The video for "Don't Worry, Be Happy", Bobby McFerrin's anti-depression song stars Bill Irwin and... Robin Williams. Robin's forced smile in some of the scenes has a painful edge to them now. Williams' relationship with McFerrin makes it a little less painful.
"Rehab" from Back to Black by Amy Winehouse (and all the jokes about Winehouse being a drugged-up mess) has officially become more disturbing since she passed away after a short lifetime of drugs and alcohol abuse.
Warren Zevon has a couple of these; most noticeably "My Shit's Fucked Up", and "Life'll Kill Ya." The former is about a patient finding out he's terminally ill (in a decidedly un-clinical way), and the latter includes the lyrics "Some get the awful, awful diseases." Warren died in 2003 of mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer.
The last song on the final Elliott Smith album released in his lifetime is titled "Bye." His first posthumously released album features "King's Crossing", which is basically a musical suicide note. Depressing when he used to perform it live, now it's just chilling.
The song "Baby Britain" includes the line "Nothing's gonna drag me down to a death that's not worth cheating" just before the last chorus.
Also the line "I don't feel afraid to die" from "In The Lost And Found".
The first song off his Ready to Die album is "Juicy" and it has the unfortunate line, "Time to get paid, blow up like the World Trade". Although the song was released in 1994note and even back then, it's hard to listen to following the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, it took on a whole new meaning in a post-9/11 world due to its Unfortunate Implications. "Juicy" is a victim of retroactive censorship because radio disk jockeys remove the now offensive line when they play the song on the radio.
The video for the Johnny Cash cover of "Hurt" has a quick cut to his wife June Carter Cash as he sings "Everyone I know/Goes away in the end". Her death a few months later made the video even more depressing.
In 1997, Michael Jackson released the song "Morphine" on the album Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix. The song was a chilling description of drug abuse, with lines like "A heart attack, baby" and "Trust in me / Just in me / Put all your trust in me", the latter line referring to dependence on the titular drug. The bridge is even worse: the angry singing turns into a soft, melancholy melody describing a person's slide into addiction, specifically to the painkiller Demerol, while the sounds of a respirator, an ECG machine, and presumably a doctor talking are heard in the background. Between 2003 and 2005, Jackson allegedly became dependent on Demerol. Then, on June 25, 2009, Jackson died of cardiac arrest, eventually deemed to have been a homicide caused by a lethal combination of drugs, primarily the anesthetic propofol, administered by his personal doctor (who was convicted of manslaughter in 2011 and sentenced to four years in prison).
On top of the obvious points listed above, there is also a chilling pattern present on the album as a whole. The album, primarily a remix album, included five original songs, "Morphine" being the second. The first song, "Blood on the Dance Floor", sang about an attempted murder (albeit with a knife), while the final two original songs ("Ghosts" and "Is It Scary") both dealt with ghostly imagery straight out of a horror movie. Combining "Morphine" with a song about homicide and two songs about ghosts is even more chillingly prophetic than the song alone.
"Breaking News", one of the unfinished-in-his-lifetime songs on the posthumously-assembled Michael, starts with fake news reports on Jackson, including the line "The plot begins to destroy Michael Jackson," in keeping with the overall "scumbag media" theme of the song. This line takes on a more sinister interpretation when one realizes that "Breaking News" was an extremely controversial song, as it was widely believed - with strong evidence behind it - to be another singer imitating Jackson's voice on a song he recorded no vocals for in his lifetime.
HIStory's "They Don't Care About Us" includes the line "I'm a victim of police brutality." In 2003, after being arrested and booked on child molestation charges, Jackson claimed he had been injured and mistreated by the police.
As a kid, he sang a version of "I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" together with his brothers. Knowing now how abusive father Joe Jackson was, Michael's declaration of "...and I'm gonna tell my Daddy!" becomes more uncomfortable than cute, especially when his brothers jump in to try and talk him out of it.
Kurt Cobain's suicide makes some Nirvana material uncomfortable.
"Come as You Are" from Nevermind has the chorus, "And I swear that I don't have a gun/No I don't have a gun/No I don't have a gun." (Cobain killed himself by shooting himself in the head.)
One of their last singles is called "I Hate Myself And I Want To Die," though the lyrics have nothing to do with it. This song was reportedly named after the phrase Cobain liked to use whenever people asked him "How are you?", because he hated that question.
"Lithium"'s bridge has Kurt singing "I X it/you", followed by "I'm not gonna crack." He did.
When Kurt Cobain was 15, he made a short film entitled, "Kurt Commits Bloody Suicide".
One photo of the band has Kurt holding a shotgun in his mouth.
After River Phoenix's sudden death in October 1993, Kurt Cobain dedicated performances of "Jesus Don't Want Me For a Sunbeam" to Phoenix (among other stars who died young), during Nirvana's last shows from November 1993 through February 1994, only months before Cobain himself died.
An interview with Cobain turned to the subject of school shootings, and Cobain said that if he ever felt inclined to do such a thing, he'd most likely kill himself to prevent him from hurting anyone. While It Makes Sense in Context and probably even came off as reassuring at the time, it's still a pretty chilling sentence to read.
The first line of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is "Load up on guns..."; eerie after Cobain's suicide, horrifying after school shootings like Columbine and Sandy Hook.
Much of Marilyn Manson's work suffers from this due to various reasons. The first three albums were hit with this once the (possibly first, as Manson has said he's working on a second) autobiography "The Long, Hard Road Out of Hell" came out and context was added to them. Then, Columbine happened a year later, leading to quote mining, misblaming and outright bullshit. Later, in 2003, all of the adorable images of Manson and Twiggy were tainted by their falling out caused by Manson being a control freak. Similarly, all the images of Manson and Dita were then tainted by their divorce and all the happenings on both sides, with him cheating and her serving divorce papers on his birthday. A similar thing also happened with Evan Rachel-Wood and the album Eat Me, Drink Me heavily centered around their co-dependant, destructive romance. Then, while Twiggy rejoined the band in 2009, the man he replaced in 1993 due to a Christmas Day heroin overdose, Gidget Gein, died of another overdose. Gidget had a cameo in the video for "(s)AINT", which featured a ton of self-abuse and drug use, and that was his last interaction with the band All of the odd antics and behavior of his mother, talked about in his book, along with their somewhat turbulent interactions, also are tainted by her dying of dementia. Suddenly it's not so funny when she does weird stuff like naming the rats that are supposed to be fed to his snake "Marilyn" and "Manson" and successfully giving one CPR using a plastic bag. Additionally, Daisy Berkowitz, the co-founder of the band, was Manson and Trent Reznor's punching bag for several years until he was ousted from the band. He died of Stage Four Colon Cancer in 2017.
