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10 Bizarre Theories About Well-Known Songs

Estelle Thurtle


There are always those who look too deeply into song lyrics. And what they see are conspiracy theories, wild ideas that often take root in the depths of the Internet. The following examples show what happens when song lyrics are analyzed to death.

Featured photo credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios via Babble.com

10 ‘Friday’
Rebecca Black

Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday.
Today is Friday, Friday . . . 
Tomorrow is Saturday,
And Sunday comes afterward.

Most people would probably agree that these song lyrics are neither mind-blowing nor exceptionally intelligent. Anyone with a few brain cells (or a calendar) could have come up with them.

However, some people allege that Rebecca Black’s “Friday” isn’t just terrible mumbo jumbo that somehow made her a quasi-famous person for all the wrong reasons. (The song received over a million dislikes on YouTube and made her the target of bullies and incredibly nasty comments.) According to these conspiracy theorists—who are possibly having a laugh at Rebecca’s expense—the lyrics supposedly allude to JFK’s assassination.

This theory stems from a comment posted on an Internet forum in 2012. As the forum user explains, the lyrics go into detail about what happened to John F. Kennedy. At the beginning of the song, Rebecca sings about waking up at 7:00 AM on a Friday morning and having to be fresh before going downstairs to eat a bowl of cereal. This allegedly alludes to JFK waking up at 7:00 AM on the morning of his death (also a Friday) and having Bran Flakes (a kind of cereal) before going downstairs (a euphemism for dying).

The theory is stretched even further when the user states that “everybody’s rushing” sound like “everybody’s Russian,” which naturally would refer to the Cold War. And when Rebecca sings about getting to the bus stop, that’s really about how JFK missed out on signing a public bus transport bill.

But the real kicker comes in the form of the following lyrics:

Kicking in the front seat,
Sitting in the back seat.
Gotta’ make my mind up.
Which seat can I take?

The forum poster is adamant that the phrase “kicking in the front seat” refers to Samuel Kickin, the driver of Kennedy’s car. As for the question (“Which seat can I take?”), that probably refers to Kennedy sitting in the backseat after having a mental conflict on where to sit in the first place.

The forum entry goes on to detail the rest of the theory, comparing various lyrics to details of the assassination, no matter how ridiculous. For instance, when Rebecca sings that everyone is “so excited,” that refers to the excitement around JFK’s death. Plus, when she says that we’re going to “have a ball today,” the ball supposedly refers to the bullet that killed Kennedy.


9 Ultraviolence
Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey upset the Internet in 2014 when she shared her innermost thoughts and feeling during a Guardian interview about her album Ultraviolence. Del Rey stated that her idols included Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse, and she proclaimed that she saw an early death as being “glamorous.” She went on to say that she wished she were dead already and that she didn’t want to continue making music or anything else for that matter.

From here on in, conspiracy theories about the meanings of Del Rey’s songs have grown faster than her discography. One theory on Reddit states that her Ultraviolence album details her journey from suicide (which means she joins the infamous “27 Club”) to Purgatory to her arrival in Hell. Her stay in Purgatory is depicted through the lyrics of “Ultraviolence.” The song’s accompanying music video includes a scene where Lana falls into the ocean and is transported to the future. According to the Reddit theory, this means Del Rey’s soul is being cleansed and readied for the latter part of her journey to the afterlife.

Songs such as “Shades of Cool,” “Sad Girl,” and “Pretty When I Cry” all feature drug dealers. According to the conspiracy theory, this means that Lana’s cleansing is still ongoing. However, things don’t end up well for Del Rey. In the last song on the album, “Old Money,” Lana realizes nothing is going to save her, and the singer finds herself destined for Hell.

8 ‘Hotel California’
The Eagles

It’s pretty well known that many people believe “Hotel California” is about Satanism. Whether they’re talking about Anton LaVey or continuously referring to the one line about the beast that can’t be killed, conspiracy theorists are constantly searching for the “true” meaning of the song . . . even after the late Glenn Frey explained the true, non-terrifying meaning.

Nevertheless, there are still many other theories about the song floating around the Internet. One wacky theory says the lyrics must be about a mental hospital in Los Angeles, an asylum that was nicknamed “Hotel California.” The words of the song are thought to indicate the disjointed, confused thoughts of a mentally disturbed patient as he’s booked into the hospital, all before realizing where he’s at.

Then there’s the line about the “warm smell of colitas rising up through the air.” That one sentence has spawned a whole theory of its own, with some people believing it gives weight to the idea that the entire song is about drug addiction. In the minds of conspiracy seekers, “colitas” is referring to marijuana.

