POPULAR SONGS AND THEIR DARK STORIES. 5 songs with dark stories to tell.

5 Popular and influential songs with dark and intriguing stories hidden in their lyrics

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POPULAR SONGS AND THEIR DARK STORIES. 5 songs with dark stories to tell.
POPULAR SONGS AND THEIR DARK STORIES. 5 songs with dark stories to tell.

1. Pumped Up Kicks (2010) – Foster the People

We were amused by Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” and who wouldn’t? The song is catchy and the whistling part is just addicting to the ears. The fact that the song has upbeat tempo will make you want to dance to the beat of the bubble-gum genre and cool kids of the millennium. But there was rather intriguing part when you’ll deeply listen to the lyrics. The cool and upbeat song is sugarcoating a hideous and dark message that is right there popping out and we never bother to take a look at the lyrics so close that it revealed the true story behind “Pumped Up Kicks”.

Written and recorded in 2009, Mark Foster, founding member of Foster the People, admitted that the song was written from the perspective of a troubled and delusional youth with homicidal thoughts. If you’ll listen closely to the chorus it shockingly tells the other kids with the pumped up kicks to “better run” and “outrun my gun” and as it goes to the last lines it says “you better run, better run;  faster than my bullet”.

In writing the song, Foster wanted to “get inside the head of an isolated, psychotic kid” and “bring awareness” to the issue of gun violence amongst youth, which he feels is an epidemic perpetuated by “lack of family, lack of love, and isolation.” The song’s title refers to shoes that the narrator’s peers wear as a status symbol.

The issue of violence is much closer to the band as Foster was bullied in high school and bassist Cubbie Fink had a harrowing experience as a witness how his cousin survived Columbine High School massacre in 1999.

The lyrics of “Pumped Up Kicks” in narrative goes from third to first person when on the first stanza it says “Robert’s got a quick hand. He’ll look around the room, he won’t tell you his plan. He’s got a rolled cigarette hanging out his mouth, he’s a cowboy kid” and on the last stanza it says “Daddy works a long day. He be coming home late, he’s coming home late. And he’s bringing me a dark surprise.”

2. I Don’t Like Mondays (1979) – The Boomtown Rats

One of our favorite songs during our high school days was this one performed by The Boomtown Rats. We sang to every verse and chorus of this song not knowing and only after many decades we would soon find out the real meaning of this popular song back in the 80s.

It was the darkest day in 1979 when the first school shooting rampage in America broke out where a 16-year old girl with a .22-caliber rifle went on a shooting rampage at Grover Cleveland Elementary in San Carlos, Calif., a suburb of San Diego in the morning of Jan 29, 1979.

A reporter got Brenda Ann Spencer, 16, over the phone without knowing that the freckle-faced red headed teen was calling the shots. During the conversation and after confirming Spencer was the shooter, the reporter asked her why she was doing it, “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day,” she told him.

The disturbing lyrics of this popular song says in the chorus “Tell me why I don’t like Mondays? I wanna shoot whole day down” and much more on the last stanza were “And all the playing’s stopped in the playground now. She wants to play with the toys a while. And school’s out early and soon we’ll be learning and the lesson today is how to die”.

Eight children and a police officer were wounded during the rampage. The custodian and the principal of the school were shot dead.

Bob Geldof immediately penned a song for his group, The Boomtown Rats. The song, “I Don’t Like Mondays,” topped the U.K.’s music charts the summer ‘79 after the rampage.

I was doing a radio interview in Atlanta and there was a telex machine beside me. I read it as it came out. Not liking Mondays as a reason for doing somebody in is a bit strange. I was thinking about it on the way back to the hotel and I just said ‘Silicon chip inside her head had switched to overload’. I wrote that down. And the journalists interviewing her said, ‘Tell me why?’ It was such a senseless act. It was the perfect senseless act and this was the perfect senseless reason for doing it. So perhaps I wrote the perfect senseless song to illustrate it. It wasn’t an attempt to exploit tragedy,Geldof revealed.

And we all just thought that “I Don’t Like Mondays” was just referring to a simple not wanting to go to school or work on the first day of the week.

3. Stan (1999) – Eminem

Recorded in 1999 and released on December 2000, “Stan” is the third single from the The Marshall Mathers LP by American rapper Eminem featuring British singer Dido. Though fictional, the story behind the song was just as dark that MTV was forced to re-do a “clean” version of the song and the video has to be extensively and exhaustively censored.

The background of the song tells the story of a fictitious person named Stanley “Stan” Mitchell who claims to be the biggest fan of Eminem (In the album, Eminem uses his alter ego, Slim Shady). In the song, he writes letters to Eminem, with each verse he becomes gradually more obsessed with him, and when there is no reply he becomes progressively angrier. He finally creates a voice recording of himself driving his car into a lake, with his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk, as shown in the lyrics: “So this is the cassette I’m sending you, I hope you hear it. I’m in the car right now doing 90 on the freeway….. See Slim, (screaming) shut up bitch I’m trying to talk! Hey Slim, that’s my girlfriend screaming in the trunk….. Well gotta go, I’m almost at the bridge now. Oh shit, I forgot, how am I supposed to send this shit out? (Car tires squealing, loud splash.)” The first three verses are delivered by Eminem as Stan while the fourth verse is Slim attempting to write to Stan and reason with the troubled young man, only to realize that he had already heard about Stan’s death on the news.