Also, in the last year or so, Manson's become far more open about his own mental issues, with an interview describing quite a few personality quirks, paranoias (he doesn't take his pants all the way off during sex in case there's a fire, for example) and stuff, as well as his ongoing self-harm generally focused on his hands. As a child, and even in 1998, he believed that he was lucky, as despite being an Agent Orange baby (his father dropped it on Vietnam, something that has led to Manson describing his father, non-humorously, as a mass murderer, although they're extremely close, so it's likely that Hugh Warner has his own demons involving it), he had no physical deformities. In hindsight, it's pretty obvious that there was still something that happened there.
Tony Wiggins, bus driver for Pantera and someone Manson considers the most terrifying person he's ever known, to the point of actually traumatizing him, dropped out of the public eye after being more public as the crazy guy tagging along with Manson and Twiggy. Over 20 years later, he re-emerged. He's opened a family-owned liquor store in his hometown, the very first, getting news coverage. The Harsher in Hindsight kicks in when you realize that a man notorious for homemade BDSM devices that almost killed people has settled down into a normal life and has kids. Retired Monster, in real life.
The Concept Album and mostly unreleased book Holy Wood (In The Shadow Of The Valley of Death) is about a future dystopia parody of America where the populace worships violence and celebrity, is numb to mass murders like school shootings (but the media is more than happy to profit off of it) and is ruled over by an idiot celebrity despot who, in the one chapter of the book released, has creepy incestuous overtones with his daughter. All of those would come true for the real America.
A song from Elton John's Blue Moves album from 1976, "Idol", is a rumination on the rise and fall of a (possibly fictional) washed-up teen idol from The '50s, one whose "face has changed, he's not the same anymore". This song was inspired by Elton's meeting Elvis Presley for the first time, and being horrified at the distressed state Elvis was in. A year later, Elvis would be dead. This would serve as a wake-up call for Elton to slow down his own career, lest he wind up like Elvis. Unfortunately, Elton's drug and alcohol habits, promiscuity and bulimia were still taking over his life. After seeing himself in a video singing at Ryan White's funeral as sad, bloated, morbidly obese and "look(ing) like a 75-year-old man", he finally took himself to rehab in 1990 and saved his life.
Another song of Elton's, "All The Nasties", released on 1971's Madman Across The Water, is, according to lyricist Bernie Taupin, both a Take That! to Elton's critics, and a rumination on whether the general public would reject Elton over his homosexuality. Elton would come out — albeit as bisexual — at the height of his career. The backlash he would receive over his sexuality would severely damage his career until the release of 1983's Too Low For Zero album, and even then, he would not enjoy quite the level of success he had in the 1970s.
The final song on Elton's 1986 Leather Jackets album, recorded at the height of his drug, alcohol and bulimic issues, is a lugubrious ballad titled "I Fall Apart".
"Who Wants to Live Forever" is an incredibly morbid and sad song. In light of Mercury's later illness and early death, it's all the more chilling.
Several moments toward the end of Freddie Mercury's life become this due to the fact that he was dying of AIDS but chose to keep it secret from the public, preferring to carry on as normally as possible until the end.
A verse in the 1989 album The Miracle, called "Khashoggi's Ship", contains the lines "I'm in pretty good shape" and "No one stops my party".
The Miracle was so called as it was "a miracle" it was finished as Freddie was so ill.
"I'm Going Slightly Mad", from the 1991 album Innuendo, was described by Mercury as just a silly joke song he wrote in about 5 minutes. After he publicly acknowledged his illness, it became known that it was all his fears about dementia brought on by AIDS.
Freddie on Queen's declining popularity in the United States: "Guess I'll have to fucking die before we're big there again." Sadly, he was right.
Yoko Ono's "Walking on Thin Ice" is a song about the unpredictability of life and death, and the last song John Lennon worked on. He was shot to death the day he finished recording it, and died clutching the completed mix of the song in his hands.
In August 2009, critically acclaimed indie punk rocker Jay Reatard released his second solo album, Watch Me Fall. A little over five months later in January 2010, he died in his bed of cocaine toxicity, after a tumultuous year that culminated in the firing of his entire live band.
The song Fiction from Avenged Sevenfold's Nightmare album, released after drummer Jimmy 'The Rev' Sullivan's death, is painful enough - but when you discover that the song was originally entitled Death and was the last song Jimmy worked on, only 3 days before his death, with lyrics such as "I know you'll find your own way when I'm not with you", the whole song becomes absolutely heartwrenching.
In all fairness, most Avenged Sevenfold songs have became this trope since Jimmy's passing, mainly due to the band's dark subject matter.
Whitney Houston's sophomore album, Whitney, contained a song called "Love is a Contact Sport". While the lyrics were basic fluff, the title in particular is quite harsher considering the level of physical violence in her marriage to fellow singer Bobby Brown.
The title track of the album "My Love is Your Love" begins with the lyric "If tomorrow is judgment day I'm standing on the front line and the Lord asks me what I did with my life I will say I spent it with you.", the words now take on a harsher meaning seeing as Whitney Houston died at age 48 on February 11, 2012 of a drug overdose, even more harsher is that Whitney's then five-year-old daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown sang backup on the song and she died in similar circumstances to Whitney's two years later.
The first Jack's Mannequin album, Everything In Transit's references to being sick was due to Andrew McMahon's recovery from tour burnout. Those lyrics would then turn eerily ironic when he visits his doctor for a case of laryngitis only to discover he had leukemia. Even eerier? He was diagnosed with leukemia the day he was finished with mixing the album and the day he was admitted to the hospital for leukemia was the day the album was released.
The Dio track "End of the World" off of the "Master of the Moon" album contains the line "They say you never hear the bullet that kills, and I don't hear a sound...". After Ronnie James Dio died of cancer, it was revealed that the cancer wasn't caught until a very late stage, due to his stubborn reluctance to ever see a doctor (not even once he was having obvious symptoms, so certainly not for routine screenings). In contrast to the image the line originally evoked, it now calls to mind the idea that if he had been listening for the bullet, he might have heard it in time to dodge.