A long-standing rumor that The Eagles were in a feud with Steely Dan—another ’70s rock group—opened the door to another rumor. Some thought that the line about “steely knives” was a rather obvious put-down toward the band. Even after Glenn Frey once again set the record straight, explaining it was a favor returned to Steely Dan for mentioning The Eagles in one of their songs, the theory still continues making the rounds.



7 ‘American Pie’
Don McLean

The lyrics of “American Pie” are about the morality of the human race, the decline of the American Dream, and the tragic loss of American innocence. This interpretation was given by the singer-songwriter, Don McLean, after his handwritten notes on the lyrics were put up for auction in 2015.

However, even after this simple explanation, crazy conspiracies about the song remain a hot search topic on the Internet. One of the most out-there theories claims that the lyrics mourn the death of God. People who think the song details the downfall of religion in the US point to the moment where McLean sings, “The church bells all were broken.”

For some strange reason, someone somewhere has also found a connection between the song and a satanic takeover of America. As proof, they point to the following lyrics:

No angel born in Hell
Could break that Satan’s spell.
And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite,
I saw Satan laughing with laughing with delight
The day the music died.

But then again, if you’re not convinced of the theories above, it should be noted there’s another idea regarding the “Satan” lyrics. According to some, these lines are referencing the end of peace in America, as they apparently refer to the violence that took place during a Rolling Stones performance in 1969.

6 ‘Umbrella’
Rihanna

There are about a trillion conspiracy theories on the Internet about Rihanna. According to some nuts, she predicted the death of Whitney Houston in her music video for “We Found Love.” And like many other stars, she’s suspected of being a reptilian humanoid with the ability to shape-shift into other forms.

The lyrics of some of her most popular songs are also in the conspiracy spotlight. For example, “Umbrella” is one of those songs that make conspiracy theorists sit up and take notes for their online rants. (And the fact that Jay-Z has a rapping part in the song doesn’t help, since he’s been labeled as everything from a Satanist to an Illuminati pawn.)

According to one drawn-out explanation, “Umbrella” is not only about Rihanna being possessed by an evil entity, but it’s also predicting a major stock market crash. The prediction basically rests on a line where Rihanna says, “Coming down with the Dow Jones.”

Seconds later, Rihanna sings, “When the clouds come we gone, we Rocafella,” and this supposedly refers to John D. Rockefeller and his role as one of the biggest industrialists in US history. The theory also states that the world population will not be present when the oncoming economic storm eventually hits. Because that all makes perfect sense, of course.

And then there are these enigmatic lines:

Because when the sun shines, we’ll shine together.
Told you I’ll be here forever.
Said I’ll always be your friend,
Took an oath, I’ma stick it out to the end.

Now that it’s raining more than ever,
Know that we’ll still have each other.
You can stand under my umbrella.

Supposedly, this means the devil will look out for Rihanna since she swore an oath to him. So even if the world collapses under the weight of a stock market crash, Rihanna will be protected by her “friend,” Satan.

5 ‘Man On The Moon’
R.E.M.

There has been a rumor going around for many years that says clues to the “fake” Moon landing of 1969 can be found in movies and song lyrics. For example, one hoax states that Stanley Kubrick made a deathbed confession about helping NASA stage the Apollo 11 landing.

When it comes to music, the popular rock band R.E.M. has long been the target of conspiracy theorists, thanks to their song “Man on the Moon.” Many claim this 1992 hit alludes to the faking of the Moon landing. As proof, conspiracy theorists point to the following lines:

If you believe they put a man on the moon, man on the moon,
If you believe there’s nothing up his sleeve, then nothing is cool.

However, the song is actually a tribute to Andy Kaufman, a comedian who died of lung cancer at the age of 35. He is referenced directly in the song (“Andy Kaufman in the wrestling match”) and even in the lines leading up to the hook (“Andy, are you goofing on Elvis?”). The line “Mister Andy Kaufman’s gone wrestling” is also a clear indication that the song is paying homage to the comedian.

Nevertheless, there are those who firmly believe that these same lyrics actually confirm that Andy faked his own death, and that he is still alive as his alter ego, lounge singer Tony Clifton.



4 ‘One Week’
Barenaked Ladies

“One Week” by Barenaked Ladies has never been short on controversy, with its references to a soccer stadium and jazz composer Bert Kaempfert. All these odd references have given conspiracy theorists ample ammunition to figure out just what the band means in every single line of the song.

One hardcore fan has taken the conspiracy to whole new level, suggesting that the song is about a cold-blooded murder. Euchrid_Eucrow posted this theory on Reddit, saying he believes the song is about a man who murdered his girlfriend and is basically living next to her body in their home. All the while, he’s trying to concoct a lie to tell the police when they finally come knocking on the door.

