Does that song really mean what you think it does? | Features

At this very moment, there’s a couple out there realizing that “their” song, the 2005 hit ballad “You’re Beautiful,” has nothing to do with a loving, body-positive relationship and everything to do with a stalker who’s stoned out of his mind.

Easy topics to confuse, we know.

But UK artist James Blunt has set the record straight.

“‘You’re Beautiful’ is not this soft romantic (expletive) song,” Blunt told The Huffington Post in March. “It’s about a guy who’s high as a (expletive) kite on drugs in the subway stalking someone else’s girlfriend when that guy is there in front of him, and he should be locked up or put in prison for being some kind of perv.”

People who say, “Ah, he’s so romantic. I want ‘You’re Beautiful’ as my wedding song’ … These people are (expletive) up,” Blunt continued.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to judge Blunt’s fans. Some of the most famous songs in American pop culture, including ones that appear in CNN’s new series “Soundtracks: Songs that Defined History,” are often misunderstood. Here are 10 of them:

“Born in the USA”

Bruce Springsteen

People usually think this song is about: Being uber patriotic.

But it’s really about: Casting a critical and mournful eye on America and its involvement in war.

Listen to the opening chords of this Springsteen rock classic and you can’t help but have visions of patriotic fist-bumping on the Fourth of July.

Despite its driving drumbeat and seemingly pro-American title, the lyrics of this ’80s hit don’t blindly celebrate the country. Far from it, “Born in the U.S.A.” takes a harsh look at the U.S. as a “military-industrial-complex … and the way in which we treat those who have risked their lives in battle,” as The Daily Beast pointed out in 2014 while noting how often politicians often miss this message.


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From left are The Beatles: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. Lennon’s song “Imagine” after the Fab Four’s breakup has meaning many listeners miss. (Special photo)

“Imagine”

John Lennon

People usually think this is about: A gentle musing on peace and global unity.

But it’s really about: Radical, revolutionary ideas on how to achieve that peace.

“Imagine’s” melody may be sweet, but its message is not. Lennon, who released…

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