Italian rapper Caparezza set up a Viral Marketing fake blog to promote his latest album. The blog is written from the perspective of a Conspiracy Theorist, in reference to one of the songs that mock conspiracy nuts, and its second entry is about natural catastrophes. The album came out March 1, 2011, and on March 11 a massive earthquake hit Japan, triggering a colossal tsunami and a nuclear meltdown.
The music video for McFly's 19th single "That's the Truth" featured bassist Dougie reacting badly to a breakup. Shortly after the video's release, Dougie was admitted to rehab, the reason rumoured to be depression over breaking up with his girlfriend.
John Lennon's "Beautiful Boy" from "Double Fantasy" (1980), written for his son Sean, features the line "I can hardly wait until you come of age but I guess we'll both just have to be patient". He was murdered later, when his son was five (even his older son, Julian, was only a teenager).
All the other kids with the pumped-up kicks better run, better run, outrun my gun All the other kids with the pumped-up kicks better run, better run, faster than my bullet
And it is downright scary after the Oslo/Utoya attacks where 69 teenagers were murdered by a lone gunman.
According to Wikipedia, the bassist of the band has a cousin that survived the Columbine shooting.
Even worse: this song came out before the Sandy Hook shooting. Just try to listen to it now...
In 1994, Weezer released the song "Mykel and Carli", a cute, bittersweet tribute to two girls who ran the Weezer fan club. Actually, it's something of a tuckerization as the Mykel and Carli in the song are a pair of friends in high school, who the narrator still misses. The song, which was released as a B-side to "Undone (The Sweater Song)" from The Blue Album, takes a more poignant tone when you learn that, a few years after the song was released, both Mykel and Carli died in a tragic car accident on their way to a Weezer show. Perhaps the most "harsher in hindsight" lyric in this context is "Till the school bus came / and took my friends away". The song can be found on the Deluxe Edition of the Blue Album.
Wind of Change, a famous ballad celebrating perestroika, often seems like an example of this trope to many Russians, since the fall of the Union resulted in many tragic events in Russia (and most other post-Soviet countries too). The line about an "August summer night, soldiers passing by" is perhaps the most jarring, since the most dramatic events of the GKChP coup unfolded exactly at August summer nights just one year later after the song was recorded, and yes, it did involve soldiers.
The fact that Germans consider this song a symbol of one of the most joyous events in their history may seem like pure schadenfreude if you think about it.
Their 1984 hit "Rock You Like A Hurricane" becomes tasteless regarding the 2005 Hurricane Katrina and the recent Hurricane Irma disaster, which was one of the most intense hurricanes since Dean in 2007. This catastrophe has devastated the Caribbean islands and Florida, United States. Imagine listening to this song while said hurricane is happening, though...
The Argentine rock band Soda Stereo has a song called Cuando pase el temblor (After the trembling) that has the verses "Wake me up after the trembling". In 2010, Gustavo Cerati, former vocals and guitar of the band, suffered a cerebral stroke after a show in Venezuela, remaining in a coma under respiratory aide until his death in September 2014.
Additionally, "temblor" can also means "earthquake", which took a different meaning after the song was released in the immediate aftermath of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake that killed thousands. Due to this coincidence, the song was banned in several radio stations across Mexico after it's release.
MCA's entire first verse on "Too Many Rappers" from Hot Sauce Committee, Part 2 — the last album recorded before his cancer diagnosis — has become this, in light of his untimely death at 47:
"Yo, I been in the game since before you was born I might still be MCin' even after you're gone Strange thought, I know, but my skills still grow The 80's, the 90's, 2000's, and so On and on until the crack of dawn Until the year 3000 and beyond Stay up all night, and I MC and never die Cause death is the cousin of sleep"
Speaking of the year 3000, MCA's death puts a sad tint on his appearance on Futurama.
After Ted Gardestad jumped in front of a train, neither of his song lyrics "Can't stop the train from a-rollin' / or make the wheels turn slow / you know I had to go" and "I believe that life has a happy ending" were quite the same again.
"Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)" by Merle Travis and Tex Williams, while not exactly a celebration of a smoker's lifestyle, includes the lyrics "...And I don't reckon that it'll harm your health/Smoked all my life and I ain't dead yet", spoken by Williams. Well, now he is dead. Cause of death? Pancreatic cancer, one of the diseases linked to cigarette smoking.
The Funker Vogt song "Body Count", about a terrorist attack "much worse than Oklahoma" with bodies "burnt beyond recognition", was released just a year before the September 11th attacks. The song was omitted from their US tour that year.
The skit "Lodi Dodi Intro" on Snoop Doggy Dogg's debut album Doggystyle, which was released on September 7, 1993, features Daz Dillinger of Tha Dogg Pound referring to rappers who were dissing Snoop, Dr. Dre and Tha Dogg Pound as " Busta ass, HIV pussy-ass motherfuckers," with Dre ending with the words, "Yo yo yo Daz, easy come, easy *blam*" Just short of 1 1/2 years later, on March 26, 1995, Eazy-E, who had been involved in a long lyrical feud with his ex-N.W.A. bandmate Dre since the group's collapse in 1991, died of AIDS.
Two years after leaving The Temptations, Paul Williams recorded the song "Feel Like Givin' Up", Produced by friend and fellow Temptation Eddie Kendricks, in hopes of launching a solo career. Sadly, Williams was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound before the song's scheduled release. Motown subsequently shelved the recordings to avoid this trope.
The Red House Painters video for "All Mixed Up" had a good portion of it shot in the courtyard of the World Trade Center... with a panicked sad fairy running around. There's even a shot of her crying with the twin towers looming RIGHT in the background.
Also of note is the cover of ''Old Ramon''◊. This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't released just a few months before 9/11.
There's a damn hard to find picture of Jeff Buckley taken underwater looking like he's drowning.
"I couldn't awake from the nighmare, it sucked me in and pulled me under" from "So Real" on Grace.
Famous singer Sinéad O'Connor's controversial Saturday Night Live poem about world injustice and child rape, ended with her ripping a picture of Vatican Pope John Paul II. The corrupt stories about the Vatican were unknown to the large majority of people at the time. Years after she was vilified and temporary ran out of the music business, stories about child abuse and child rape by Roman Catholic priest - and the cover up afterwards - got exposed to the mainstream public.
