Misheard Lyrics

How many of you have heard a song once that really spoke to you? Something in the singer’s voice made you identify with them. The melody touched a chord within you and brought up strong emotions. The lyrics were spot on, you couldn’t have said it better yourself…

…and then you discovered that the singer was saying something completely different. Like, you were way off! You thought the band was singing about how fragile and vulnerable we are in this cold universe, but turns out they were examining the virtues of undiluted cocaine. You thought it was “you’re the only one for me”, but it actually was “stabbing people is my favourite pastime”. We’ve all been there, right?

OK, so nobody is ever that wrong, but I’m sure mishearing lyrics is a pretty common occurrence. This is especially true for foreign lyrics. To this day I remember once trying (in vain) to convince my friends in Ukraine that the chorus of Ace of Base’s “All That She Wants” was in fact “all that she wants” and not “oh mush you boss”! It didn’t matter that “oh mush you boss” made as much sense as edible diapers. My friends were still convinced that I was the idiot.


Now that Internet is around we have far fewer excuses to ever get the lyrics of a song wrong. The right answer is always a few clicks away. However, the Internet also gave us all a chance to make fun of this phenomenon. Recently a Cracked article pointed me to this objectively terrible video made by a woman to commemorate her wrong interpretation of Rolling Stone’s “Beast Of Burden” (warning, watch at own risk)

The video’s quite impressive in its ability to make just about everything go horribly wrong – from off-key singing to nightmarish computer animations of what appears to be a she-demon.

Other people have turned the idea around and created videos of intentionally misheard lyrics. Here’s one deliberately bizarre interpretation of “O, Fortuna” sent to me by a friend a few days ago:

How about you? Do you have any stories of misheard lyrics from your childhood? Or from, maybe, yesterday?