It’s impossible to constantly focus on the lyrics in the music you listen to. In some cases, people don’t listen to the lyrics at all, even for songs they say they like. How else could you explain people playing The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” at their wedding? But, in those moments when the words make their way into your consciousness, you can find yourself having a real WTF moment. “It says what?!”
Often what you discover are lyrical lies. Granted these aren’t terrible lies, and they aren’t directed at you, so you can probably let them slide. On the other hand, if you decide to screech “LIAR!” at the top of your lungs every time one of the following songs comes on over the speakers in the grocery store, we won’t judge you too harshly. Here are the worst offenders.
The Rolling Stones — “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”
When “Satisfaction” was released in 1965, it became The Rolling Stones’ first international No. 1 hit. So, it is possible that a few girls had rebuffed the band at that point. But it still feels disingenuous for Mick Jagger, of all people, to piss and moan about his lack of gratification. Poor baby, it must be so hard being in a famous band. How do you cope without being fully satisfied at all times? Overwhelmingly, the lie of the song hurts because the idea that The Rolling Stones are dissatisfied leaves no room for the rest of us to hope we will ever be gratified. Mick Jagger reportedly has slept with 4,000 women. Four thousand. He had better be satisfied. At the very least exhausted.
Icona Pop — “I Love It”
There aren’t a lot of lyrics here, but the gist is that the singer crashed her car into a bridge and let it burn and she doesn’t care. In fact, she loves it. Try finding a person who wouldn’t care about crashing their car into a flipping bridge and letting it burn. Go on. Just try it. You won’t find one, because that is bananas. She cares. Or, at least, caring is the most likely scenario. There is, however, a sociopath loophole in this one. If she isn’t lying, she is sheer crazy pants.
Betty Everett/Cher — “The Shoop Shoop Song”
If you want to know if someone loves you, ask them. That’s what mature adults do. The song makes a good point about not finding answers in someone’s face, but how is an embrace so much less reliable than kissing? If you kiss correctly, you will embrace; it’s a sort of mouth embrace. In fact, kissing is just hugging with more tongue action. If the world depended on kissing to indicate depth of feeling, two things would happen. Firstly, we would all love a heck of a lot more people. Secondly, every passionate drunken make out would have to mean a lot more. No one wants that.
The Beatles — “All You Need Is Love”
In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, your physiological needs (physical requirements for human survival) are air, water, food, clothing, and shelter. Not only do you need other things, you don’t actually even need love. And, once you finish screaming “LIAR!” at the chorus, you get can get into your list of grievances with the verses. “Nothing you can know that isn’t known”? Duh. Take your sappy circular reasoning, Beatles, and GTFO. The worst part? The song is really a good one and by admitting this you have to cosign all the foolishness and lies.
REO Speedwagon — “Keep On Loving You”
It is, perhaps, noble to want to commit to loving someone with a single-minded determination, but it’s simply not possible. You are not going to keep on loving someone at the cost of everything else, and furthermore, she doesn’t want you to. Do you hear that, REO Speedwagon? She wants to get some sleep. Stop loving her. In reality, a few months after writing the song, Kevin Cronin probably committed to loving his new jeans or that face babies make when they giggle. When he said that he loved her, he totally didn’t mean that he’d love her forever.
Miley Cyrus — “We Can’t Stop”
Nope. Pretty sure you can. The issue is that you won’t. This song is an anthem for people who can still watch The Real World without yelling, “Quit complaining; you are being paid to live in an amazing house. You don’t know what problems are.” Possibly, it’s Miley’s party and she can do what she wants to because she is a second-generation famous person. Things don’t run her. But try telling the IRS that you run things. See where that gets you. The notion that you can ever truly do what you want is a level of free will that only exists in philosophy classes.
Justin Bieber “Love Yourself”
The lyrics say “And I didn’t wanna write a song/ ‘Cause I didn’t want anyone thinking I still care/ I don’t.” Yes. You do. You care a lot. No one who truly is without care goes through the trouble to write, record, and perform a song about someone else. The clincher, the song mentions that his mom never liked her and his mom likes everyone. Dude. Your mom? That’s just sad, and although it’s believable that his mom didn’t like her, his mom clearly doesn’t like everyone. In 2015, Bieber told Billboard that his relationship with his mother had been “pretty nonexisting” over the past two years. Mom seems like she might have some limits to who and what she likes.
NSYNC — “It’s Gonna Be Me”
This song is the cockiest pile of self-inflated lies outside of an interview with Yeezus himself. The lyrics tell the targeted female that men have treated her poorly and that her love life has sucked, but when she finally gets to love somebody, it’s gonna be NSYNC. No. Lies. Apparently, she is just too blind to see that this will be the end result. Yep. Poor, poor stupid woman who thinks she can accurately assess her life and make choices. When will she learn about the relentless omnipotence of boy bands? She won’t; all of that gelled hair and those shiny, shiny pants are full of falsehoods.