Throughout the history of music, we’ve always had a knack for uncovering subliminal messages hidden in our favorite songs. Sometimes the discovery was subtle and unexpected, like playing the Beatles’ record backwards to hear “Paul is dead.” Sometimes the messaging was not as subtle, like hearing Britney Spears beg for someone to “If You Seek Amy” in her new salacious (and radio-censored) song.
Most of the time, pop music is like Brit-Brit: it’s quite literal. Thus when the pop diva asks us to satisfy her penchant for four-letter words, we know what she means. When Beyonce implores the male species to “put a ring on it,” she’s giving our deadbeat boyfriends a pretty clear directive. And when Lady Gaga sings “Just Dance”, well, we…just dance. But for every straight shooter in the music business, there’s always someone out there who just wants to if-you-seek-ay-with our heads.
The following are some examples of masterful, even Shakespearean, trickery; behind the poppy lyrics and tempo beats, we have discovered their true intentions:
Burnin’ Up (Jonas Brothers): “I’m slipping into the lava / And I’m trying to keep from going under / Baby who turned the temperature hotter / ‘Cause I’m burning up, burning up”
- Take it literally: The musically-gifted but awfully-coiffed trio is on the precipice of an exploding volcano. An exploding volcano of love.
- Think about it: If the brothers were to actually slip into lava, they would immediately die. So this song isn’t about love at all; it’s about an extreme fear of love. After all, who wants to burn to death in a pool of flaming magma? Not anyone I know.
Right Now (Akon): “I wanna make up right now na na / I wanna make up right now na na / Wish we never broke up right now na na / We need to link up right now na na”
- Take it literally: Akon wants to make up right now… how sweet.
- Think about it: This is Akon we’re talking about… he’s probably just Lonely or Locked Up. You really Don’t Matter to him. He’ll probably just say “I Wanna Love You“ and Smack That on your way out.
Right Round (Flo Rida ft. Katy Perry): “You spin my head right round / Right round / When you go down / When you go down down”
- Take it literally: So yeah, it sounds like he maaayy be talking about fellatio… Or stripping. Either way, adult activities.
- Think about it: It’s a recession, people. And Katy Perry clearly has a thing for girls. So what else is going down down, and making our heads spin right round? Of course… the stock market. The Dow just can’t keep it up, and with all the painful pullbacks, it’s been one wild ride on the Street. There’s nothing sexual about it. And if you seek proof, just ask for Amy.