The act of using a song as an opportunity to tell a story tends to feel like a bit of a lost art nowadays.
Since the days before the Billboard charts were even a thing, the calling card of every great song was the way it could rip your heart out of your chest from the drama and characters in the lyrics.
Across every decade, there have been classic songs gracing the charts with much more of a darker meaning than you probably realize. Although some of these might come right out and show their hand to the audience, it's just as likely that these kind of things will fly over the average listeners' head if they're not careful.
Whether it's just some random pop single or the next coming of Cobain, Dylan, and Bowie combined into one, these songs are almost deceptively complex, almost like they're luring you in for something nice before hitting you over the head with something much more serious.
Granted, it’s not like you need the darkness to sell the tune, with most people coming to these kind of songs for the catchy melody.
In this case though, you come for the tune, but stay for the dense messages lying just underneath the pretty sounds.
10. Semi Charmed Life - Third Eye Blind
For a decade as desolate as the '90s were in its midperiod, Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind stood out like a ray of sunshine.
Even with the death of Kurt Cobain still afflicting everyone in the alternative community, this was the kind of fun in the sun sounding pick me up that we all really wanted to hear. Catchy stuff...as long as you ignore literally every other line in this song.
As much as this song has more hooks than 12 pop songs combined, Stephen Jenkins probably did that on purpose to hide just how dark the lyrics were. Across his pseudo hip hop vocal delivery, the entire story behind our protagonist's semi charmed life has to do with his seedy amusements while living in California.
When not talking about the gang-banging that he's involved, he's going on and on about the beauties of crystal meth. Yeah... instead of being an adrenaline rush, this is a man feigning for his next fix.
It also re-contextualizes a lot of the lyrics once you start to train your ears to hear it that way, with having a belly face down on the mattress potentially hinting at him overdosing. Even though he claims to need something else to get him through, here's hoping there's at least a detox centre in his future to keep him running.