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Song Stories

“Alison”

Elvis Costello | 1977

On Elvis Costello’s country-tinged ballad, the lyric does not get too sentimental in recalling an ex who had since been with one of the singer's "little friends" and is now married. Some believe the song is about murder, due to lines like “Sometimes I wish that I could stop you from talking,” "Somebody better put out the big light" and, of course, "My aim is true,” which became the title of Costello's debut album. In 2002, Costello told Rolling Stone, “It isn’t [about murder]. It’s about disappointing somebody. It’s a thin line between love and hate, as the Persuaders sang.”

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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