23 Song Lyrics That People Have Been Singing Wrong Until Now

We asked the BuzzFeed Community which song lyrics they’ve been singing wrong their whole life. Here are some of the funniest responses:


Beyoncé, “Single Ladies”

“My daughter, when she was very small, thought Beyoncé was telling ‘all the single lettuce’ to put their hands up!”



Ed Sheeran, “Shape of You”

“My 5-year-old daughter sings, ‘And last night you were in my room / And now my bedsheets smell like you’ as ‘And last night you were in my room / And now my buttcheeks smell like you,’ and it kills me every time.”



Sam Hunt, “Body Like A Backroad”

“When I first heard it, I thought he was saying, ‘Body like a bathrobe.‘ I thought it was weird for him to compare a woman’s body to a bathrobe, but I still sang along to it.”



Sir Mix-a-Lot, “Baby Got Back”

“I used to say, ‘I like big butts in a can of limes,‘ instead of ‘I like big butts and I cannot lie’ in front of all my friends and crush back in fifth grade.”


Def American


Gwen Stefani, “Hollaback Girl”

“The first time I heard the song was on SNL, and I seriously thought I was watching her career implode. I heard ‘I ain’t no Harlem black girl,’ but it’s actually, ‘I ain’t no hollaback girl.'”



Michael Jackson, “Wanna Be Starting Something”

“For a long time I thought the ‘Ma ma se, ma ma sa, ma ma coo sa’ part was saying, ‘Mama say mama sa ma Microsoft,‘ and I always wondered why it was never used in a Microsoft ad.”



T.I., “Whatever You Like”

“I thought he was saying, ‘Want Joe Biden / Need Joe Biden,’ and I would actually sing these lyrics loud and proud at the clubs in college. (What? I just thought he REALLY liked Obama and Biden.) Nope, turns out he’s singing, ‘Want’cho body / Need yo body.'”



Garth Brooks, “Two Piña Coladas”

“Bring. Me. Two bean enchiladas!”



Next, “Too Close”

“The lyrics are ‘Baby when we’re grinding / I get so excited,’ and my very innocent child brain always sang it as, ‘Baby when you’re crying / I get so excited.‘ I always thought it was kind of sadistic of them to be excited about their girlfriend crying, but now I get it. The ‘You’re making it hard for me’ line also made much more sense after I realized this.”



Charli XCX, “Boom Clap”

“My dad thought that the song ‘Boom Clap’ was ‘Bump Fat,’ and now I can’t hear it the same way.”



Kesha, “Your Love Is My Drug”

“I thought she sang, ‘If I keep it up like a lovesick kraken,’ but it’s ‘lovesick crackhead.’ It took me asking my mom, ‘What does she mean by lovesick kraken… what does that even look like?’ for me to realize.”



James Arthur, “Say You Won’t Let Go”

“Instead of singing, ‘I’m going to love you till my lungs give out,’ I proudly sang, ‘I’m gonna love you till my LOINS give out.‘ Jeez, man.”



Smash Mouth, “All Star”

“I always thought it was, ‘So what’s wrong with Nick from the Backstreet?‘ (as in Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys). It was really, ‘So what’s wrong with taking the backstreets?’ I like my version better.”



Spice Girls, “Wannabe”

“I thought the lyric ‘Slam your body down and wind it all around’ was ‘Slam your body down the party’s all around‘ for literally my entire life. I’ve been singing it wrong for 20 years, as have my little sister and all of my friends. It was heart-wrenching to learn I was wrong for so long, given that it was one of my faves. It’s super hard to un-learn something like that.”



Tina and Ike Turner, “Proud Mary”

“We thought ‘Proud Mary’ went, ‘Donuts, donuts, donuts down the river.‘ We lovvvved that song for a while.”



OutKast, “Hey Ya!”