Let's take a look at the lyrics from this song by the British band Tank:
A war is raging that we don't understand And I doubt that we can There's no mistaking the mad sons of Islam As they spill blood on the sand A strange religion, that destroys through the Koran Freedom's lost in this land Hades or heaven. they're under its command Whatever rights had a man We'll hear the bomb blasts 'round the world With two world wars passed they want to start the third As they argue 'bout the planes they shot down And count the dead they have found An unholy war that's raising hell to the ground The war drags ever on The war drags ever on The war drags ever on ever on An arm is severed with a gun still in its hand And it's just left to be damned Their main endeavor has not gone as it was planned Shoot the boys where they stand War is forever but as if we had the time To change their thoughts in their minds This war will never reflect on all their kind They should be glad just to die
Makes you think a lot of the war on terror, right? Well this song was written all the way back in 1984, but it is Justified in the sense that many people saw the war on terror coming.
Chad Gilbert and Hayley Williams' guest appearances on Say Anything...'s In Defense of the Genre is a little more awkward once you learn that Chad was rumored to have divorced his wife for Hayley. Said ex-wife is Sherri Dupree... who is now frontman Max Bemis's wife.
The chorus for Mindy McCready's "Oh Romeo" - "Oh Romeo/Who would lay down her life?/Swallow the poison, pick up the knife/Maybe I cried/Just a teardrop or two/I would not die for you/I would not die for you..." - is, like the whole song, a lot harder to take considering that in 2013, not long after her boyfriend died of suicide, she died of suicide as well.
The music video for Suicide Silence's song "You Only Live Once" features the band playing in a shooting gallery and taking bullets (most likely fake bullets for recording, but there was blood involved). It becomes harsh when you consider Mitch Lucker, the band's former lead singer, dying on November 1, 2012 in a motorcycle crash while drunk.
The opening percussion of The Beatles' "Come Together" from Abbey Road is punctuated by John's repeated 'SHOOT me!'. The same interjection appears in the unreleased Beatles track "Watching Rainbows," which also features the eerie line 'Whatever you do, you gotta shoot somebody today.' (Some fans claim the "Rainbows" shout to be 'Shoot big', but this clearly isn't the case.)
Likewise, John's "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" from The White Album - despite being an ode to both heroin and his sex life with Yoko - is frighteningly ironic today.
ABBA had a song I'm a Marionette, which is about a singer's Creator Breakdown. Just a few years later, ABBA collapsed due to collective Creator Breakdown.
Under Attack, the last song ABBA released as a single before they disbanded, is written from the perspective of a woman being menaced by a stalker. The lead vocal is sung by Agnetha Faltskog, who later had this happen to her in Real Life.
Edguy's first live album is entitled Burning Down The Opera. The Paris venue where the album was recorded later burned down. It was something like a decade or more after the record was released, but is nonetheless chilling.
Sonic Youth had a song called "Sleepin' Around", which was written and sung by Thurston Moore, and had lyrics chastising someone for cheating on their partner. Five years later, the Creator Couple of Moore and Kim Gordon separated, leaving the future of the band uncertain... And a couple of years after that, Gordon revealed in an interview that the separation was because of Moore having an affair. Given the timing, it's at least somewhat in the realm of possibility that the song was actually Reality Subtext.
An incredibly creepy example from the Pet Shop Boys: their second album Actually, included a track called "Kings Cross", about the general decay and injustice in the UK at the time, climaxing with the narrator finding himself at Kings Cross station in London, with "dead and wounded on either side". Two months after the album was released, thirty-one people were killed in a massive fire at the adjacent London Underground station, which many people blamed on the government's underinvestment in the transportation system. As a result, many people who hear the song and aren't aware of the short gap in time assume that it's a protest about the fire.
The name of the band "Katrina and the Waves" was chosen in 1982; it is best known for its 1985 hit "Walking on Sunshine". In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, giving the band's name some rather unfortunate associations and inspiring many tasteless jokes.
The opening line of Soul Coughing's 1994 album Ruby Vroom is "A man drives a plane into the Chrysler Building." Seven years later, terrorist drove two planes into two other New York City buildings, the Twin Towers.
One of the first smash hits by Mexican singer Juan Gabriel is named "El Noa Noa", after a famous night club where he started his career. Bad thing, the (apparently now closed) "Noa Noa" club was located in... Ciudad Juárez.
Harlem rapper Big L's line in "Street Struck": "Stay off them corners, that might be your best plan/before you catch a bullet that was meant for the next man." Guess what happens to him four years later?
"Goodbye Blue Sky" from The Wall is about The Battle of Britain and its effects on the warbabies, but listening to it now, it's eerie how many parallels you can draw to 9/11, what with lines like "Look mummy, there's an aeroplane up in the sky" (the plane about to crash into the tower) and "Did you ever wonder why we had to run for shelter when the promise of a brave new world unfurled beneath a clear blue sky?" (The towers coming down).
Some of the imagery in "The Tower" by NoMeansNo has grown harsher on American ears since its initial release. Specifically, the line, "From a burning building a man leaps to his death."
The Brutal Death Metal band Skinless has a song called "Tampon Lollipops". The song's lyrics involve a janitor eating used tampons. Fast-forward to Giovanna Plowman ACTUALLY EATING a tampon, and the Squick-worthy lyrics become even more-so.
The Roy Orbison song "Claudette" is one of the minority of songs by the artist with a happy ending, referencing how "I'm gonna be so happy for the rest of my life, when my brand-new baby is my brand-new wife." Claudette was the name of Roy Orbison's first wife, and they were married for just eight years before Claudette was killed in a motorcycle accident; this and other tragedies meant that the remaining 22 years of his life were less than blissful.
The 1988 album Black and White Night, which includes a version of "Claudette", makes this something of an Invoked Trope.
This version also contains a straight example of the trope in Orbison's reference to "the rest of [his] life". Orbison would die of a heart attack in December 1988, less than a year after the album was released.
