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#1
Old 12-11-2015, 07:19 AM
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Was there a hidden meaning to the song Livin' La Vida Loca?

Yes, I know, I'm 16 years late.

Here's the song's video: https://youtube.com/watch?v=p47fEXGabaY

A few of the song and video's aspects, organized by theme:



Sensory distortions:

"Upside, inside out"

"Woke up in New York city in a funky cheap hotel"
The video makes it seem like the guy doesn't know where he is when he wakes up.

The editing and effects from 1:30 to 1:35 morph audio, image and time in a surreal way. Also note how the woman interacts with nothing other than the man. Her clothes keep changing but his clothes stay the same. At precisely 1:36, he's touching her then they both morph into him and he's touching himself.




Mania, impulsivity and profligate behavior:
"She's into new sensations new kicks in the candle light.
She's got a new addiction for every day and night."

"She took my heart and she took my money
she must've slipped me a sleeping pill
She never drinks the water and makes you order French Champagne"

"She'll make you take your clothes off and go dancing in the rain."



Dangers:
"I feel a premonition that girl's gonna make me fall."

"She'll push and pull you down"
"Her lips are devil red"
"She will wear you out"

"Once you've had a taste of her you'll never be the same
Yeah, she'll make you go insane."

"she'll take away your pain like a bullet to your brain."



"She'll make you live her crazy life but she'll take away your pain
like a bullet to your brain."




If the woman the song talks about seems unreal and worse than Carmen, it may be because she's a metaphor for some drugs. "Party & play" is a gay subculture where drugs and sex are mixed, especially ecstasy/MDMA and crystal meth/methamphetamine which are referred to by the female names "Molly" and "Tina".

While ecstasy/MDMA produces little harm, methamphetamine very much does* which would suggest that the song is mainly about meth.



Did the party & play subculture exist in the late 90s?

Does this hypothesis hold water?

Did anyone else comment on this possibility back then? Did anyone find it strange that a party song mentioned an entity taking your pain away like a bullet to your brain?



*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MDMA#/...s_Rankings.png
#2
Old 12-11-2015, 08:04 AM
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Dude, I thought deep lyrical interpretations were supposed to be focused on, I dunno, Dylan, or maybe Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie

Off the top of my head, I recall that the song was written by Desmond Child, famed songwriter to the rock stars, like Aerosmith. Ricky's gayness was known and accepted internal to his team, while he was still marketing himself as het sexy. I am sure they just wanted to be racy and tapped the phrases and images that were seen as dangerous and sexy at the time.

3rd Eye Blind famously got everyone's toes tapping to their alt-pop mega-hit Semi Charmed life and it was about being a meth addict.

Nile Rogers discussed writing Diana Ross's hit I'm Coming Out and using that then-insider gay phrase as a way to signal to Diana's many, many gay fans that they were acknowledged and appreciated.

My point is that yes, you find weird, disturbing drug and kinky sex references in popular songs all the time. Many songwriters are actively trying to tittilate. Think about ZZ Top's She Got me Under Pressure: "She likes cocaine, and flippin' out with Great Danes." Hey, Billy Gibbons, that's just yucky - stop that.

Last edited by WordMan; 12-11-2015 at 08:06 AM.
#3
Old 12-11-2015, 09:02 AM
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I had always assumed it was about drug use and partying. That's what "living the crazy life" would mean to me.
#4
Old 12-11-2015, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WordMan View Post
Dude, I thought deep lyrical interpretations were supposed to be focused on, I dunno, Dylan, or maybe Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie

Off the top of my head, I recall that the song was written by Desmond Child, famed songwriter to the rock stars, like Aerosmith. Ricky's gayness was known and accepted internal to his team, while he was still marketing himself as het sexy. I am sure they just wanted to be racy and tapped the phrases and images that were seen as dangerous and sexy at the time.

3rd Eye Blind famously got everyone's toes tapping to their alt-pop mega-hit Semi Charmed life and it was about being a meth addict.

Nile Rogers discussed writing Diana Ross's hit I'm Coming Out and using that then-insider gay phrase as a way to signal to Diana's many, many gay fans that they were acknowledged and appreciated.

My point is that yes, you find weird, disturbing drug and kinky sex references in popular songs all the time. Many songwriters are actively trying to tittilate. Think about ZZ Top's She Got me Under Pressure: "She likes cocaine, and flippin' out with Great Danes." Hey, Billy Gibbons, that's just yucky - stop that.
By the way, if anyone thinks I am lumping I'm Coming Out in the same "disturbing or weird" group as that silly ZZ Top song, I would feel awful. I cited it as a use of "coded worded" that was intentional to reach a specific fan base.

