Skip To Content

    19 Songs You Never Realized Actually Have Really, Really Dark Lyrics

    Who knew "Macarena" was about infidelity?!

    We asked the BuzzFeed Community which songs they thought were fun and catchy until they actually listened to the lyrics. Here are the tunes that might be darker than you thought:

    Warning: The songs in this post discuss murder, stalking, drug use, and domestic violence.

    1. Beck, "Girl"

    Lyrics: She doesn't even know what's wrong, and I know I'm gonna make her die. Take her where her soul belongs, and I know I'm gonna steal her eye. Nothing that I wouldn't try
    Interscope Records

    "It sounds like a fun summer song, but it's absolutely written from the POV of a serial killer."


    2. Mother Mother, "Hayloft"

    Lyrics: Young lovers in the hay (loft), with his gun turned on, pop went a-creeping. Out to the barn, up to the hay (loft). My daddy's got a gun, my daddy's got a gun
    Universal Music Group

    "I never really understood the lyrics until I realized it's saying 'my daddy's got a gun,' and it gets pretty dark."


    3. Johnny Cash, "You Are My Sunshine"

    Lyrics: You told me once, dear, you really loved me, and no one else could come between. But now you've left me and love another; you have shattered all of my dreams. You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
    Mirrorpix / Getty Images

    "Here's an oldie. It's about a woman leaving her man for another man she's been seeing. The first man is begging her not to go, not to take his sunshine away."


    4. Third Eye Blind, "Semi-Charmed Life"

    Lyrics: Smiling in the pictures you would take, doing crystal myth, will lift you up until you break
    Warner Music Group

    "The chorus and verses are so catchy that I couldn’t tell it was actually about drug addiction until I read the lyrics."


    5. Pearl Jam, "Release"

    Lyrics: Oh, dead dad, can you see me now? I am myself, like you somehow. I'll wait up in the dark for you to speak to me. I'll open up, release me
    Alison Braun / Getty Images

    "I read somewhere that Eddie Vedder wrote it about the grief and loss he experienced as a teenager when he found out the man he thought was his father was actually his stepfather, and his biological father died before Vedder could meet him. I love that song, but hear it completely differently now."


    6. I Dont Know How But They Found Me, "Choke"

    Lyrics: Now shut your dirty mouth. If I could burn this town, I wouldn't hesitate to smile while you suffocate and die
    Fearless Records

    "It sounds upbeat, but it’s actually about fire and murdering people."


    7. Nena, "99 Red Balloons"

    Lyrics: Call the troops out in a hurry, this is what we've waited for. This is it, boys, this is war. The president is on the line, as ninety-nine red balloons go by
    Michael Putland / Getty Images

    "It sounds like such a cheerful song, but it's actually about Cold War tensions being so high that a nuclear apocalypse is brought on by balloons released by a child."


    8. Passion Pit, "Take a Walk"

    I watch my little children play some board game in the kitchen, and I sit and pray they never feel my strife. But then my partner called to say the pension funds were gone, he made some bad investments now the accounts are overdrawn. I take a walk.
    Sony Music Entertainment

    "It has such a catchy beat and chorus, but the verses are about an immigrant bringing his family to America and dealing with a ton of professional and personal burdens, until finally his business goes completely bankrupt. It's implied that he's going to lose everything, but is too afraid and proud to ask anyone for help, and all he can do to cope is...well, take a walk. It's a bummer, and way deeper than I thought when I first heard it on the radio."


    9. Queen and David Bowie, "Under Pressure"

    Lyrics: It's the terror of knowing what this world is about. Watching some good friends screaming, 'Let me out!' Pray tomorrow brings me higher. Pressure on people, people on streets
    Universal Music Group

    "I looked up the lyrics once and realized that the song is about how shitty and hard life is."


    10. Ed Sheeran, "Small Bump"

    Lyrics: You're just a small bump, unborn just for four months, then torn from life. Maybe you were needed up there, but we're still unaware of why
    Warner Music Group

    "I’d always thought it was a beautiful song and honestly knew the lyrics, but on a random day it just clicked for me that it's about a miscarriage, and that broke my heart."


    11. Uncle Kracker, "Follow Me"

    Lyrics: I'm not worried 'bout the ring you wear, 'cause as long as no one knows, then nobody can care. You're feelin' guilty, and I'm well aware. But you don't look ashamed, and baby I'm not scared
    Atlantic Records

    "I loved that song growing up, and it wasn’t until like last year that I realized it's about cheating! Still a jam tho."


    12. Black Kids, "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You"

    Lyrics: You are the girl that I've been dreaming of ever since I was a little girl...One, I'm biting my tongue. Two, he's kissin' on you. Three, oh, why can't you see
    Columbia Records

    "It's about a girl in love with her childhood friend who has a boyfriend."


    13. Mitski, "Me and My Husband"

    Burak Cingi / Redferns

    "Everyone treats it like a beautiful love song, but it's actually about domestic abuse."


    14. The Smiths, "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out"

    Lyrics: And if a double-decker bus crashes into us, to die by your side is such a heavenly way to die. And if a ten ton truck kills the both of us, to die by your side, well, the pleasure, the privilege is mine
    Clare Muller / Redferns

    "The music is just so bubbly and upbeat, but when you listen to the lyrics you realize the narrator has been thrown out of his house and just wants to go out and be distracted from his problems. He's in a pretty dark place, because he doesn't even care if he's killed in a traffic accident with his friend, and it sort of sounds like he welcomes the idea."


    15. The Chicks, "Goodbye Earl"

    Lyrics: Goodbye Earl, we need a break. Let's go out to the lake, Earl. We'll pack a lunch, and stuff you in the trunk, Earl. Well, is that all right? Good! Let's go for a ride, Earl
    Sony Music Entertainment

    "This was was my favorite song when I was younger and I was always singing along. It wasn't until I was 22 that I found out they killed a dude, hid his body, and partied right after."


    16. Twenty One Pilots, "Legend"

    Lyrics: You were here when I wrote this, but the masters and mixes will take too long to finish, to show you. I'm sorry I did not visit, did not know how to take it when your eyes did not know me, like I know you
    Emma Mcintyre / Getty Images

    "It's super upbeat and happy, but he's singing about losing his grandfather."


    17. The Toadies, "Possum Kingdom"

    Lyrics: Be my angel. Do you wanna die? I promise you I will treat you well, my sweet angel
    Interscope Records

    "It's about a guy murdering, and more than likely raping, a girl that he convinces to take a walk around the lake with him. I remember singing along to this song as a kid, and thinking back I realize just how fucked up and twisted that was."


    18. TLC, "Waterfalls"

    Lyrics: But all the praying just ain't helping at all. 'Cause he can't seem to keep himself 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
    RCA/Jive Label Grou/Def Jam/LaFace

    "Definitely a jam everyone was singing when I was younger, but now it’s very clear — obvious even — that it’s a song about self-destructive behaviors."


    19. And finally, Los Del Río, "Macarena (Bayside Boys Remix)"

    Lyrics: But don't you worry about my boyfriend, he's a boy whose name is Vitorino. I don't want him, couldn't stand him. He was no good, so I (hahahaha). Now, come on, what was I supposed to do? He was out of town, and his two friends were so fine
    RCA Records

    "I had no idea until a little while ago, but 'Macarena' is actually the name of a woman, and the song is about her going out with multiple other men while her boyfriend is out of town."


    Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.

    Do you know any songs that shocked you with their dark lyrics? Share them in the comments below!

    Nostalgia Trip

    Take a trip down memory lane that’ll make you feel nostalgia AF

    Newsletter signup form