He further theorizes that the line “three days since the living room” means that the murderer has been slowly going insane while sitting next to the corpse of his girlfriend for three days. He says the rapping part of the song—a segment which includes famous references—indicates the murderer’s confused state of mind. He also goes on to say that one of the lines during a rap verse speaks of new golf clubs . . . thus confirming the murder weapon.

The mention of Birchmount Stadium refers to the last resting place of the murdered girlfriend. And then there are these icky lines:

I’m the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral.
Can’t understand what I mean? Well, you soon will.

Euchrid_Eucrow believes this means the murderer is talking to the dead body while waiting for her funeral. Finally, he ends his theory by saying the last part of the song deals with the murderer realizing what he’s done and deciding that he needs to be punished by handing himself over to the authorities.

3 ‘Let It Go’
Idina Menzel

When the animated movie Frozen was released in 2013, even its creators were stunned by its massive success. Part of the film’s popularity was thanks to the movie’s big number, “Let It Go.” The song reached the top five of the Billboard Hot 100, and it won both an Oscar and a Grammy. It is well known that the lyrics represent Elsa (the queen) and detail her journey from being an outcast to being free to use her magical powers away from the judgment of others.

However, this has not stopped some outrageous theories from finding their way onto the Internet, enraging fans to no end. In 2014, a Mormon woman wrote a blog about her belief that the movie was a thinly veiled attempt by Disney (or the LGBT community) to indoctrinate young children into becoming gay or lesbian.

In the blog, the woman posted the lyrics to “Let It Go” and pointed out the words or phrases that supposedly indicated someone was forcing their hidden agenda onto small children. These included “queen,” “let it go,” and “couldn’t keep it in.”

Right-wing pastor Kevin Swanson also jumped on the bandwagon, calling the movie evil and stating it was trying to convince young women that lesbianism is acceptable. According to Swanson, “Let It Go” was really trying to “normalize” homosexuality.

2 ‘American Girl’
Tom Petty

Sometimes, real-life catastrophes are incorporated into popular songs. For example, it’s commonly known that some songs intentionally reference tragedies, such as “I Don’t Like Mondays” by Boomtown Rats. This 1979 single was inspired by a San Diego school shooting.

However, some songs are given this distinction even after the writer explains the lyrics have nothing to do with tragedy of any sort. This is exactly what happened to the song “American Girl” by Tom Petty.

According to one urban legend, a teenage girl committed suicide in the 1960s by jumping from the Beaty Towers dorm at the University of Florida, a college located in the city of Gainesville. There is no record of this suicide, but that has not deterred people from telling the tale over and over again . . . or from connecting “American Girl” to the alleged incident.

So why do conspiracy theorists think Petty’s ballad is about a girl jumping to her death? Well, they often point to lyrics like these:

Well, it was kind of cold that night.
She stood alone on her balcony.
Yeah, she could hear the cars roll by
Out on 441 like waves crashin’ on the beach.

Many believe these words obviously refer to the girl who jumped to her death all those years ago. Try to convince them otherwise and they’ll explain Petty himself is from Gainesville, Florida. Plus, the 441 is a highway that runs past the university in question. So even though Petty stated in an interview that the song is not about a girl committing suicide, some refuse to let go of the theory.

1 Blackstar
David Bowie

The death of David Bowie earlier this year shook music fans to their core. It was therefore only natural for Bowie lovers to hang onto every word in his last album, Blackstar, which was released a mere two days before Bowie passed away.

It also didn’t take long for a few overzealous fans to come up with a couple of strange theories regarding the album and its songs. One of these ideas includes talk of how Elvis Presley and his song “Black Star” inspired Bowie’s album. Since Presley and Bowie shared a birthday, this naturally makes the concept that much more believable.

Also, the song “Lazarus” is open to interpretation, with most people going for the obvious. The number one theory is that the lyrics (“Look up here, I’m in heaven”) refer to Bowie’s imminent death. This interpretation becomes even more “on the money” when one looks at the music video where Bowie is seen lying on his deathbed.

However, others are focusing on another line of this song, the part where Bowie sings, “I’ll be free just like that bluebird.” For some unexplained reason, people have connected this to the Twitter logo. Also, according to the conspiracy, the meaning of the bluebird can be anything from the rising sun to happiness, from spiritual awakening to wisdom.

As is the case with most controversial songs, the occult must be dragged into the debate in some form or another. In this case, the line about “a solitary candle . . . in the center of it all” allegedly references a time during the ’70s when Bowie was influenced by occultist Aleister Crowley.

Estelle lives in Gauteng, South Africa. She loves conspiracy theories of all kinds. The crazier, the better!



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