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Song Stories

“Push It”

Salt-N-Pepa | 1987

Originating as a B side to their cover of the Stax classic “Tramp,” Cheryl “Salt” James, Sandi “Pepa” Denton and Dee Dee “DJ Spinderella” Roper came up with the goods on this career-making, Grammy-nominated platinum single about working it on the dancefloor. “Push It” has been sampled and spliced to death since it debuted in 1987, yet the original track is as fresh and fly as when SNP — among the few original women of hip-hop — debuted it. “Most men will never believe ‘Push It’ was never about sex,” said James. “And that’s why the record went to Number One,” said Denton. “Everybody thought it was about sex.”

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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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