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McSweeney's Explains the Real Meaning of Pop Songs

November 12, 2008 4:58 PM ET

From venerable literary mag McSweeney's comes your daily chuckle: "Fifty Years of Popular Songs Condensed Into Single Sentences." As you can probably guess by the title of the Marc Haynes-penned piece, the list cuts to the heart of rock and hip-hop lyrics. A few of our favorite examples: The Beatles, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" = I want to do it with you. Marvin Gaye, "Let's Get It On" = I want to do it with you. Radiohead, "Creep" = I'm filled with self-loathing, and, though outwardly I hate everything you represent, I want to do it with you.

Check out the rest of the hilarity here.

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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