Songs That Sound Happy
But are Depressing
By Karina Sitaldas
We all enjoy jamming to songs with happy sounding beats, but how many times do we actually listen to the lyrics and analyze their meaning? My guess is not that often. Check out these songs that you would generally sing along to without realizing how dark the lyrics actually are.
Take a Walk – Passion Pit
I remember once sharing this song on my Facebook timeline and captioning it “My new feel-good song” – little did I know! This song, much like a lot of Passion Pit’s has a very happy melody but the lyrics suggest otherwise. They sing about a downward spiral of unfortunate things going on including the loss of money.
“But then my partner called to say the pension funds were gone. He made some bad investments, now the accounts are overdrawn”
Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the People
This song was definitely a party favorite when it had just come out, and although people started to realize the meaning behind the lyrics, it stayed popular which seems to have worked in favor for the band. “Pumped Up Kicks” is a song about school shootings, and Foster the People’s purpose for creating this song is for parents to educate their children against gun violence. God knows we need so much more of that.
“You’d better run, better run, outrun my gun”
Little Talks – Of Monsters and Men
“Little Talks” sounds like a happy summer song to sing along to but when you listen to the lyrics, it sounds a lot like a conversation of a woman and a ghost from her past that’s haunting her.
“You’re gone, gone, gone away, I watched you disappear. All that’s left is a ghost of you”
Today – The Smashing Pumpkins
This one sings about how today is the greatest day he’s ever known, and then proceeds to say can’t live for tomorrow, because tomorrow is much too long. After hearing the first line you’d think the song would be about reasons that it was the greatest day, but instead you realize that he’s singing about suicide and how tomorrow may actually never come.
“Today is the greatest day that I have ever known, can’t wait for tomorrow, i might not have that long”
Life Itself – Glass Animals
The title of the album this song is from is “How to Be a Human Being,” so it only makes sense that the song is about someone trying to make it in life, and live up to his parents and his own expectations of himself, but unfortunately failing.
“I can’t get a job so I live with my mom, I take her money but not quite enough. I make my own fun in grandma’s basement, said I look mad, she said I look wasted”
Semi-Charmed Life – Third Eye Blind
This is a song that nearly all of us have sang our hearts out to, without realizing that the song is about “falling apart” as said by the lead singer of the band. They’re singing about a crystal meth addiction, but in a more relatable sense, they’re also singing about how it’s never enough, and we always want something more or something else — something we may not be able to get.
“Doing crystal meth will lift you up until you break. It won’t stop”
Slide – The Goo Goo Dolls
I’m not going to lie, this is one of my favorite songs and I didn’t know until very recently that this song was not a sweet song about a couple in love, but instead a song about an accidental pregnancy and about whether they should get an abortion or get married. You learn something new everyday…
“Don’t you love the life you killed? The priest is on the phone, your father hit the wall, your ma disowned you”
Paper Planes – M.I.A.
This song has actually gotten quite a bit of controversy since the time it came out. M.I.A. raps about escaping border police, having fake visas, drug deals, and bringing in lethal poison. As if that’s not enough, she sings about taking all your money and shooting you, accompanied by the sound of guns and cash registers — which after all the controversy, she said she was singing about a “character” –about illegal immigrants doing all those things. Hmm…
“If you catch me at the border, I got visas in my name. If you come around here, I make ‘em all day, I get one down in a second if you wait”
Can you name other such songs? Tell us about them below!