"Wasted" by Def Leppard is about a rock star and his battles with addiction. Fast forward 11 years, and Steve Clark dies from alcohol abuse. "(Wasted) I've wasted my time/(Wasted) I'm shooting a line/(Wasted) I'm out of my head/(Wasted) I wish I was dead"
Robots In Disguise's song "The Tears" is about being afraid that your partner is cheating on you, and taking every little gesture or word as a sign that it's true. At the time, band members Sue Denim and Dee Plume were both in long-term relationships- Dee with Noel Fielding and Sue with Chris Corner (of IAMX). Unfortunately, as it turned out, they didn't need any signs to tell them: Sue reportedly saw Chris kissing someone else at a concert and dumped him, and Noel left Dee for Pixie Geldof. Ouch.
In 2001, Polish vocalist Monika Kuszyńska had a hit single "Maj" ("May"), in which she sang about a May that changed her entire life. In May 2006, she was seriously wounded in a car crash, which left her permanently paralyzed from the waist down.
Patty Donahue of The Waitresses is seen smoking in the video for their 1980s hit "I Know What Boys Like". Donahue died of lung cancer in 1996.
The Fall's "Powder Keg" included cryptic references to The Troubles ("retreat from Enniskillen") and some sort of tragedy occurring in Mark E. Smith's home city of Manchester ("It going to hurt me / Manchester city centre", "Don't you know, the town is a powder keg"). A mere five days after the song was released, a bombing was carried out in Manchester city centre by the IRA. Because of this, there was actually some speculation that Smith somehow knew the attack had been planned; his response was the sarcastic claim "I'm bloody psychic!".
This happened a second time with The Fall: The 2017 album New Facts Emerge includes a track called "Victoria Train Station Massacre" - the official track-listing to the album was announced a week after a suicide bombing outside an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester Arena, a venue adjacent to Manchester Victoria railway station. The song was written, recorded, and titled long beforehand, the title referring to Mark E Smith's aesthetic disapproval towards the station's recent reconstruction.
Soul Asylum's video for "Runaway Train", which features names and photos of real missing children from the early 1990s, was already heart-wrenching when it first aired in 1993. Two decades later, it's known that several of the youths appearing in the Australian version were murdered by serial killer Ivan Milat, and others in Britain and America were likewise victims of homicide. (Including a little girl who was murdered and buried in a backyard by her own mother in the middle of a terrible divorce process) Five of the missing, including a toddler who appears last in the video, have yet to be found. What's more, at least one of the teenagers had run away to escape an abusive home and was angry at the band for enabling her parents to find her.
In the music video for "Paparazzi", Lady Gaga is shown in a wheelchair and then with crutches after being thrown off a balcony. In February 2013, she suffered a hip injury that resulted in the cancellation of the rest of the Born This Way Ball's tours.
Gram Parsons' second album ends with "In My Hour Of Darkness", a Grief Song featuring a verse about a young man who "played to people everywhere/Some say he was a star/But he was just a country boy/His simple songs confess". Parsons died of an overdose age 26, four months before the album came out.
"Sell Sell Sell" by Barenaked Ladies is ostensibly about an actor's career and the war movie that made him a celebrity, but the severity with which the movie is condemned by the lyrics suggest that it's an allegory for an actual war, with the "actor" being the politician who orchestrated it. Or maybe it's just impossible not to hear it that way since the Iraq War, which started two years after the song was released.
"Hurricane", a song recorded in 1980 by Levon Helm which was also a Top 10 country hit a year later for Leon Everette. In it, a native of New Orleans is unfazed when a man from Chicago suggests that they raise their levees because "we finally taught her that it takes a lot of water to wash away New Orleans". Cue Hurricane Katrina in 2005
Don Henley's "New York Minute" has some lyrics which are a lot more powerful post-9/11 than when the song was written. "In a New York minute/everything can change . . ." it sure did.
The video for Ryan Adams' 2001 single "New York, New York" was shot on September 7, in Manhattan near the World Trade Center and on the New Jersey shore across the Hudson. The WTC is visible over Adams' shoulder as he sings lines like "Farewell to the city and the love of my life."
A lot of the songs on Relient K's album Five Score and Seven Years Ago(Specifically "The Best Thing, "Must Have Done Something Right", and "I'm Taking You With Me") are rather hard to listen to; they're about how happy lead singer Matthew Thiessen was with his fiancee. After the release of the album, she called off the engagement and he suffered a mild Creator Breakdown as a result.
Colorado's state song Where the Columbines Grow (and for that matter, anything to do with columbines) after the school shooting at Columbine High School in 1999. On the other hand, Colorado's other state song, Rocky Mountain High could qualify as Hilarious in Hindsight after marijuana was legalized there in 2012.
Jo Dee Messina's "Bring On the Rain" is a song about facing adversity, with the chorus stating "Tomorrow's another day, and I'm thirsty anyway / So bring on the rain." The date of the song's release? September 10, 2001.
Robin Thicke's 2013 single "Blurred Lines" attracted extensive criticism and controversy for its alleged trivialization of sexual consent (featuring as it did such lyrics as "I know you want it" in regards to a potential sexual encounter). Among the myriad defenses Thicke offered was his claim that he wrote the song about his wife Paula Patton, feeling confident that his wife wanted to have sex with him. While this defense carries its own Unfortunate Implications about marital consent, it seemed not unreasonable given that Thicke and his wife seemed to be Happily Married. It fell into this trope when Patton left him the following year after repeated accusations of infidelity; Thicke even dedicated his subsequent album Paula to her, an album which likewise attracted controversy due to its perceived Stalker with a Crush overtones. And we haven't yet got to the plagiarism lawsuit with Marvin Gaye's estate.
Post-metal band Isis formed in 1997, naming themselves after the Egyptian goddess. By 2014, the band had long broken up, but their name started carrying rather different connotations due to the existence of ISIS, the Islamic terrorist group - it doesn't help that the band had usually stylized their logo in all capital letters, making it look like an acronym. Their Facebook page, which was mainly being used to promote former band members' other projects at that point, started being inundated with angry comments apparently confusing them with the Islamic State, and fans noted being understandably reluctant to wear their t-shirts in public anymore. They did take a small measure against the Facebook issue, changing the name of their page from "ISIS" to the less ambiguous "Isis the band".
"Adam's Song" by Blink182, an anti-suicide song with an uplifting ending, became much heavier after a survivor of the Columbine massacre killed himself with the song on infinite loop. Puts a bad feeling on an otherwise optimistic song.
In 1954, blues singer Pat Hare recorded the song "I'm Gonna Murder My Baby". Nine years later, he fatally shot his girlfriend. He would spend the rest of his life in prison for the crime.
