You ever wonder how misheard lyrics spread so quickly and get cemented as correct in the minds of an audience? You’re not the only one. Thankfully, The Science of Us via New York Magazine made a video on the exact phenomenon and where it comes from.
There are a number of causes for Mondegreens, or the mishearing of or confusion over lyrics. One cause is the way our brains try to make sense of nonsense. That’s how, as they cite in the video, Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” lyrics are heard as “all the lonely Starbucks lovers” instead of “got a long list of ex-lovers.” Even Swift’s mom thought it was about coffee. Our brains must find an answer, so we convince ourselves that what we interpret is how it really is.
Another cause is what they call Top Down Processing, which basically means that we hear whatever we’re feeling. Studies have suggested that our emotions can strongly govern these things. If you’re sad, maybe you’ll hear sadder words and phrases where they necessarily may not be.
It’s all pretty fascinating, and makes us question how many lyrics we really know. That’s why buying physical copies of music is so key. Gotta check those liner notes!
(Via New York Magazine)