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6 Catchy & Popular '90s Songs With Dark Lyrics

'90s songs were all fun, right? Nope. These 6 hit '90s songs with catchy beats lyrics will surprise you. Time to take off the rose-tinted glasses.

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1. Barbie Girl by Aqua (1997)

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Who can forget this catchy late '90s pop tune?. Barbie Girl topped the charts worldwide, particularly in European countries such as the UK, where it was a number-one hit for three weeks. It was also on top of the charts in Australia for the same length of time, and debuted and peaked at No. 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100 on 6 September 1997 and it remains Aqua's biggest hit single in the US to date, and their only one to reach the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. However, the song actually depicts the abuse of the working class perpetrated by the bourgeoisie in a capitalist system, using the Barbie doll as a metaphor.

2. Come To My Window by Melissa Etheridge (1994)

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Come To My Window was the first song to be released after Etheridge publicly announced her sexual orientation of being a lesbian. With the driving force of gay rights, the song gained a lot of airplay on radio stations, mostly through call-in requests. The song debuted on the Billboard charts after the first week of its release, reaching #25 on the chart. It was also the second song from Etheridge that earned her a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. You probably think Come To My Window is a love song?. Right?. WRONG.

Melissa explained the meaning:

I had a not so good phone call with my partner at the time, where out of loneliness, I sat on the phone, silent:

Lyrics: I would dial the numbers

Just to listen to your breath

Because of all of the attention I was getting, I felt I needed to do something for someone else. I would sacrifice so many things, put myself through so much pain for this relationship:

Lyrics: You don’t know how much I’d give

Or how much I can take

Just to reach you.

The chorus is a metaphor meaning you can’t come through the front door. I was telling her that we can’t meet and talk in an adult fashion; we have to meet on the side and talk. And I always like a reference to the moon. It conjures up a cold, sweet image.

Lyrics: Come to my window

Crawl inside, wait by the light

Of the moon.

Come to my window

I’ll be home soon.

The last line means that I couldn’t connect with her and I was longing to be home.

My friends were telling me I wasn’t in a good place. They were saying, “Why are you putting up with that?” but I didn’t care what they thought:

Lyrics: I don’t care what they think

I don’t care what they say.

What do they know about this

Love anyway?

3. Waterfalls by TLC (1994)

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Who can forget this classic '90s song?. The mid-'90s would never be the same without it. Waterfalls reached the top five in many countries. The song spent seven weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, giving TLC their second U.S. number one. The song was the number two song of the year on Billboard's 1995 year-end chart. "Waterfalls" received critical acclaim, earning two Grammy nominations at the 38th Annual Grammy Awards in 1996 for Record of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. However, Waterfalls tackled issues of illegal drug trade, promiscuity and HIV/AIDS.

Sampled Lyrics: A lonely mother gazing out of her window

Staring at a son that she just can't touch

If at any time he's in a jam she'll be by his side

But he doesn't realize he hurts her so much

But all the praying just ain't helping at all

'Cause he can't seem to keep his self out of trouble

So he goes out and he makes his money the best way he knows how

Another body laying cold in the gutter

Later in the song:

She gives him loving that his body can't handle

But all he can say is "Baby, it's good to me."

One day he goes and takes a glimpse in the mirror

But he doesn't recognize his own face

His health is fading and he doesn't know why

Three letters took him to his final resting place

Y'all don't hear me

4. Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind (1997)

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Semi-Charmed Life was a major hit of the 1990s, reaching number four on the Billboard's Hot 100, number one on the Modern Rock Tracks and the Top 40 in the UK. VH1 even named the song as the 34th best of the 1990s. The song was inescapable back in the summer of 1997. However, if you listen closely to the lyrics, you'll find that Semi-Charmed Life is a pretty dark song. The song is about a drug user's descent into crystal meth addiction and his implied sexual activities while trying to "want something else."

Sampled Lyrics: The sky was gold, it was rose

I was taking sips of it through my nose

And I wish I could get back there, someplace back there

Smiling in the pictures you would take

Doing crystal meth, will lift you up until you break

It won't stop, I won't come down

I keep stock with the tick-tock rhythm, I bump for the drop

And then I bumped up, I took the hit that I was given

Then I bumped again, then I bumped again

I said...

How do I get back there, to the place where I fell asleep inside you

How do I get myself back to the place where you said...

I want something else, to get me through this

Semi-charmed kinda life, baby, baby

I want something else, I'm not listening when you say good-bye

5. Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve (1997)

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This Britpop song was ever so popular in the late '90s. It reached number two on the UK Singles Chart. The song's momentum built slowly in the U.S. throughout the latter months of 1997, ultimately leading to a CD single release on the 3rd of March 1998 by Virgin Records America, helping the song to reach number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It regarded as one of the Britpop eras most defining songs. However, the lyrics suggest the misery of feeling trapped in your life due to circumstances beyond your control. It's about the absolute misery of everyday struggle.

Sampled Lyrics: 'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life

Try to make ends meet

You're a slave to money then you die

Later in the song:

'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life

Try to make ends meet

Try to find some money then you die

6. MMMBop by Hanson (1997)

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You're probably saying; "WAIT, WHAT?". How in the world can MMMBop have dark lyrics?. It's a group of adolescent boys. 80% of the lyrics are just gibberish, right?. Yes, but if you listen closely to the non gibberish lyrics you will hear them sing about the brevity of friendships and how very few of them actually last. Not the most dark song but for a pre-teen/teen group that's pretty deep. Hanson had some pretty mature thoughts about life when they were getting teased for looking like girls.

Sampled Lyrics: You have so many relationships in this life

Only one or two will last

You go through all the pain and strife

Then you turn your back and they're gone so fast

Oh yeah

And they're gone so fast, yeah.

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