Ladies, behold the best song of the year: “Fuck You”, Cee Lo Green’s irresistibly catchy ode to the golddigger who broke his heart. The tongue-in-cheek homage to ’60s Motown makes the f-bomb heartfelt and subversively funny. But some women heard a creepy, sexist undertone to the song and a couple recorded response songs in the tradition of “Roxanne’s Revenge.” Listen to both and judge for yourself what “Fuck You” is really about.
PhDork’s posted about mondegreens, when people confuse the lyrics of a song. But sometimes listeners confuse the whole damn song. REM’s “The One I Love” is a classic example. People seem to think it’s romantic, despite lines like: “This one goes out to the one I left behind/ A simple prop, to occupy my time.” I had college friends who thought it was a great make-out tune. Michael Stipe gave up trying to disabuse listeners awhile back, saying “It’s probably better that they just think it’s a love song at this point.”
The most misinterpreted song of all time, though, is Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.” It’s the bleak, cynical story of a Vietnam vet and the big lie of the American Dream, but most Americans totally ignore that in favor of the fist-pumping chorus. I want to yell “No! No! FAIL!” every time I see people rocking out to it at July 4th barbecues.
Want to nominate a misunderstood song? Any songs that you loved until you’ve actually, y’know, listened to them? And if you think Cee Lo has challengers for song of the year…tell us!