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17 Songs with Deep Meaning You Probably Don’t Know

songs with deep meaning a woman looking pensive
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Music is a major form of self-expression. But sometimes, the true meaning of a song can be hidden behind the fun and catchy lyrics to the point where most listeners don’t even know what the song is really about.

Ready to discover 17 songs with deep meaning that you probably didn’t understand during the first listen? We’ve got them all in this article, so read on!

1. “Closing Time” by Semisonic

You’ve definitely heard this song in a bar at the end of the night and probably had no idea it actually is one of a few songs with deep meaning. The lead singer of Semisonic actually wrote this because he was about to become a father, and the lyrics “closing time” were actually about his feelings regarding a period of his life coming to an end.

2. “I Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd

Listeners of this song thought that The Weeknd was singing about his love for a woman. But the song is actually about drug abuse, specifically cocaine. The lyrics “I can’t feel my face when I’m with you” don’t correspond to happiness, but a literal sensation when an individual has snorted too much cocaine.  

3. “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga

“Poker Face” by Lady Gaga is known for being an absolute party anthem, but it is truly one of the best songs with deep meaning. Lady Gaga is bisexual, and she wrote this song about how she felt when she was dating a man but was really in love with a woman but couldn’t express her feelings.

4. “Blackbird” by The Beatles

Songs with hidden meaning and the Beatles go hand in hand. “Blackbird” is our favorite of these tunes, as it is truly about the civil rights movement that was happening in America in the 1960s—not a bird with a broken wing, as one would think.

Related: Best Early Beatles Songs

5. “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People

This is an extremely popular song that almost everyone recognizes, but many don’t realize that this song is sadly about killing kids. The artist originally meant to write the song about the victims of a school shooting but found himself in the killer’s mind rather than the victim’s.

6. “Chandelier” by Sia

“Chandelier” by Sia might sound like a party song, but it is actually a song about alcoholism and substance abuse. Sia also mentioned in an interview that the song expresses her emotions over the death of one of her boyfriends—but somehow, that context has been completely lost, thanks to how catchy the song is.

7. “Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper

The famous tune “Shallow,” sung by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in the movie A Star is Born, might sound like a love tune, but actually, it is about communication and how critical it is in a relationship.

8. “Tears of Gold” by Faouzia

Faouzia wrote this hit when she was just 19 years old, which is crazy when you realize it’s a song about people pleasers and the individuals who take advantage of them for their own gain. In the song, the lyrics “so I’m broke and your heart’s rich because of me” show how such a relationship can leave one individual feeling heartbroken and the other feeling on top of the world.

9. “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen

“Born in the USA” is often hailed as a patriotic anthem, which is why Donald Trump tried to use it at his rallies until Bruce Springsteen demanded he stop. It makes sense, though, when you realize that Springsteen wrote this song from a place of disgust, based on how the United States treated its veterans following the Vietnam War.

Related: 15 Facts About Bruce Springsteen

10. “Digital World” by Amaranthe

Written in 2014, this song is ahead of its time and is one of the songs with deep meaning that we can’t believe people don’t realize. The lyrics “freedom is for sale if you give them control” talk about the growing popularity of cookies and other data mining tactics, which were on the rise in the 2010s.

The song goes on to discuss the increasing stress and social problems that come with widespread social media, with a call to action asking listeners to stop allowing the digital world to control them. As you can see, most listeners didn’t heed the warning.

11. “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins

Some fans don’t like “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins as they think it is about a man drowning and no one trying to save him. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Collins confesses that he wrote this song about his divorce and the bitter feelings he experienced as a result.

12. “Wolves” by Selena Gomez

Even pop star Selena Gomez has written songs with deep meaning. “Wolves” isn’t about love, but rather the star’s battle with her chronic illness, Lupus.

Related: 25 Singers Who Struggle with Illness

13. “Lucy” by Skillet

Skillet is a somewhat religious rock band, so it’s no surprise that some of their songs have deep meaning. The most popular one is “Lucy,” which is about the pain of loss following an abortion when the lead singer was a teenager.  

14. “Let It Be” by The Beatles

One of the most famous Beatles songs of all time, “Let It Be” is an anthem Paul McCartney wrote after his mother, who died of cancer when he was 14, appeared to him in a dream. If that isn’t one of the craziest songs with deep meaning, we aren’t sure what is.

15. “In the End” by Linkin Park

“In the End” is a song that many assume has a deep meaning, but they don’t realize what it is. In one interview, Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington confessed that the song was more of an existential crisis and that they wrote it when they didn’t know where they were going in life. If you think about it, this was a red flag of the mental health issues the lead singer was probably experiencing, which would eventually lead to his death.

16. “Everything I Wanted” by Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish once had a dream that she committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, and no one cared or noticed. This song is based on that dream, and the pressure Eilish feels in the music industry, which is truly heartbreaking, especially considering the artist was 17 when she wrote it.

17. “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day

Last on our list of songs with deep meaning is “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day. While this song might seem like a bittersweet goodbye anthem, Billie Joel Armstrong revealed that it was a tune he wrote in anger when his girlfriend decided to move to Ecuador.

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Written by Hope Davis

Long-time music lover Hope became a full-time writer in 2020 after being laid off from her regular job due to COVID-19. She now spends her time traveling the world to see her favorite bands while writing about them!


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