Nirvana "Serve the Servants"
This is Kurt Cobain's most autobiographical song. The lyrics contain references to his father, his wife Courtney Love and his own success.
The witch reference about Courtney Love in the first verse was Cobain's frustration with the press for constantly vilifying Love as a horrible house wife, mother, drug addict and detriment to Nirvana.
The divorce of Cobain's parents inspired the line "That legendary divorce is such a bore."
Radiohead "Paranoid Android"
Lead singer Thom Yorke decided to bar-hop in L.A. one night, but what began as a festive evening soon became a nightmare as Yorke found himself surrounded by parasitic scenestalkers intent on extracting a pound of Yorke-flesh. "The people I saw that night were just like demons from another planet." That night inspired "Paranoid Android", a song that sums up "OK Computer's" claustrophobic blend of melancholic beauty and nerve-rattling aggression.
Yorke: It's about being exposed to God. It was that one night, really. We'd been rehearsin the song for months, but the lyrics came to me at five o' clock in the morning. I was trying to sleep when I literally heard these voices that wouldn't leave me alone. They were voices of the people I'd heard in the bar. It turned out to be a notrious, coke-friend place, but I didn't know that. Basically it's just about chaos, chaos, utter f--king chaos".
The song's structure is patterned after "Happiness is a warm gun" by The Beatles. Both clearly a collection of other, shorter pieces of songs put together into one.
Many radio stations asked for a shorter version, but Radiohead refused.
The guitar solo at the end of the song was written by guitarist Jonny Greenwood. It was not originally intended for the song, but something was needed to close the song and this solo was in the right key and right tempo. Some parts of this closing solo are played forward and other parts are played backward.
Alkaline Trio "Stupid Kid"
This song is about how miserable life can be if you develop a crush on one of your teachers in high school. The video tells a story of a little boy in elementary school who is in love with his teacher, doing whatever he could to please her. He gets made fun of my the other students, and soon the teacher ridicules him in front of the whole class, making him a laughing stock. After he leaves outside the room toward her window, he takes off the hat that he's been wearing the entire video, revealing two horns. The teacher can be seen struggling, surrounded in flames. Of course this video lead to controversy, and it was banned until it got edited so the student has no horns and the teacher is wrestling with nothing
Blind Melon "St. Andrew's Fall"
This song tells the story of a man who becomes overwhelmed with grief and throws himself off a 20 story building.
Faith No More "Epic"
This is a mix of funk, white-boy rap, crunchy heavy metal, and faux-Classical keyboard/piano. It contains utterly nonsensical lyrics. The lyrics frequently allude to "it," without ever explaining what "it" is. The chorus simply consists of the band shouting, "It's it!," while vocalist Mike Patton responds with "What is it?" The title is not mentioned in the lyrics.
Kings Of Leon "Molly's Chamber"
This song is about a girl that is very attractive and can make any man drop to his knees and worship her. She can be a tease: "And when you think she's let you in that's when she fades away." And if you're thinking about abstaining from sex, she'll break your will: "Molly's Chambers goin' change your mind."
The title comes from a line in the Thin Lizzy version of "Whiskey In A Jar": "Being drunk and weary I went to Molly's chamber.
Nine Inch Nails "The Perfect Drug"
The "Perfect Drug" is Absinthe, which is a French green liquor. One of the ingredients contains wormwood. Wormwood contains a substance called thujone, which is an epileptic and can cause renal failure in extremely high doses. The effect of absinthe is sometimes compared to the effects of opium and marijuana.
The Rolling Stones "Paint it Black"
This is written from the viewpoint of a person who is depressed. He wants everything to turn black to match his mood.
The song seems to be about a lover who died:
"I see a line of cars and they're all painted black" - The hearse and limos.
"With flowers and my love both never to come back" - The flowers from the funeral and her in the hearse. He talks about his heart being black because of his loss.
"I could not foresee this thing happening to you" - It was an unexpected and sudden death.
"If I look hard enough into the setting sun, my love will laugh with me before the morning comes" - This refers to her in Heaven.
