5 Upbeat Songs You Didn't Realize Are Depressing (Part 2)

#2. Beck -- "Girl"


Most Deceptively Fun Lyric:

"Hey/My sun-eyed girl/Heyyyyy/My sun-eyed girl."

Why It Makes People Happy:

Beck is an enigmatic guy. He's a Scientologist, which is creepy and should make him pretty easy to make fun of. But he also makes some pretty great music and seems like he'd be just the most adorable person ever to hang out with, provided Xenu would allow it. So it's hard to muster up the same kind of joke power for him as it is for, say, John Travolta. Maybe Beck will ask a male masseuse for a handy at some point and that will all change, but for now, he's frustratingly enjoyable to have around.

He's also pretty mysterious when it comes to his music. Take the song "Girl," for example. Forget trying to figure out what the lyrics are about; most people can't even settle on what the song is called. One popular choice is "Summer Girl," likely because it sounds like he's saying "summer girl" during the chorus. But he's not. On the record, it sounds more like "sun-eyed girl," but people who've heard the song performed live swear he's saying "cyanide girl." It doesn't help matters much that Beck censors the lyrics in the liner notes of the album that "Girl" is featured on. They simply read "my ________ girl." Here, see if you can figure it out:

Whatever the case, one thing we can all agree on is that, as far as Beck songs go, this one is ridiculously upbeat. It's the kind of song you listen to when the sun is out, the wind is in your hair and you're relaxing with a drink in your hand, preferably paying little to no attention to the fact that Beck is clearly singing about killing a little girl.

Why It's Secretly Depressing:

Don't let the electronic bleepity-bloops from the intro and the irresistibly catchy chorus fool you, "Girl" is an absurdly dark song. It's hard to pinpoint the most disturbing line because it's just all kinds of harrowing. Here's an especially troubling bit:

"With her hands tied back/Her rags are burnin'/
Calling out from a landfilled life/Scrawling her name up on the ceiling/
Throw a coin in the fountain of dust/White noise, her ears are ringing/
Got a ticket for my midnight hanging."

I'm just going to level with you here. I'm not 100 percent sure what all those words mean. But someone has their hands tied behind their back, and there's a landfill, and since when has anyone ever "scrawled" their name while something good was happening? Oh, and sounds like someone's going to be hanged. So that, too. And he's probably talking about a kid, judging from this line:

"A fist pounding on a vending machine/Toy diamond ring stuck on her finger."

Sounds like Beck was in an odd mood the day this tune was penned. Probably nothing that an old-fashioned thetan cleanse wasn't able to nip in the bud.

#1. Hanson -- "MMMBop"


Most Deceptively Fun Lyric:

"Mmmbop, ba duba dop/Ba du bop, ba duba dop/Ba du bop, ba duba dop/Ba du, yeah."

Why It Makes People Happy:

This song is about absolutely nothing, right? It must be, 80 percent of the lyrics aren't even actual words. What kind of meaning can we be expected to glean from that? And you know, that's exactly the kind of intellectual investment you want in a feel-good song like this:

Besides, everyone in the band was like 8 years old when this song was written (except for the "older" one, who has always been the exact same age he is right now, 31). What could they possibly have to teach us about anything?

Why It's Secretly Depressing:

Kids can be a bummer sometimes, and not just because having them means you'll never have any fun ever again. Apparently, Hanson had some pretty grown-up thoughts about life way back when they were just getting teased for looking like girls instead of tapping tons of groupies for looking like girls.

Once you sift through all of the nonsensical parts, "MMMBop" is a fairly sobering look at the fragile nature of relationships and the importance of keeping the people you love close to you, because they'll be gone before you know it.

"You have so many relationships in this life/Only one or two will last/
You go through all the pain and strife/Then you turn your back and they're gone so fast."

There are also a bunch of lines about how we'll all get old and lose our hair:

"In the end they'll be the only ones there/And when you get old and start losing your hair/
Tell me who will still care."

Hey, you know what? Fuck you, kids. You think you're so damn special with your luxurious 1970s-era Farrah Fawcett hair. Talk to me when you hit your late 20s and things start getting a bit thinner up top for you, too.


Fine, I guess they've held up nicely. So, whatever. This song is about your friends stabbing you in the back and your pets and parents dying. And Hanson thinks your thinning hairline makes you a total dipshit. Keep that in mind next time you reach for "MMMBop" to put a little pep in your step on some gloomy morning. It's a far more perfect choice than you've likely ever realized.

Adam hosts a podcast called Unpopular Opinion that you should check out right here. You should also be his friend on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.

For more from ATB, check out 6 Awful Hip Hop Slang Terms (That Are Way Older Than Rap) and The 12 Most God Awful Tribute Albums Ever Recorded.

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