When The Beatles arrived at the Plaza Hotel in New York, some fans held signs which read "Elvis is Dead, Long Live the Beatles", referring to The Beatles' rising popularity and Elvis' stagnation at the time. Half a decade later, The Beatles would split up, and barely a decade after that Elvis passed away.
"Long Live The Beatles" might also prove harsher for John Lennon (who was murdered in 1980) and George Harrison (who died of cancer in 2001).
"When I'm Sixty-Four" is not only harsher for John Lennon and George Harrison — neither of whom lived to 64 — but it was harsher for its writer, Paul McCartney. Between the death of his first wife, Linda, and his separation from his second wife, Heather Mills, the answer to "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?" was sadly, "No".
Miss Kittin & The Hacker's electroclash single "Frank Sinatra" was originally released in July 1998 and featured the lyric "You know Frank Sinatra? He's dead" - Sinatra was still alive when the song was recorded, but passed away two months before it was first released. Miss Kittin has said she meant the reference as a Shout-Out (and as a very loose rhyme for "VIP area"), but apparently genuinely thought he was already dead when she wrote the song.
Frank Zappa: Many of his songs have lines about venereal diseases, though usually just the clap. In the 1970s most of those were a nuisance, but treatable. After the AIDS scare of the 1980s many of these lines don't sound so amusing anymore, especially since one of Zappa's associates, groupie Lucy Offerall (featured in 200 Motels) died of it in 1991.
Fela Kuti's final recorded song pokes fun at the AIDS scare. He would die from the same disease.
It's difficult to listen to "My Way" by Sid Vicious without realizing he recorded it just months before he murdered his partner Nancy Spungen and then took a suicidal drug overdose out of remorse. Was that "his way" when "the end is near and he faced the final curtain?"
Black Sabbath's album Paranoid has a Drugs Are Bad song named "Hand Of Doom", sang by Ozzy Osbourne. If you realize how much unhealthy stuff Ozzy would take the following decades this makes this song particularly harsh to listen to. He is still alive today, though the effects of all this drug abuse are very visible and audible.
Elvis Presley singing "Treat Me Nice", when you know that during the final years of his life he was merely exploited by his manager Colonel Parker to perform, even when he was ill, under the influence or suffering from exhaustion.
Out to Lunch! by Eric Dolphy would be his final album after his untimely death, making the casual album title all the more morbid when you realize he's never coming back.
"Why Do I Keep Counting?" by The Killers is about a suicidally depressed guy. Keeping that in mind, the first two lines of the song "There's a plane and I am flying / There's a mountain waiting for me" become quite creepy after Germanwings Flight 9525.
The song "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)". It's pretty disturbing in the first place but becomes even more uncomfortable when you find out that not only is it absolutely sincere and unironic, it's based on the actual relationship the singer Little Eva had with her boyfriend. And it gets even worse when you consider that the producer is Phil Spector, who is an infamous domestic abuser, and was later arrested for murdering an actress he was dating.
Miranda Lambert's nostalgic 2014 hit "Automatic" contains the line "Staying married was the only way to work your problems out." A year after the song's released, she divorced her husband, fellow country singer Blake Shelton.
Neil Young's "Piece Of Crap" was written as his jab at products on the market that were effectively overpriced junk. This would be the reaction a lot of people would have to the Pono Player, a portable music player that Young would lead to market that can play higher quality formats than regular MP3s. Discounting the fact it costs a whopping $400, many critics doubt very much that the "high quality" files being sold in his web store are enough of an audible improvement over standard MP3s to warrant the need(indeed, one test of the very files, when downsampled to CD quality, only showed a minor difference in the high frequency ranges that humans can't even hear!). And did I mention that the device literally has only 3 buttons and issues with the touchscreen being unresponsive at times?
Wilson Pickett recorded "Soul Survivor" on his 1999 studio album It's Harder Now, lamenting on the fact he was one of the few living musicians from the soul music era, and talking about numerous musicians who were no longer alive. That would be his final album; Pickett died in 2006.
The Tragically Hip's "New Orleans Is Sinking" takes on new meanings after Hurricane Katrina.
Speaking of Iron Maiden, they had a song called "2 Minutes to Midnight" on their 1984 album "Powerslave". As of 2018, the Doomsday Clock stands at two minutes to midnight.
In September 1929, popular blues singer Bessie Smith recorded Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out, a song about a millionaire who loses all their money and becomes a pauper. Barely two weeks after it was released, the stock market crash of Black October led to the Great Depression and the complete wreckage of the American economy, making this song a bitter reality for many.
Keith Whitley's 1986 hit "Hard Livin'" contains the line "I wish hard livin' didn't come so easy to me", while 1990's "I'm Over You" has the line "You heard I'm drinkin' more than I should / That I ain't been lookin' all that good " These lyrics quickly took on a different meaning upon Whitley's death from alcohol poisoning at age 34; it particularly hit the latter song hard, as "I'm Over You" was released nearly a year after his death...
Prince's 1984 hit song "Let's Go Crazy" included the lyrics "Are we gonna let the elevator bring us down?" seems pretty haunting now, considering that Prince was found dead in an elevator at Paisley Park on April 21, 2016.
Not only that, but the lyrics to "Sometimes It Snows In April" all deal with the death of the character he played Under the Cherry Moon, and therefore are a lot more eerie considering that he died in April of 2016.
Also, in the 1987 outtake "Dream Factory," he sings "I take a pill 2 wipe away my doubts/But a pill can't cure my bein' alone." Considering that he died of an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl, it's less cautionary-tale and more disturbingly symbolic.
Same goes for the song "Pop Life" which contains the lyric "The river of addiction flows".
Filipino rap group Salbakuta's biggest hit "S2pid Luv" contains the line "Wasak na wasak ang puso ni Nasty Mack", or "Nasty Mack's heart is really, really broken" when translated in English. In 2008, seven years after the song became a hit, group member Norman "Nasty Mack" Adriano died of a heart attack. He was only 30.
Christina Grimmie's very popular cover of Sia's "Titanium," a song which revolves all around an "I'm bulletproof, guns can't kill me, go ahead and shoot me" metaphor, is very difficult to listen to since she was murdered at a fan meet and greet via gunshot to the head.