Last edited by WordMan; 12-11-2015 at 09:11 AM.
#5
Old 12-11-2015, 09:15 AM
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Ricky Martin didn't write the song, and I'm not sure any of the songwriters were gay. However, the first one listed on the wiki is a guy named Draco Rosa. Quoth the wiki:

Quote:
Shortly after leaving Menudo, Rosa started taking drugs, and often drew inspiration from hallucinogens and alcohol for his songwriting. Although this generated heavy criticism, most of his fans did not seem to be bothered by this. Rosa has always been very open about the subject, even admitting that his wife, Angela, saved his life on at least one occasion. Rosa stopped taking drugs in 2005.
So, not gay, but it seems very plausible that the song had a dual meaning that included drugs. There's some very literal elements (skin the color mocha) that don't seem to me to apply to drugs, and some abstract ones (take away your pain) that don't seem to make sense otherwise.
#6
Old 12-11-2015, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steronz View Post
Ricky Martin didn't write the song, and I'm not sure any of the songwriters were gay. However, the first one listed on the wiki is a guy named Draco Rosa. Quoth the wiki:



So, not gay, but it seems very plausible that the song had a dual meaning that included drugs. There's some very literal elements (skin the color mocha) that don't seem to me to apply to drugs, and some abstract ones (take away your pain) that don't seem to make sense otherwise.
Yes, Desmond Child is gay: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desm...#Personal_life
#7
Old 12-11-2015, 09:28 AM
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It never even occurred to me that the song had a hidden meaning, because it never even occurred to me that it could be about anything other than drugs of some sort. In other words, yes, it has that meaning, but it's not hidden.
#8
Old 12-11-2015, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
It never even occurred to me that the song had a hidden meaning, because it never even occurred to me that it could be about anything other than drugs of some sort. In other words, yes, it has that meaning, but it's not hidden.
Yep.
#9
Old 12-11-2015, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steronz View Post
There's some very literal elements (skin the color mocha) that don't seem to me to apply to drugs,
Crystal meth and MDMA are sometimes brown-ish in powder form.

https://google.ca/search?q=meth+...VpOQ86RB47M%3A



Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
It never even occurred to me that the song had a hidden meaning, because it never even occurred to me that it could be about anything other than drugs of some sort. In other words, yes, it has that meaning, but it's not hidden.
Well, it's a little hidden at least. I have some memory of that song playing on the Today Show and it seems surprising they'd play it if it were the only meaning.

Last edited by MichaelEmouse; 12-11-2015 at 11:27 AM.
#10
Old 12-11-2015, 11:35 AM
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Huh, I'd just figured "skin the color of mocha" was descriptive of the woman who was making the singer lead the crazy life, ie she was exotic, possibly biracial, certainly not whitebread.
#11
Old 12-11-2015, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post
Huh, I'd just figured "skin the color of mocha" was descriptive of the woman who was making the singer lead the crazy life, ie she was exotic, possibly biracial, certainly not whitebread.
It's intended to work both ways, like much of the song.
#12
Old 12-11-2015, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post
Huh, I'd just figured "skin the color of mocha" was descriptive of the woman who was making the singer lead the crazy life, ie she was exotic, possibly biracial, certainly not whitebread.
Yeah, it's literally about an intoxicating, exotic woman with a penchant for the high life and partying (and apparently drugging and robbing her suitors) but the metaphor, as you note, is one of drugs and the crazy rock star life. But pretty much any song about a relationship (particularly an unhealthy whirlwind one) can be interpreted as being about drugs.
#13
Old 12-11-2015, 03:05 PM
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In other breaking news from the Department of Metaphor Investigation, "I Want Candy" signifies not a desire to ingest sucrose, but rather a longing for sexual intercourse. As the product of an Earthbound species with only a fledgling and rudimentary capacity for space travel, however, "Another Girl, Another Planet" continues to defy analysis.
#14
Old 12-11-2015, 06:47 PM
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Next you'll be telling me that Melanie, The Rolling Stones, and Van Halen weren't really singing about skates, sugar, and cake.
#15
Old 12-11-2015, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by GoodOmens View Post
Next you'll be telling me that Melanie, The Rolling Stones, and Van Halen weren't really singing about skates, sugar, and cake.
We're through the looking glass here, people.
#16
Old 12-11-2015, 08:16 PM
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I never thought about it, but now it's obvious. In other words, good job OP.
#17
Old 12-11-2015, 11:40 PM
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I always assumed it was about sex and drugs, even as a teen I knew this.
#18
Old 12-12-2015, 03:10 PM
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It's not widely known that the Velvet Underground's "Heroin" is actually about Lou Reed's love of cocaine.
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