“Instead of ‘Shake it like a Polaroid picture,’ I thought they said, ‘Shake it like a pollywog hit ya!‘”



Timbaland (featuring OneRepublic), “Apologize”

“I always thought the lyric, ‘It’s too late to apologize,’ was ‘It’s too late to finally die / Too laaaate.’ Didn’t make sense, but still heard it for about 10 years before I realized.”



Macy Gray, “I Try”

“Throughout my entire life I sang, ‘I blow bubbles until you come here,‘ instead of ‘My world crumbles when you are not near.’ I didn’t realize I was wrong until I was well into my twenties.”



Train, “Hey Soul Sister”

“I have a friend who misheard the line ‘Like a virgin, you’re Madonna’ as ‘Like a bird in your vagina.‘ I don’t know what he was thinking.”



TLC, “Waterfalls”

“For the longest time I genuinely thought it was about some guy named Jason Waterfalls and he was always leaving this girl even though she begs him not to. I would always sing, ‘Don’t go, Jason Waterfalls‘ instead of ‘Don’t go chasing waterfalls.’ And even as a kid I would sit there and think, ‘Wow, Jason is kind of an ass.'”



Charlie Puth, “Attention”

“When he says, ‘Throwin’ that dirt all on my name,’ I heard it as ‘Turtle on my knee.‘”



DNCE, “Cake By The Ocean”

“‘Cake By The Ocean’ by DNCE is one of my favorite songs, but it was ruined for me when I learned that I was singing the second line of the song wrong. I thought it was ‘Waste time wiff a master pea,‘ when it was really ‘Waste time with a masterpiece.’ I’m still not sure why wiffing a master pea made sense to me.”



“Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star”

“In ‘Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star’ I always sang, ‘Like a diamond in DISGUISE‘ instead of ‘in the sky.’ I only realized I’ve been singing it wrong my whole life — 26 years — when reading a book to my preschool class last year.”


Note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.

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The '90s Really Are Back! MTV Is Bringing Back “TRL”

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But now the real question: Are you excited to see TRL coming back!

  1. vote

    YES!!! I lived for this show and will totally watch the reboot!

  2. vote

    Nope. I am sorry but that era is over and it’ll be hard to capture that magic again!!!

  3. vote

    Honestly, I didn’t care for the show back then and I don’t care about it today.

Answer These 11 Questions And We'll Reveal Which Pop Star You Are

Answer These 11 Questions And We’ll Reveal Which Pop Star You Are

You got: Britney Spears

You how to command attention while also being approachable, which is why people love being around you.

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You got: Avril Lavigne

You’re not one to follow trends and would rather stay true to yourself than be called a *poser*

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You got: Christina Aguilera

You have an incredible work ethic which has garnered you a lot of success, but you also know how to let loose and have fun when needed.

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You got: Katy Perry

You have a fun, quirky personality that makes you the go-to friend to do spontaneous activities with.

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You got: Taylor Swift

You know how to deal with any hurdles that come your way with grace because you know that obstacles are only temporary.

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You got: Rihanna

Your unapologetic, creative personality sets you apart from the crowd and that’s the way you like it.

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19 Songs That Mean Something Totally Different If You Really Look At The Lyrics

What it sounds like: It was the biggest dance hit at all your primary school discos where everyone just mumbled along to the chorus.

What it’s actually about: A girl named Macarena’s boyfriend going out of town and her cheating on him with his two cute friends.

Most questionable lyric: “Now come on, what was I supposed to do? He was out of town and his two friends were so fine. Dale a tu cuerpo alegria Macarena, que tu cuerpo es pa’ darle alegria cosa buena*.”

*Give your body happiness, Macarena, because your body is for receiving happiness and good stuff.

How Haim Became Rock's New Royalty

Early on a recent Tuesday afternoon in a stylish bar on New York’s Lower East Side, the Haim sisters are remarkably attuned to each other’s frequencies — knotty thought trains and goofy in-jokes manifest as real-time collaborations — even though they haven’t yet tasted their first cups of coffee. The synergy is physical, too, with Danielle, 28, Este, 31, and Alana, 25, each styled as an integral member of a thriftily glamorous gang of three. Este, who is blonde, wears a long-sleeved dress with asymmetrical cutouts; brunettes Danielle and Alana are in oversized jackets and T-shirts tucked into denim; and all three are framed by their signature hippie hair, with long tresses parted down the middle.

