It's always nice to see bands taking risks and changing up their styles from time to time, but sometimes, bands that we like for their fun / goofy / ridiculous / upbeat music will release a song that's so randomly, unexpectedly dark, that it's a little confusing? Here's a tribute to this weird, wonderful phenomenon:
1. The Offspring - "The Kids Aren't Alright"
Jay committed suicide
Brandon OD'd and died
What the hell is going on
The cruelest dream, reality
One year after the song "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" and two years after the album Ixnay on the Hombre (complete with dormroom-caliber pot poster album art), the wacky alterna-pop yellers The Offspring suddenly released "The Kids Aren't Alright," a song that's more or less about how all different kinds of kids are totally doomed, including not one but TWO deaths in the same verse.
Needless to say, it's maybe a little heavy coming from the band that rose to fame with the chorus "Ohhhhwaaayooooo yeaaahhh yeahhh, ohhhhhhh yeahhhh, YEAHHH-ahh!"
Consider your thesis statement REBUTTED, The Who! Yes, by the band that famously yelled "My frieeeend has a girlfriend man he hates that bitch!"
2. TLC - "Waterfalls"
Little precious has a natural obsession
For temptation but he just can't see
She gives him loving that his body can't handle
But all he can say is "Baby, it's good to me."
One day he goes and takes a glimpse in the mirror
But he doesn't recognize his own face
His health is fading and he doesn't know why
Three letters took him to his final resting place
A couple years after "Hat 2 da Back" and one of the 90s-est images ever made, and a couple years before "No Scrubs" and "Silly Ho", TLC released their iconic signature song "Waterfalls", which shot to #1 on the charts in 1995 faster than anyone could stop and realize it was a song about AIDS, drugs, and kids getting shot, ALL IN ONE! Like an appetizer sampler platter of sad shit!
It's still a legitimately great song, but it's extremely weird to rewatch the girls dancing as CGI'd invisible "Hollow Man" specters in front of a waterfall while singing about a guy dying from HIV. Though it actually aged better than the movie Philadelphia.
ALSO: There's one shot in the music video of the guy holding a condom and his woman pushing it away, implying that she was trying to give him HIV, or something? What the hell, song? Are you the R&B remix of the movie Kids?
3. Hanson - "Yearbook"
Where did Johnny go?
It says, "Picture unavailable" right here
More than sad, it makes me mad to know somebody knows
There's a lying in your silence. Tell me where did Johnny go?
Poor Katie, she won't even speak his name
None of us will ever be the same
It's quiet in the halls, but I hear echoing off the walls.
The rumors of Johnny's mystery
There's certainly no rule against the middle school children who wrote "MMMBop" (and later spun it into the hit microbrew "MMMHops") attempting some more serious subject matter, but no more than 4 tracks away from the aforementioned happy nonsense tune on the same album was "Yearbook", a song about a classmate mysteriously disappearing and his empty yearbook photo causing everyone anguish.
This is dark for two reasons:
1) They never explain where Johnny did go. Is he dead? Kidnapped? Switched schools and causing all sorts of unnecessary pain to his inquisitive classmates?
2) They couldn't just find another picture of the friggin' dead kid to throw in the yearbook? Why have his name there at all, then? It's ONLY there to be sad and chilling. Might as well just put a skull logo with a big question mark on it instead.
4. Blink-182 - "Adam's Song"
I never thought I'd die alone
Another six months I'll be unknown
Give all my things to all my friends
You'll never step foot in my room again
You'll close it off, board it up
Remember the time that I spilled the cup
Of apple juice in the hall
Please tell mom this is not her fault
Blink is a pretty hard band to dislike, and I certainly commend any fun pop-punk band for taking a stab at more substantial subject matter, but there's something weirdly unsettling about a touching teenage suicide warning smack in the middle of an album called Enema of the State, with a picture of a sexy nurse strapping on a glove to perform an enema (presumably on the state. A sexy enema? Regular enema? This is unclear.)
It's still nowhere NEAR as dark as the extremely harrowing "Family Reunion".
5. Britney Spears - "Everytime"
I may have made it rain
Please forgive me
My weakness caused you pain
And this song is my sorry
This 2003 Britney song is pretty standardly-sad lyrically, but the music video features Britney -- deep into a failing relationship and constantly hounded by the press -- eventually drowning herself to death while her guilty spouse cries over her body. Then a baby gets born in the hospital, so it's like, cyclical or some shit. (That's a total ripoff of Live - "Lightning Crashes"! I KEEP SAYING Live is the most influential band of all time, man...)
But then also Britney wakes up in the bath at the end of the video, so maybe she doesn't die? But also maybe the baby wasn't born, then? Was it a dream? Was the baby part of the dream? Is the Earth now +1 human or even?