In the MTV full version, which is 8:15 long, verse 3 censors Stan mentioning his girlfriend in the trunk (so “Shut up bitch” and “screaming in the trunk” is censored), and about him not slitting her throat, but tied her up, and “If she suffocates, she’ll suffer more, then she’ll die too“, which “slit”, “tied her up”, “suffocates” and “die” is censored.

This was probably one of the darkest song ever written in that year. Ironically, “Stan” has been called a “cultural milestone” and referred to as “Eminem’s best song” by About.com.

4. Dark Horse (2013) – Katy Perry

Do you believe in the Illuminati? And did you believe that Katy Perry sold her soul to the devil? Believer or not, Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” has a lot of things to say to her legion of fans once they start dissecting the lyrics and music video of her Egyptian-themed hit song.

“Dark Horse” is set in Egypt, which already lends itself to a lot of occult imagery, but even putting that aside there’s a lot for conspiracy theorists not to let this thing go off. The song itself isn’t all that subtle — the “Like a bird without a cage” line refers to birdcage imagery, which is a symbol for mind control. And when Juicy J says “She’s a beast/I call her karma,” the Beast is the Devil.

Many Illuminati watchers were appalled by Perry‘s performance of “Dark Horse” at the 56th Grammy Awards 2104. Alex Jones’ InfoWars said “it was essentially an Illuminati-themed occult ritual.” Now the video is out, and it leaves nothing to the imagination. Perry is either an active Illuminator or this is her ham fisted audition video.

Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” meaning on the surface is about a witch warning someone not to fall in love with her. The singer elaborated to during the E! pre-Grammy show, saying her performance was inspired by one of her “favorite” Stevie Nicks lyrics: “Which witch is which?

It’s kind of a juxtaposition,” she explained to MTV News of the single to her latest album, Prism. “It’s got me, a pop artist … and the lyrics are kind of witchy and dark, as if I was a witch warning this man not to fall in love with me, and if you do know I’m going to be your last.”

5. Spoliarium (1997) – Eraserheads

This one’s for the critics and fans of 90s Pinoy rock band and icon Eraserheads. After being successful in the music industry and now each members having their own set of bands to their sleeves after they’ve disbanded, one song has made a comeback like zombie crawling from the grave and giving a lot of people to speculate on what could be the true story behind the hit “Spoliarium”. The title of the song should simply suggest a famous 19th century painting by one of our heroes – Juan Luna. But that’s just it. The title.

What became more intriguing was the shocking information that “Spoliarium” was an anecdote of a controversial rape case in the 80s involving the famous Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, Joey de Leon (TVJ), and Richie D’Horsie who made the headlines involving the rape of an underage bold star Pepsi Paloma.

The case was settled out of court and the trio issued public apology to the judge where they admitted to the crime, which was punishable by death penalty at that time. Three years after, Paloma was found lifeless hanging ruling suicide apparently due to the trauma of the rape incident.

The song “Spoliarium” was easily connected to the 1982 case when Ely Buendia penned lyrics such as “Madilim ang paligid. May tumawag sa pangalan ko. Labing isang palapag. Tinanong kung okay lang ako. Sabay abot ng baso.” This line allegedly retells a story of a dark place or room at the 11th floor where somebody called his or her name and ask to take a shot glass of liquor. The lines “San Juan di ko na nasasakyan” allegedly pertains to the area where the crime was committed and “Ewan mo at ewan natin, sino’ng may pakana” would indicate that the narrator doesn’t know what’s happening and who masterminded the crime.

The lyrics that got the most attention was “Anong sinulat ni Enteng at Joey dyan?” that conspiracy theorist assumed were calling out the showbiz alias of Vic, as in Enteng, and his buddy Joey (de Leon).

When a spokesperson for the disbanded members came out, this person shrugged this non-sense idea that the song was about the Pepsi Paloma rape incident. The spokesperson told someone that all of the speculations were not true and it was just all about a drinking spree that happened in a condominium in San Juan, at the 11th floor when Ely was supposed to go home. The story goes on that somebody called out Ely’s name and asked him to join them for a drink. The names of Enteng and Joey were referring to Eraserheads’ roadies at that time.

This controversial back masking of the lyrics appeared on www.philurbanlegends.blogspot.com on August 13, 2013. Thus said, the song’s hidden dark message may well sit as just one of the urban legends in Philippine history.

So the next time you hear a song, listen to the lyrics. You’ll never know what you might just discover!

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Juan Manila Express is a magazine-themed blog of different niche from daily grind to headline news, to entertainment updates and social media related topics. Email us at [email protected] for your suggestions and comments. Thank you for visiting!

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Juan Manila Express is a magazine-themed blog of different niche from daily grind to headline news, to entertainment updates and social media related topics. Email us at [email protected] for your suggestions and comments. Thank you for visiting!

3 thoughts on “5 Popular and influential songs with dark and intriguing stories hidden in their lyrics

  1. go search the net…. theres a christian rap group accuses katy perry and her group of copying their music, heard a youtube vid and it sounds..close… also check the song by sara barreilles..sounds like roar

    suggest top 5 songs that sounds the same ahhaahha

    1. Haven’t checked that one yet but yup, been considering doing another one with that kind of topic you’ve suggested.

      Thanks, Az for dropping by! :)


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