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Song Stories

“Mr. Peterson”

Perfume Genius | 2010

Learning, the debut album by Mike Hadreas, a.k.a. Perfume Genius, was filled with personal dirges, including an eponymous song about smoking weed with a high school educator named Mr. Peterson, who later committed suicide. "It is about a teacher I had in freshman year," Hadreas said. "I hadn't thought about what went down for a while. I hadn't thought about a f---ing actual thing in a while. But I got flooded, that song came out." Despite extracting from his real-life experiences, Hadreas said, "to word-by-word take everything literally, I'd suppose would be a mistake."

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Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

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