothing.’

‘At the time, Brad was dating a girl who was going through depression (she would sleep through sunny days and complain when it didn’t rain), and for a while he told himself that he was writing the song from her perspective. He later realized that he was also writing about it himself.'” — BringYourEhGame

6. Hands Clean by Alanis Morissette

“Alanis Morissette’s really catchy acoustic single “Hands Clean” is seemingly about statutory rape/being forced into a relationship with an adult producer when she was a young teen. It’s a creepfest filled with backhanded ‘compliments’ she received.” — loudbears 

7. Mack The Knife

“Originally a German murder ballad from the Threepenny Opera (Die Moritat Von Mackie Messer), it was turned into an upbeat jazz song by singers in the 50s (Darin, Armstrong, etc.)

Still though, some lyrics are pretty dark, speaking about Macheath’s actions of robbery, murder, and referencing Macheath’s various love affairs during the opera. That being said, its no where near the original version (or most accurate English translation) in terms of the darkness of the lyrics.” — imbatmawn

8. The Show Must Go On by Queen

“I’m not sure if it’s really popular but The Show Must Go On by Queen is chilling. Freddie Mercury knows he’s dying and he writes this song about how he has to find the will to live.” — Jimmy422

9. The Way by Fastball

“Fastball – The Way. It’s about a real elderly couple that went missing.” — superherofive

10. I Put A Spell On You by Jay Hawkins

“Fun fact – He was so drunk when during the recording he didn’t actually remember doing it. ” — sveitthrone

11. Bullet by Hollywood Undead

“Hollywood Undead is awfully cheerful for a song about suicide.” — TomKiisk

12. Polly by Nirvana

“Polly was inspired by a newspaper article Kurt Cobain read in which a girl that was kidnapped tricked her kidnapper into thinking she actually liked him in order to escape. That’s why in the last two lines, the girl gets away.” — QuoProQuid

13. Mary Jane’s Last Dance by Tom Petty

“I can’t believe no one’s mentioned Mary Jane’s Last Dance by Tom Petty. Everyone just assumes it’s about marijuana, but it’s actually about a promiscuous wild child who ends up throwing herself off a balcony.” — Oafah

14. Tyler by The Toadies 

“Tyler by The Toadies is about stalking and presumably raping a woman after breaking into her house and stealing a beer from her refrigerator. But the tune and the lyrics make it sound kinda fun.” — karma_carcharodon

15. Pumped Up Kicks by Foster The People

“Definitely Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People… so many people played that song into the ground without ever realizing that that catchy upbeat melody was about a mass shooter.” — thestes

16. Every Breath You Take by The Police

“Saw Sting in concert about 9 years ago in the States. He told the audience that he didn’t know why so many people had wanted that song (Every Breath You Take) for their wedding song… ‘It’s about stalking,’ he said.” — HumanBeingSilly

17. 99 Luftballons by Nena

“It’s about two countries who start a war, because 99 balloons get mistaken for an air attack.” — Pizza_Delivery_Dog

18. The Macarena

“That kid’s party song families love and sing and dance to? About a girl who cheats on her boyfriend whilst he’s off on duty:

‘Macarena has a boyfriend who’s called…

who’s called the last name Vitorino,

and while he was taking his oath as a conscript

she was giving it to two friends …Aaay!'” — [deleted] 

19. Copacabana by Barry Manilow

“What could be jauntier than a song about a carefree brazilian dancing girl? This:

‘Her name is Lola, she was a showgirl But that was thirty years ago, when they used to have a show Now it’s a disco, but not for Lola Still in dress she used to wear Faded feathers in her hair She sits there so refined, and drinks herself half-blind She lost her youth and she lost her Tony Now she’s lost her mind.'” — CourageOfOthers

20. Run for your Life by The Beatles

“Well I’d rather see you dead, little girl Than to be with another man You better keep your head, little girl Or I won’t know where I am

You better run for your life if you can, little girl Hide your head in the sand little girl Catch you with another man That’s the end ah little girl

Well I know that I’m a wicked guy And I was born with a jealous mind And I can’t spend my whole life Trying just to make you toe the line

You better run for your life if you can, little girl Hide your head in the sand little girl Catch you with another man That’s the end ah little girl

Let this be a sermon I mean everything I’ve said Baby, I’m determined And I’d rather see you dead

You better run for your life if you can, little girl Hide your head in the sand little girl Catch you with another man That’s the end ah little girl

I’d rather see you dead, little girl Than to be with another man You better keep your head, little girl Or you won’t know where I am

You better run for your life if you can, little girl Hide your head in the sand little girl Catch you with another man That’s the end ah little girl Nah nah nah Nah nah nah Nah nah nah Nah nah nah (fade out).” — Wilhelm_Amenbreak

21. Crash by Dave Matthews Band

“Crash by Dave Matthews Band is pretty obviously about a peeping Tom but most folks seem to miss that.

‘I watch you there through the window while I stare at you wearing nothing but you wear it so well.'” — SimpleManSC 

22. Sonny Came Home by Shawn Colvin

“Popularized as a love song in the movie Jerry McGuire it’s actually a song about a woman snapping and burning her house down:

Sunny came home to her favorite room Sunny sat down in the kitchen She opened a book and a box of tools Sunny came home with a mission

She says, ‘Days go by, I’m hypnotized I’m walking on a wire I close my eyes and fly out of my mind Into the fire’

Sunny came home with a list of names She didn’t believe in transcendence And it’s time for a few small repairs, she said Sunny came home with a vengeance

She says, ‘Days go by, I don’t know why I’m walking on a wire I close my eyes and fly out of my mind Into the fire’

Get the kids and bring a sweater Dry is good and wind is better Count the years, you always knew it Strike a match, go on and do it

Oh, days go by, I’m hypnotized I’m walking on a wire I close my eyes and fly out of my mind Into the fire

Oh, light the sky and hold on tight The world is burning down She’s out there on her own, and she’s all right Sunny came home

P.S.my aunt Julie Speed painted the artwork used as the album cover that this song is on.” — Zebrog

23. Fancy by Reba McIntyre 

“It took me 15yrs (first heard it when I was about 10) to realize what she meant by ‘just be nice to the gentlemen Fancy, and they’ll be nice to you.’

I grew up thinking her mom sent her to a nice ball (like Cinderella) and she met a rich man and lived ‘happily ever after.’ Oh the ignorance of youth.” — Kacke0525

24. Minnie the Moocher by Cab Calloway

“My GF said I ruined ‘Minnie the Moocher’ for her by pointing out the lyrics.

It’s usually played in an upbeat jazzy style and the playful call-and-respond scat lines makes it popular for children’s groups such as school classes or boyscouts etc.

The lyrics however are a little more gloomy. Minnie is basically a lower class girl who gets mixed up with a bad boyfriend with a coke addiction because she is not financially independent(moocher) which she solves with her sexuality (hoochie coocher) and partially because she’s a bit too naive and forgiving(heart as big as a whale). He takes her to an opium den and in the haze of the drug she fantasizes escaping her miserable situation by being handed wealth by the king of Sweden. ‘Poor Minnie’ being repeated at the end leaves you with no doubt this is not a happy drug story.” — bjornartl

25. Slide by The Goo Goo Dolls

“‘Don’t you love the life you killed? The priest is on the phone. Your father hit the wall. Your ma disowned you.’ Definitely about abortion. More dark than creepy, but still.” — grallen0 TC mark

Juliet Lanka

Hater of love. Lover of horror.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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