Her own song, "Must Be Love," can also be painful, considering her killer was allegedly an obsessed fan. Blink and you'll miss it, but the lyric video even shows her getting shot in the chest with a Cupid's arrow.
A Break-Up Song on her 2013 With Love album is titled "Absolutely Final Goodbye".
Even worse that Michael was said to have died of heart failure, and the first lyric is "Last Christmas, I gave you my heart..."
Heck, considering what happened to George Michael, Wham!'s song "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" ends up becoming difficult to listen to judging by the song's title itself.
As if that weren't bad enough, three years later, George's younger sister Melanie also died on Christmas Day.
Dex Osama's song Death On Me was released in March 2015, and it talks about gangsters going after Dex and wanting him dead. Six months later, Dex was killed in a shootout. The first lyric "My mama said I got death on me..." says it all.
While the closing track "Hurt" from said album features the lyrics: The needle tears a hole, the old familiar sting. However in July 1st, 2000, the concert in London, UK was cancelled due to "the band's illness"; in this case, Trent Reznor nearly died from the heroin overdose before going into rehab.
Soundgarden is filled with dark lyrics, but some are particularly hard to take after the suicide of frontman Chris Cornell, such as "Pretty Noose" (cause of death: hanging), "Black Saturday" (a narrator sings how he prefers a Mercy Kill rather becoming an invalid elder, when Cornell offed himself at just 52), and the self-explanatory "Like Suicide". Uncomfortable moments can also be found in "Blow Up the Outside World" (opening line: "Nothing seems to kill me...") and the title "The Day I Tried to Live". Maybe even harsher still because of his close friend Chester Bennington's suicide by hanging on what would have been Chris's 53rd birthday.
The video for his 2015 single release "Nearly Forgot my Broken Heart" depicts Chris Cornell being executed by hanging in a dusty western town.
The final song he played at a concert, which was right before his suicide, was a cover of "In My Time of Dying".
While on the subject of Soundgarden, let's talk grunge in general. Pearl Jam's song "Alive" now has a whole new meaning once we learn that with Kurt, Layne and Chris gone, Eddie Vedder is now the last grunge frontman standing. But only time will tell how long he stays that way.
And Temple of the Dog (the Supergroup that joined Cornell and the future members of Pearl Jamnote Including Soundgarden's drummer Matt Cameron, who is now on PJ as well) opens their album with "Say Hello 2 Heaven", a Grief Song for Chris's deceased friend Andrew Wood that can easily be counted as a eulogy for the man himself now.
Ariana Grande's song "One Last Time", which contains lyrics of Ariana finally saying goodbye to her lover after admitting to be unfaithful, takes a heartbreaking and depressing perspective after a suicide bomber attacked one of her concerts in Manchester, killing 22 people but leaving her uninjured, and Ariana believing on Twitter that she failed her fans, just like in the song where she failed her lover. In the events after, the song became a symbol of the tragedy.
"Breathin'" is about staying strong through hardships, and contains the lyric "People don't need to medicate". A few months after Sweetener's release, her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller was found dead of an overdose ruled accidental, and some people blamed Grande for it, saying she left him too broken after getting engaged to Pete Davidson. The engagement was called off shortly after, if not directly because of it.
Speaking of, the song named for Pete seems a lot more awkwardly titled now.
It could double as a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, but 2pac mentioning Mobb Deep member Prodigy having sickle cell at the end of the diss track "Hit 'Em Up" becomes very depressing to listen to after learning that Prodigy had passed away from the disease in 2017.
And let's not forget the rapper's infamous line in the remix version of LL Cool J's song "I Shot Ya": "Illuminati wants my mind, soul, and my body".
The Wallflowers' 2002 song "Everybody Out of the Water" was pretty dark to begin with, but the huge number unintentional parallels to the events of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans three years later read like something from a Creepypasta. Just one highlight:
Now I'm treading high water to get back to you Looking for a low spot or something to cling to There's too many bodies there's not enough room God help me and God help you They say nobody panic, help is on its way We're already on it, you got to be brave If you can fix it now then don't make us wait Man, they ain't nobody coming back away from the casenote and just to make things even more creepy, Jakob Dylan's pacing and pronunciation of this particular line make it extremely easy to hear as "Man, there ain't nobody coming! / Back away from the gates!" (Look up the events at the superdome and convention center if you don't get why that's a disturbingly exact Mondegreen.)
Some of Montgomery Gentry's songs can be this after Troy Gentry died in a helicopter crash in September 2017, such as the second verse of "Roll with Me" ("I saw a kid last winter, only 20 years old / Being laid to rest while his mom stood by his side / It sure was hard to watch those tears roll down her face / It made me think how we all just have our time"), or the messages of self-improvement and enjoying life in the moment as seen in songs such as "While You're Still Young" and "Better Me" (the latter of which was released right after his death). Even harsher when you realize that Troy had the lead vocal on all three of those songs.
The Gits' "Sign Of The Crab" seems to be about being a victim of a serial killer - it was recorded two months before vocalist Mia Zapata was murdered, and released on an album the band had to finish without her. The lyric "Go ahead and slash me up / 'Cause you know you're the one who won't be found" can come across as particularly eerie since the case was cold for 11 years before stored DNA evidence led to a conviction.
The Youngbloods' "Get Together". When listening to it half a century after its release in 1967 and seeing all the strife still going on in the US and around the world, the impassioned plea "Smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now" begins to sound more and more desperate.
Melanie Martinez has written a few songs with themes of abuse and rape. While the events in the songs were played out as bad, it all becomes a lot creepier after an ex-friend of hers outed her as a rapist.
The biggest hit for Country Music singer Lari White was "Now I Know", a song about dealing with the unspecified loss of someone close ("I always wondered how I'd live without you / Now I know"). Another one of her hits, "Stepping Stone", was about overcoming adversity in general ("Here I am at another dead end / Stopped in my tracks again..."). Both can be seen as harsher in hindsight following White's sudden death from cancer in January 2018.
Their 1996 song "Li immortacci" lists several characters that enjoy their new lives as "zombies" of some sort: those are unnamed, but several allusions and nicknames make clear that they're all famous rock stars and musicians that died before their time. Among them there's also "Micheletto" ("Little Michael") that "doesn't want to be black". The allusion to Jackson was made in reference to his wedding with the daughter of Elvis Presley, himself referenced in the song. In 2009 Jackson sadly became yet another member of that long list.