Kate Bubacz / BuzzFeed News

Haim was photographed in New York on June 27, 2017.

But family ties have their own weaknesses and sensitivities. Danielle is mid-sentence in a discussion of the band’s hit new album, Something to Tell You — which exalts both rock and pop traditions with equal relish — when the conversation momentarily goes off the rails.

“I play drums, Este plays bass, I play guitar,” she begins, rattling off the instruments the siblings have played since forming a family band with their parents over a decade ago, called Rockinhaim. But before she can finish the roll call, Alana cuts in, picking up on a perceived slight as if by reflex.

“I also play things,” she deadpans, lowering her eyebrows in bemused indignation. The comment prompts a single full-bellied “Ha!” from Este, who nearly doubles over.

“That’s a common thread in this family — that everyone forgets about me,” Alana continues. “YOU JUST SAW IT LIVE!”

“We feel like these mad scientists kind of tinkering with things, trying to get what’s in our brains onto tape.”

It’s a playful protest that underscores the serious pride Haim take in their musicianship. Since the release of their celebrated debut album Days Are Gone in 2013, they’ve been embraced by rock deities like U2 and Stevie Nicks. But even as they acknowledge themselves as heirs to the imperiled legacy of guitar music (“We love the way that [classic rock bands] used to record,” says Danielle), they consistently reject many of the genre’s historically protectionist impulses. A pet peeve is the tendency of some listeners to highlight the band’s instrumental chops as part of an implicit, or explicit, rebuke of prevailing pop, hip-hop, and electronic music.

“We’ve never been snobby about genre,” says Este, who had a serious nu-metal phase in high school. Alana, whose first CD purchase was Destiny’s Child’s The Writing’s on the Wall, goes further — “There’s no such thing as genre anymore, at least in my opinion” — before Este completes her thought: “Everyone’s just kind of borrowing from everyone else.” Danielle, the band’s primary vocalist and measured spokeswoman, concludes, “I think, first and foremost, we’re songwriters. Whatever is going to breathe life into a song — whether it’s guitar or piano or synthesizers or drum machines — we’re gonna go that way.”

Kate Bubacz / BuzzFeed News

For their new album, Something to Tell You, released July 7, Haim went deeper into their analog roots while simultaneously expanding their repertoire of digital production flourishes — blowing out the formula that made their debut feel miraculously modern and classic at once. Much of Days Are Gone had been recorded during short breaks while the band was on the road, and it owed some of its fit and finish to logistical necessity. In a haste to meet the album’s deadline, readymade GarageBand samples that were initially intended as placeholders got left in the final product.

This time around, the sisters took things slowly. After over two years on tour — including stretches opening for Taylor Swift and Rihanna — they resettled in their native San Fernando Valley in the exurbs of Los Angeles and began the work of making a new record on their own terms. They put samples aside and recorded as much as possible live in a handful of LA studios. In an in-studio video for the song “Right Now,” you can can see them in action, lithe and dexterous, like tennis players in flow. The video was directed by the renowned filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson — a fellow Valley native and a friend of a friend who the sisters discovered had been a student in their mother’s elementary art class.

Kate Bubacz / BuzzFeed News

“We said, ‘Let’s try and get as much of this organically as we can, and then we can kind of play with [the recordings] later,” says Danielle. “It was liberating to be able to experiment in the studio like that,” adds Este. “We feel like these mad scientists kind of tinkering with things, trying to get what’s in our brains onto tape.”

