6 Hit Songs You Won't Believe Are Insulting Celebrities

#3. Justin Timberlake Got Sassy With Prince on a Timbaland Song

Gustavo Caballero / Getty

Timbaland's 2007 hate anthem "Give It to Me" is just a mess of insults splattered all over the industry's faces, with digs rumored to be aimed at Fergie, Janet Jackson, and producer Scott Storch, who you almost certainly don't remember as that record producer who rose to fame in the middle part of the last decade despite his staunch refusal to stop wearing those obnoxious sunglasses.

Brad Barket/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
He must have big ol' bulbous mantis eyes under that.

By far the most interesting insult, however, is Justin Timberlake's shot at the only man hot enough to make paisley look sensual: Prince. To be fair, Prince totally started it. During his set at a 2006 Emmy Awards afterparty, he made the seemingly-out-of-nowhere statement, "For whoever is claiming that they are bringing sexy back, sexy never left!"

Timberlake is staunchly close-lipped about the subjects of his cattier songs, still refusing to admit that "Cry Me a River" was about Britney Spears, even though everyone's grandmother knows it is. Nevertheless, he almost certainly shot back in his verse on Timbaland's track, posing the elegant and certainly valid question, "If sexy never left, then why's everybody on my shit?" Why, indeed.

Gustavo Caballero / Getty
No, seriously. Someone please tell us why.

He makes another good point that Prince isn't exactly blistering up the charts these days. Not only is that true, but in a delicious case of karmic justice, Prince hasn't had a Hot 100 single since the year he made that apparently unprovoked attack. We'd be shocked if you can name it without Googling.

#2. Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" Is an Accurate Warning About the Dangers of Andy Warhol

Brad Elterman / Getty

A lot of Bob Dylan lyrics sound like pure gibberish if listened to at normal speed. When science is able to isolate those lyrics and slow them down enough to make each individual word audible, though, they often reveal themselves to still be pure gibberish.

Douglas R. Gilbert / Redferns / Getty
No, Bob Dylan, you're blowin' in the wind.

There are exceptions, of course. Take the super classic "Like a Rolling Stone," for example. Its lyrics about falling from grace, the people you meet on the way down, and "scrounging for your next meal" are soberingly relatable to anyone who's ever found themselves down on hard times. Unless you count slow record sales in the '80s, you can probably leave Bob Dylan out of that group. Similarly, for the people the song was written about, at least back then, times were anything but hard.

If for some reason descriptors like "Napoleon in rags" who "carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat" didn't make it perfectly clear, the object of Bob Dylan's folk rock rage is legendary artist and weirdo Andy Warhol.

Peter Zeliznak
Pictured here, as a statue.

Dylan had taken up with famous Warhol "it girl" Edie Sedgwick and took exception to the way she was being treated by the white-haired oddball and his various sycophants and used what would go on to be one of his most famous songs to call Warhol out. The narrative of an upper-class girl falling from high society into destitution was Dylan's warning to Sedgwick about what would become of her if she didn't get away from Warhol.

Tragically, Dylan's predictions came true for poor Sedgwick: Having pissed away her trust fund impressing her friends and getting herself a nice, shiny drug habit, she died broke and alone five years later. She'd been reduced to stealing and selling family heirlooms to buy drugs, perhaps having taken Dylan's lyrical advice to "take your diamond ring, you'd better pawn it, babe," a bit too far.

Hulton Archive / Getty
This all ties nicely into our theory that Andy Warhol is the father of lies.

#1. Endless Hate Songs Are Actually About Courtney Love

Ebet Roberts / Redferns / Getty

Courtney Love has pissed off more hitmakers over the years than Napster and STD screenings combined.

It started in 1995 with Dave Grohl, ex-drummer for Nirvana, when his new band Foo Fighters released "I'll Stick Around," venting bitterly, "How could it be I'm the only one who sees your rehearsed insanity?" Grohl apparently spent the next five years nursing his hatred, coming back with 2000's "Stacked Actors," calling her "a wonderful liar" and "just another aging drag queen," among many, many vicious insults.

Monica Schipper / FilmMagic / Getty
The worst being "You are Courtney Love."

While Grohl won't come right out and say who his shots are aimed at, he's just dying to imply it as much as possible, and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins has no problem speculating, "I'm sure there's a little bit of her in there. She needn't be too vain, it's not all about her." Just in case he hadn't made his feelings known, he makes sure to point out, "She's fucked. For millions of reasons ... Dave would never fully admit it to you, but I know."

The Courtney Love hate got passed around like, well, Courtney Love in the ensuing years, first to ex-lover Trent Reznor and then to old drug buddy Scott Weiland. Later in 2000, Reznor wrote "Starfuckers, Inc.," a song about exactly what it sounds like, with Love and former protege Marilyn Manson in mind. Manson, having just come off a nightmarish tour with Love that ended when she abruptly walked out on it, decided to get in on the fun, co-starring in the music video that features an obese woman with a bandage over her nose (obvious references to the plastic surgery and weight loss that accompanied Love's Hollywood makeover) dressed unmistakably similar to Love in Hole's "Miss World" video, suspended over a carnival dunk tank marked "Waste" ... in which she is eventually drowned.


Marilyn Manson, Emperor of Subtlety.

For his part, Weiland wrote a song for Stone Temple Pilots' 2001 album, Shangri-La Dee Da, called "Too Cool Queenie," about a woman who criticizes her rock star husband literally to death. He spells it out for us in his autobiography, just in case we thought it might be about that other famous lady rocker whose iconic husband committed suicide.

The final blow came from, of all people, Gwen Stefani, in 2004. Apparently she took offense to some comments Love had made about the music business being like a high school, calling Stefani "the cheerleader" to her smoking-shed rebel. Mad as hell that Love would dare to imply she was cute and popular, Stefani wrote "Hollaback Girl" in a mocking call-and-response style. Its challenges didn't exactly shatter her stereotype, though: "I heard that you were talking shit, and you didn't think that I would hear it ... So I'm ready to attack, gonna lead the pack, gonna get a touchdown, gonna take you out."

John Shearer / WireImage / Getty
Gonna wear a bonnet that makes me look like a scary-ass governess from 1887.

Nice try, but we're pretty sure she's heard worse, Gwen.


You can read more from Amanda at Mannafesto or follow her on Twitter. She would like to thank Kathy Benjamin for the Justin Timberlake suggestion.

Related Reading: Speaking of hidden meanings, these songs all have lost verses that completely change their interpretation. You probably didn't know 'Honky Tonk Woman' included references to a bisexual orgy. And you ALSO probably didn't know that Axl Rose recorded himself having sex for the song 'Rocket Queen'. If you found all that shocking, this article about famous songs written by the last person you'd expect should hit the spot.

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