The Rolling Stones wrote this as a much slower, conventional Soul song. When Bill Wyman began fooling around on the organ during the session doing a takeoff of their original as a spoof of music played at Jewish weddings. Co-manager Eric Easton (who had been an organist), and Charlie Watts joined in and improvised a double-time drum pattern, echoing the rhythm heard in some Middle Eastern dances. This new more upbeat rhythm was then used in the recording as a counterpoint to the morbid lyrics.
The White Stripes "Icky Thump"
Jack White explained that he had heard his British wife, model Karen Elson, use the expression "Ecky Thump," a Northern English phrase that means "What The Heck." He changed it to the more American sounding "Icky" (meaning disgusting) so that teenagers would get it, citing how Led Zeppelin dropped the "A" in "Lead" for the same reason. Jack liked the expression and wrote the song around it with his bandmate Meg White.
The song is a commentary on immigration, and how immigrants are treated unfairly in America.
The lyrics, "I'm gonna sing around the collar" is a play on "Ring around the collar," which refers to the tough-to-remove sweat and dirt stains on the inside of shirt collars. It is typically used in laundry detergent commercials.
Candy cane is a traditional American red and white striped Christmas candy. The White Stripes use only these colors (often in stripes) and black in their sets and costumes.
The "Dry Ice" mentioned in the lyrics refers to solid carbon dioxide, which is typically used in horror films to create artificial fog.
The Beatles "Blue Jay Way"
George Harrison wrote this in a house he rented in Los Angeles on a street named Blue Jay Way. He was waiting for his friend Derek Taylor when he came up with the song.
The line "Don't Be Long" is repeated 29 times.
The vocals, organ, and drums were played on 2 tape machines slightly out of sync to get the phasing effect.
When the ending is reversed, it sounds suspiciously like "Paul is bloody." This added to the "Paul is Dead" hoax.
Saving Abel "Addicted"
Vocalist Jared Weeks wrote this song about sexual escapades in the early days of Saving Abel. He recalled on the band's website: "I used to work at a hospital. I'd have to be there at 4:30 in the morning drawing blood. I'd wake people up and stick a needle in their arm. I'd be walking around the hospital, singing 'Addicted' in my head, writing down the lyrics on patients' clipboards and doctor script pads.
"Saving Abel got its name from the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. Guitarist Jason Null explained on his band's website: "I googled the story of Cain and Abel and found a line about 'there was no Saving Abel,' which just jumped out at me."
Abel was a son of Adam and Eve. As a shepherd, he made burnt offerings of meat to God, which were more acceptable than the fruits offered by his brother Cain. The jealous Cain then murdered Abel.
Local H "Bound for the floor"
This song is written from the viewpoint of someone who is concerned for another. The verses are this person mocking what he thinks the other is feeling, saying that the person he is concerned about is acting as if there is no point to life, that he was born to have bad things happen to him. The chorus is the concerned person telling the other to fight against it.
The key to unlocking the song is understanding the chorus, and in order to do so, you must know the term "copacetic." Copacetic is a slang term meaning fine, completely satisfactory, and okay. The lyrics, "And you just don't get it, you keep it copacetic" mean that this person doesn't understand that he can't keep it all inside and pretend that everything is okay. The lines, "And you learn to accept it, you know you're so pathetic" mean that this person is pathetic for trying to hide his true feelings and accept all the bad things that are happening to him.
Thrice "The melting point of wax"
There are references to Greek Mythology in this song. The speaker is Icarus from The Flight of Icarus, who created wings made of wax that melted when he flew too close to the sun. The song is about determination and the joys of flight, both literally and metaphorically. The Thrice song "Daedalus" is written from the perspective of Icarus' father.
Red Hot Chili Peppers "Can't Stop"
For this song, lead singer Anthony Kiedis wrote the lyrics around the music. The words are a somewhat random collection of thoughts, with some creative rhyming thrown in to fit the rhythm of the song ("Can I get 2 maybe even 3 of these, come from space to teach you of the pleiades"). The song encourages the listener to live with passion and individuality ("This life is more than just a read-through"), something the Chili Peppers have done throughout their career.