The tinkering produced about 50 songs and sketches of songs for Something to Tell You, 25 of which Haim recorded and then whittled down to the final 11 that appear on the album. They tracked prospective candidates on a dry-erase board they kept in the studio, marking favorite songs with stars or hearts in an unsparing series of elimination rounds. Surprisingly, the album’s opening track and the first single — a balmy, strut-friendly update of ’70s FM rock called “Want You Back” — almost didn’t make the cut.

“It started out as this kind of acoustic guitar crooner song, like 30 bpm slower than it is now,” explains Danielle, singing the song’s opening lines (“Some things are long forgotten”) at a snail’s pace. It had been one of the first songs written for the album. “We worked on it for a couple of weeks [initially] and were just like, this is not working.”

“As girls, we had to fight for people to listen to us.”

But something about the song stuck with Alana. A month before the album locked, she convinced her fellow bandmates to make one last go of it. “Everybody was like, ‘Ugggggh,’ and I was like, ‘Come oonnnn!’” This time, they sped up the tempo — too much at first (“It was literally hard to sing,” says Danielle), but eventually arriving at a happy medium.

The finishing touches were the drums — the linchpin of many a Haim song — which Danielle used an 808 drum machine to turn into a minimalist “kick-clap” pattern that gave the song a heartbeat-like pulse. By the time the track was finished, what had begun as a stately ballad was infused with Haim’s signature bounce and verve.

“It was forged into something where we finally felt like, ‘Oh, OK, this is it!’” says Danielle. As she’s speaking, Este reenacts the eureka moment by impulse, launching into a strange pantomime (the universal zombie pose: arms outstretched, wrists limp, palms down; but while bouncing your shoulders and turning side to side) that the sisters giddily identify as the “I made fire” scene from the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away — a family favorite. “We reference that movie like once a day,” laughs Alana.

A recurring theme in Something to Tell You is women’s empowerment amid the vicissitudes of romance. The album ends with what the band describes as a four-song cycle charting the bittersweet dismissal of an underachieving partner: from epiphany (“Found It in Silence”) to resolve (“Walking Away”) to reflection (“Right Now”) and acceptance (“Night So Long”).

Though many of the songs were written over a year ago, the material still resonates. The night before our interview, Este says she briefly relived her own version of “Found It in Silence” (lyrics: “And though I have found happiness, in my life that’s truly mine / You’d think I could just laugh it off, but it gets me every time”) after encountering the friend of an old flame in her hotel elevator.

Kate Bubacz / BuzzFeed News

“[The breakup] was so long ago and I’m so past it; like, I’ve grown, you know?” she says. “But weirdly you kind of go back to it and it’s like, ‘Oh my god. I haven’t thought about that guy in a minute.’ And even though you’re over it, you can’t help but ruminate.”

Haim have found empowerment in their careers as well, though it hasn’t always come easily. Since the band’s early days, they’ve weathered endemic sexism in the male-dominated music industry — backstage areas with only urinals in the restroom; sound guys at venues who conveniently disappeared before their sound check.

In the years they spent as an opening act before the release of Days Are Gone, there were occasions when simply walking out onstage meant being greeted by a chorus of jeers.

“As girls, we had to fight for people to listen to us,” says Alana. “And that honestly fueled us because you have to have a thick skin. When [crowds] grunted, I would be like, ‘Fuck yes!’ [with Este, in unison] Challenge accepted!

Those kinds of challenges are fewer and further between now. This week, Something to Tell You became Haim’s second album to debut in the top 10 of Billboard’s album chart. And as the sisters’ profile has grown, jeers have largely been replaced by fan letters, many from young women and girls who say that seeing the band perform inspired them to pick up instruments of their own. It’s an early affirmation of Haim’s possible place in the long continuum of rock/pop/whatever.

“That’s the biggest compliment…” says Danielle. And before she can elaborate, Alana cuts in again: “That’s fucking nuts!” ●

Kate Bubacz / BuzzFeed News

Reggie Ugwu is a features writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Reggie Ugwu at reggie.ugwu@buzzfeed.com.

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