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dis­cov­ers the true mean­ing of her favourite songs.

re­cently dis­cov­ered I’m tone deaf. Not in the tra­di­tional sense, although I can’t re­ally hold a note. But more that I am ter­ri­ble at pick­ing up the true mood and mean­ing be­hind a song.

I’ve been to three wed­dings where a glow­ing bride walked down the aisle to The Po­lice’s ‘Ev­ery Breath You Take’.

It sounds per­fect for a wed­ding: Ev­ery breath you take… I’ll be watch­ing you. But ap­par­ently the song is less lovey-dovey and more stalky-stalky! Sting wrote it af­ter sep­a­rat­ing from his first wife, and in an in­ter­view in 1983 said: “I think it’s a nasty lit­tle song, re­ally rather evil. It’s about jeal­ousy and surveil­lance and own­er­ship.” Not re­ally the sound­track for a happy mar­riage.

Look at the Aussie clas­sic, Men At Work’s ‘Down Un­der’, a tune I am prone to belt­ing out on a long drive. When I Googled the mean­ing, I dis­cov­ered it’s about so much more than beer and Vegemite. It’s also about the loss of spirit in our coun­try, about how the true her­itage of our great land can get lost in the name of progress and de­vel­op­ment.

What about ‘Wa­ter­falls’ by TLC, you know the one: Don’t go chas­ing wa­ter­falls, please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to. I knew it wasn’t lit­er­ally about wa­ter­falls, but I never ap­pre­ci­ated it was about HIV/AIDS aware­ness: Three let­ters took him to his fi­nal rest­ing place. It made sense, when I stopped singing out of tune and lis­tened. Then there is ‘Es­cape (The Pina Co­lada Song)’. I was re­cently in­formed that my favourite ’80s sum­mer tune isn’t just a song about drink­ing pina co­ladas by the beach, but a de­press­ing tale of a tired mar­riage. It makes sense when you listen to the words. I was tired of my lady, we’d been to­gether too long, Like a worn-out record­ing, of a favourite song. Then while she is sleep­ing he checks the clas­si­fieds sec­tion of the pa­per (which for any­one un­der 30 was like Tin­der) and sees an ad for a woman seek­ing a man. If you like pina co­ladas, and get­ting caught in the rain, If you´re not into yoga, if you have half a brain, If you like mak­ing love at mid­night, in the dunes of the cape, I’m the love that you’ve looked for, write to me and es­cape. Well, didn’t that spark his in­ter­est? “That’s me!” he thinks.

So he writes an ad back to this pina co­lada-sip­ping beauty and de­clares:

Yes, I like pina co­ladas, and get­ting caught in the rain,

I’m not much into health food, I am into cham­pagne.

Then he asks her to meet him the next day at a pub. But this is when the song takes an in­ter­est­ing turn. Guess who walks in the door? What do ya know… It was my own lovely lady, and she said, “Oh, it’s you”,

And we laughed for a mo­ment, and I said, “I never knew,

That you liked pina co­ladas, and get­ting caught in the rain,

You´re the love that I’ve looked for, come with me and es­cape.”

I am not sure how to feel about this song now. Is it kinda ro­man­tic or just im­moral? I think I pre­ferred it when I thought I was singing about co­conut-flavoured rum…

Need­less to say I’m now re­dis­cov­er­ing all my favourite songs, armed with a new ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the lyrics. Maybe there is more to that Vengabus song than I first thought… or not. Car­rie co-hosts The Project, 6.30pm week­nights, on Net­work Ten.

“Ap­par­ently the song is less lovey-dovey and more stalky-stalky”

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