There comes a time at every party when everyone realizes the fun has reached its peak. There’s that guy to your left attempting to teach everyone in a 30-foot radius how to Hit the Quan. There’s a girl to your right who’s watched three too many Nicki Minaj videos and has decided to show off her new found twerking skills. Everyone seems to be having a great time. This is the apex, the climax, the summit of Party Everest and in this moment one person has the power to make or break the party: the DJ. His song of choice at the party I went to a few days ago was “Here” by Alessia Cara.
Two girls shrieked, raised their red solo cups high in the sky, and began belting the lyrics, much to the dismay of everyone else there. After cleaning the blood from my ears, I came to a realization. Somehow the off key screeching made me hear the lyrics more clearly than ever before, and the most thought provoking question of my week entered my head. Why the hell are they playing this song at a party?
I love the song; everyone loves the song. But whenever it’s played at a party it’s three and a half minutes of undeniable irony. I’ve never seen a group of people so interested in singing and dancing to a song that starts with “I’m sorry if I seem uninterested… I’d rather be a home all by myself.” A song dedicated to making fun of the typical party scene, being played at a typical college party, someone other than me has got to see the humor in that. So as a room full of college partiers questioned why they were “here” at this college party, I questioned something else. How many other songs are there that we listen to and completely ignore the lyrics?
“Hey Mama” by David Guetta (feat. Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha & Afrojack)
David Guetta and Nicki Minaj seemingly set women back about 50 years with this club hit. Minaj’s proclaims that she’ll “do the cooking” and “do the cleaning” all while letting her man “be the boss… respecting whatever [he] tells her.” The intense beats and rage evoking bass drops throughout the song provide the perfect sugar coating for some pretty strange lyrics. In our defense, I don’t even think Nicki realizes the misogyny behind the lyrics to this one.
“Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People
At first this song seems pretty harmless. The 2011 Grammy winning hit inspires even the shyest crowds to bob their heads and tap their feet. Then why was this song banned by radio stations following the tragic 2012 Sandy Hook shooting and censored by MTV? This catchy fun song was written from the perspective of troubled kid who succumbs to the pressures of depression, steals his dad’s gun, and opens fire on “all the other kids with the pumped up kicks.”
“Take Me To Church” by HOZIER
From first listen you can tell that Take Me to Church is one of those songs that has some sort of deep underlying message. But even after several listens it’s difficult to pen down what exactly that message is. After a few more listens, I arrived at the assertion that Hozier thinks that sex is quite natural. Hozier thinks the Church has forced him into believing that sex is a sickness, but he “loves it.” The Irish born singer uses the song’s music video to evoke more discussion, featuring a homosexual couple, hunted down by their neighbors as a result of their sexual orientation.
“Paper Planes” by MIA
Who would’ve guessed it’d be alternative rapper/ live camera middle finger-flicker M.I.A. that would release the most popular immigration anthem of the 21st century. In an interview with thefader.com, M.I.A. stated her troubles with US customs as her inspiration for the song. “Initially, I didn’t get formally rejected for a visa. They let me into the US for a bit—a couple of months. I was there to work with Timbaland, but then the visa ran out and I had to come back to the UK. I haven’t been able to get in [since]” claimed the rapper. After listening to the lyrics thoroughly it’s impossible to miss M.I.A.’s references to having and making “visas in [her] name” at the border.
“Misery” by Maroon 5
You wouldn’t expect a song about a guy’s tumultuous relationship with his control freak girlfriend to double as a sing-along anthem but that’s exactly what you get with Maroon 5’s Misery. The fact that the song is named “Misery” or the fact that the chorus begins with “I am in Misery” doesn’t bother us, the non-detail oriented millennials. No, we are more interested in the song’s funky beat and catchiness. The song still makes its way onto our mood-booster Spotify playlists regardless of the semi-depressing lyrics.
That’s all the weird, twisted, sometimes depressing, always-unexpected lyrics I could think of that are covered up by some pretty catchy beats. I’m sure these songs will be played at many college parties in the future but hopefully we could at least be aware of their lyrics from here on.