Song Analysis

Some songs have hidden meanings that don’t really go with the tune or style of the song. Listeners or fans have to look at the lyrics, or listen extremely closely to find the meaning. Sometimes, these hidden messages are a little dark and depressing, or they can be political, or even ask for help in little beeps in the background in morse code, telling a soldier help is on the way. Some songs even have hidden meanings or messages to their loved ones. If you really want to appreciate most music, you really have to understand their inspiration and message to their listeners. Musicians always have an inspiration to their songs and/or albums. The songs “99 Red Balloons,” “Copacabana,” and “Pumped Up Kicks” each have dark hidden meanings that aren’t apparent by their tune. 

“99 Red Balloons” tells a story of 99 red balloons floating in the sky, triggering an apocalyptic  overreaction by military forces. The song is also a Cold War-era protest by the German singer Nena. Another fact about this song is that it was originally in German. The music was composed by Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen, the keyboardist of Nena’s band, while Karges wrote the original  German lyrics. Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen does a great job of masking Karges’ lyrics with a peppy yet soft melody.

“Copacabana” is about a showgirl named Lola who worked at a lively bar. One day, a shooter named Rico shot up the bar, and killed her love named Tony. 30 years later, she was sitting at the same bar that was now a disco. She didn’t dance because it wasn’t her music. Instead, she sat at the bar with faded red feathers in her hair, still wearing her showgirl outfit. She was drinking to numb the pain of losing her lover 30 years ago. The message supports how bad addiction is and instead of numbing the pain with alcohol and other substances, you should get help. “Copacabana” is a song you would hear in the clubs because it’s dancy and upbeat, but the song is about a shooting at a club.

“Pumped Up Kicks” was an extremely popular pop song in the 2010s. It took a couple of years to realize that it was about a young man that had homicidal thoughts, as he was planning to shoot the school. The first verse says, “Robert’s got a quick hand, he’ll look around the room, he won’t tell you his plan. He’s got a rolled up cigarette, he’s a cowboy kid. Yeah a six shooter.’’ And in the chorus, if you read the lyrics, you can see he comes from a poor and broken home. It’s actually kind of a dangerous song, because it puts this idea in people’s minds, and can trigger traumatizing memories to victims of school shootings. The chorus is so peppy and easy to get stuck in your head. Everyone was dancing to this song when it came out. The song itself is teaching us a lesson about paying attention and being careful, because some of these things might happen to you. This suggests that fun, upbeat songs can have dark messages. 

Most songs lyrics go undetected. When you want to learn a song by heart and you look at it closely, it’s no longer a love song but a song about a stalker who, after stalking a girl for months, murders her. It’s no longer a dance song, but it’s actually about a school shooting. It’s no longer a roller skating rink song, but a protest song. Everyone listens to music, but no one looks deeper than the surface.

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