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Song Stories

“We R Who We R”

Ke$ha | 2010

Though the first single off her second EP is a synth-fueled party starter, Ke$ha revealed that the song is a response to a slew of news-making teen suicides (like that of Tyler Clementi, a gay college freshman whose roommate humiliated him by spying on him in his dorm room with a webcam). "I was really affected by the suicides … having been subject to public hatred [myself]," the pop singer told Rolling Stone. "Things do get better and you need to celebrate who you are." She calls this track an "anthem for weirdos," giving it the chorus-cum-rallying-cry: "Tonight we're going hard/Just like the world is ours/We're tearin' it apart/You know we're superstars/We are who we are."

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

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