These songs aren’t about a breakup, a love connection or a cute date in the literal sense. In fact, many of your favorite rock, scene and mainstream artists share a love for metaphors in their tracks, whether they’re talking about personal struggles or systemic issues.
These songs below cover everything from addiction to even scooter accidents during a competition. See if you know the backstories behind these tracks and realize what the artist really intended to say.
Machine Gun Kelly – “5:3666” (feat. phem)
In his 2019 track “5:3666,” Machine Gun Kelly teamed up with phem to write the ultimate sad song about missing “her.” In this case, every reference to a lady is actually about cocaine. MGK is open about his struggles with addiction and doesn’t shy away from sharing how he sometimes thinks about it but ultimately knows his family, friends and fans need him more.
Green Day – “American Idiot”
We all know that Green Day have chanted “No Trump! No KKK! No Fascist USA!” in the past. So, it’s a little silly to see Trump supporters use this song to describe their opponents across the political aisle. Does someone want to tell them? It’s getting a little embarrassing, and Billie Joe Armstrong wants nothing to do with the former president.
All Time Low – “Dancing With A Wolf”
This song isn’t purely about a toxic romantic relationship. In “Dancing With A Wolf,” All Time Low are also sharing their negative feelings about partnerships in and out of the music industry. It’s a “big middle finger to anyone that’s fucked us over in the past,” Alex Gaskarth said in an interview. “There’s parts about our relationships. We’ve always tried to keep it positive and we’ve seen it pay off.”
Melanie Martinez – “Dollhouse”
Melanie Martinez used her album Cry Baby to illustrate the story of her character of the same name. This track not only discusses Cry Baby’s chaotic home life with an alcoholic mother, but Martinez shared how the deeper meaning behind “Dollhouse” is that “everyone has their problems, and you’re never going to truly see them… Everyone has shit they go through.”
YUNGBLUD – “parents”
Contrary to what you think, YUNGBLUD isn’t telling you to go flip off your parents. Instead, he wants you to tell anyone who has ever made you feel small to “fuck off.” In a Genius interview, he established that you know yourself best, and being authentic is more important than abiding by society’s standards. He just chose “parents” to represent things that make you feel lesser than and societal expectations as a whole.
The 1975 – “I Couldn’t Be More In Love”
If you’re merely a casual listener of the 1975, their ’80s-influenced ballad “I Couldn’t Be More In Love” may strike you as the perfect song for the first dance at a wedding. Unfortunately, the story veers on the tragic side. It’s actually about “what happens when people stop caring” and “trusting your instinct as an artist,” frontman Matty Healy explained in an interview. All in all, this is Healy letting his fanbase know that he’s afraid of losing them and doesn’t want to hurt them.
Oliver Tree – “Hurt”
You may think Oliver Tree was hurt in a relationship, but you would be sorely mistaken. In fact, this singer shared in a Genius interview that he was hurt in a scooter competition when he was 18. His pain stemmed from hitting a pebble on the course and losing his balance. He not only got a few injuries, including two broken wrists, but his pride was a little damaged, too.
Fall Out Boy – “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs”
If you thought that this famous Fall Out Boy hit was about a breakup, think again because Pete Wentz redefined it for us. While he may have left fans with more questions than answers, he shared how “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs” encompasses many meanings. The chorus, he described, is about “FOMO.” Feel free to analyze this one as much as you’d like.
Tyler, The Creator – “NEW MAGIC WAND”
In Foster The People fashion, Tyler, The Creator wrote a metaphorical track about gun violence and toxic relationships called “NEW MAGIC WAND.” His iconically metal performance of the song at the Grammys wasn’t intended for Harry Potter fans. Many music bloggers and writers theorized that he was referring to Photoshop and other objects in the song’s title. However, he disclosed on Twitter that the wand is a gun.
Ashnikko – “Daisy”
This may be the sexy TikTok song you know, love and maybe featured in one of your own videos. However, Ashnikko had much darker intentions. In a Genius interview, she described how she creates a character who feeds into the writing of her songs. In this case, “Daisy” isn’t describing the cute flower entirely. The song chronicles the whole story behind a character of the same name who seduces men and enacts a little revenge. “Daisy is this bad bitch who wears exclusively latex, blue diamonds and these glass platforms with an aquarium in the heel,” she says. “She’s sick, and she throat punches rapists and horrible, horrible people.”