They entered 2013's Sanremo Music Festival with a song that was about the damned in Hell and what they did to deserve that punishment, and one of the lyrics said "you accidentally murder people". The song was unveiled February 13, 2013 and barely one day later Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his fiancee, all the while saying that it was an accident and that he mistook her for an intruder. Several members of the Italian press actually commented on the coincidence.
T Rex's song 1972 "Solid Gold Easy Action" contains the lyric "Life is the same and it always will be/Easy as picking foxes from a tree". Five years later lead singer Marc Bolan was killed in a car crash. The license plate read FOX 661L and the car was wrapped around a tree. Bolan often wrote songs about cars, despite never learning how to drive (He was a passenger in that accident), and several of those songs also took on harsher meanings after his death.
Another one that was either considered this or Hilarious in Hindsight. Craig Mack's signature hit "Flava in Ya Ear" contains the line "You won't be around next year", which was arguably already harsh to begin with when the rapper faded into obscurity in the following years. It sounds even harsher now when Craig Mack has reportedly passed away from heart failure in 2018.
Even worse, Craig had been in ill health for up to six months before his death, even calling his friends to say goodbye. In essence, he knew he wouldnt be around next year.
The video for Run the Jewels' "Blockbuster Night Part 1" ends with an older man collapsing from a heart attack in a restaurant. That man was played by Bruce Hampton, a legendary musician best known as the frontman for the jam band The Aquarium Rescue Unit. Hampton would die of a heart attack for real in 2017, collapsing on stage at a concert held in honor of his 70th birthday.
Lorrie Morgan's 1996 hit "By My Side", a tender ballad with a declaration of love was originally supposed to be a duet with Sammy Kershaw. However, his label rejected it, so she cut it with her then-husband Jon Randall instead. Five years later, she divorced Randall and married Kershaw.
Tom Petty's song "Mary Jane's Last Dance" contains the lyrics "Last dance with Mary Jane, one more time to kill the pain.", now doubles as a Tear Jerker considering that Tom Petty died on October 2, 2017 of cardiac arrest brought on by an accidental overdose of painkillers.
Emerson Drive's 2007 hit "Moments" is about a man who attempts to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge, until an encounter with an old homeless man changes his mind. A year after the song came out, Emerson Drive bassist Patrick Bourque died of suicide.
Beastie Boy Adam "MCA" Yauch's verse on the 2009 single "Too Many Rappers," substituted for the album version in light of his subsequent cancer diagnosis and still more poignant in the wake of his death in 2012:
Yo, I been in the game since before you was born I might still be MCing even after you're gone Strange thought, I know, but my skills still grow The 80s, the 90s, 2000s, and so On and on until the crack of dawn Until the year 3000 and beyond Stay up all night, and I MC And never die, 'cause death is the cousin of sleep
Scatman John's last album was called "Take Your Time". He passed away of lung cancer a few months after it was released.
Demi Lovato's song "Sober" was released about a month before she overdosed on an unknown drug and hospitalized in July 2018. Had she not been found and treated with Narcan in time, she would have died.
Mac Miller says in his song "Brand Name", "To whoever sells me drugs don't mix it with that bullshit/I'm hopin' not to join the 27 club". What makes this harsher is that he died of an overdose at age 26, imbuing this line with an unintended, secondary meaning. In other words, he got his wish.
There's also the line in his single "Self Care": "Swear the height will be too tall so like September I fall", which also has an unintended, secondary meaning since September just so happens to be the month he passed away in.
Not to mention his death was exactly on the day of the 22nd anniversary of the shooting of 2pac.
Said music video also features him in the coffin with the words "memento mori" engraved on the coffin.
If that wasn't enough, his final studio album cover features him sitting behind an open casket.
The title of Avicii's most famous song, "Wake Me Up", after his sudden death in April 2018 at only 28. Even one of the lyrics counts: "Wish that I could stay forever this young".
Not to mention the first line of the Mike Posner hit: "I took a pill in Ibiza to show Avicii I was cool". What makes that even worse (if that's even possible) is that Posner himself was 28 when the song was released.
From The Days:
Under the tree where the grass don't grow We made a promise to never get old
He said, "One day you'll leave this world behind So live a life you will remember." My father told me when I was just a child These are the nights that never die
"SOS" with Aloe Blacc released on his posthumous album Tim sounds in retrospect like a cry for help.
P. Diddy's song "Coming Home" contains the lyrics "My twins keep asking me when I'm gonna marry their mom", referring to longtime girlfriend Kim Porter. On November 15, 2018, Porter died unexpectedly at age 47.
During a concert in 1985, singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen reminisced about recording with influential producer Phil Spector, as well as their shared interest in firearms: "[He was a] delightful chap. You really get to know him, you really did get to know him. And I had a Walther PPK. He had just an ordinary .45." In 2009, Spector was convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson with a handgun, after what was apparently a long history of abusive behavior and threatening people (including, as it turns out, Cohen himself) with weapons.
In October 2016, Cohen was quoted in a New Yorker interview as saying he was "ready to die," and a few days later he released You Want it Darker — a melancholy album all about the approach of death and his acceptance of it. He passed away within a month.
Following her father's death at 54 from cancer, country singer Kylie Rae Harris wrote "Twenty Years From Now", in which she expressed the hope that she would live to see her own daughter grow up ("God, I hope I'm still around / Twenty years from now"). In September 2019, less than six months after the song was released, Harris died in a car accident.
"Legends" features the lines "What's the 27 Club? Uh, uh, uh, oh/We ain't making it past 21". He did end up dying at 21.
He mentioned John Lennon in another song "All Girls Are the Same". His death occured on the 39th anniversary of Lennon's murder.
The chorus of his song "Hurt Me", begins with "Sticks and stones may break my bones, But the drugs won't hurt me, the drugs won't hurt me." Juice's death was caused by him swallowing pills of Percocet and other drugs to hide them from law enforcement.
Jesus Christ Superstar: "This Jesus Must Die" has the lyric "So like John before him, this Jesus must die!" It refers to John the Baptist, who was infamously executed at the instigation of Salome... but the same song also used ambiguous language to make a dig at John Lennon ("Where do we start with a man who is bigger/Than John was when John did his baptism thing?"). In light of Lennon's 1980 murder, these lines are a good deal more uncomfortable than they were intended to be.