Who remembers those “Wrong Lyrics Christina” memes from 2011? They were a thing after Christina Aguilera messed up the words to the national anthem at the Super Bowl, and they were both great ("concrete jungle wet dream tomaaato") and relatable. It was fun to make fun of 'Stina, but the truth is you know that you, too, run the risk of being embarrassed by some mistaken song lyrics you're still singing wrong after all these years.
Here to help is a list of some of the most common "mondegreens" – a word coined especially to denote a misheard lyric – from the decade that brought us some of the best pop music we could ask for.
1. “When I Grow Up” by The Pussycat Dolls
What you heard: "When I grow up, I wanna see the world, drive nice cars, I wanna have boobies."
Actual lyric: "When I grow up, I wanna see the world, drive nice cars, I wanna have groupies."
If you were a preteen girl when this song came out, you are well aware of this controversy already. But, for anyone who needs catching up: The Pussycat Dolls are liars and they're saying boobies. That's really it.
2.“It's Gonna Be Me” by *NSYNC
What you heard: "It's gonna be May."
Actual lyric: "It's gonna be me."
So, despite the May Day memeing we've all become accustomed to, Justin Timberlake is technically saying "me," not "May," in this song. Don't let this realization stop you, though. It's not your fault JT created a confusing diphthong in the word “me." It's that nasally accent he picked up in boy band land.
3. “U Don't Have To Call” by Usher
What you heard: "Listen, Ninja friends."
Actual lyric: "Listening to friends."
The real lyrics here chastise Usher's girl for listening to her friends and leaving him. The misheard lyrics here show a bossy Usher about to drop some wisdom on his ninja friends. Choose your own adventure.
4. “Sugar, We're Goin Down” by Fall Out Boy
What you heard:
- "A loaded cat carcass, stuck in the pudding."
- "A Mardi Gras contest, park it then pull it."
- "A Loki jaw complex, struck with a bullet."
Actual lyric: "A loaded god complex, cock it and pull it."
These are just some of the million ways people have misheard this lyric, which is understandable since Patrick Stump tends to do that vowel-y, pop punk whine thing that makes him pretty hard to understand. For example, until today I thought the chorus of this song said “We're going down down in the burial ground” – turns out it's “an earlier round.” Who knew!
5. “Chasing Pavements” by Adele
What you heard: "Should I give up, or should I just keep chasing penguins?"
Actual lyric: "Should I give up, or should I just keep chasing pavements?"
I mean, I think it sounds like she's saying pavements. This is a crowd favorite when it comes to misheard lyrics, but I'm gonna stick to my guns on this one… even if it leads nowhere.
6. “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” by Eiffel 64
What you heard: "I'm blue, if I was green I would die."
Actual lyric: "I'm blue, da be bee da ba die."
This song came out around the same time I was gaining consciousness as a human being, so I regard it with the same hazy, pre-memory kind of love I have for other 1999 daycare field trip favorites like “I Just Can't Wait to be King” from The Lion King and “Larger Than Life” by the Backstreet Boys. All of this is to say that music is about making memories and lyrics are not a matter of da be dee da ba life and da be dee da ba death.
7. “How You Remind Me” by Nickelback
What you heard: "Cause Little Women must have damn near killed you."
Actual lyric: "Cause living with me must have damn near killed you."
So, in this case, the "you" in "what you heard" is one person I found on a website entirely devoted to cataloging misheard song lyrics. This lyric is often misheard, but I have a lot of fun knowing that someone out there thought that Chad Kroeger was longingly singing to a girl who has something so special about her, he thinks she would've been really affected by Little Women. Like, what would make him think that? Why would Little Women have damn near killed her? Maybe she lost a sister? Lived in genteel poverty for a period of time? Really liked kites?
8. “Gold Digger” by Kanye West
What you heard: "She give me money when I'm in need."
Actual lyric: "She take my money when I'm in need."
I know, I know. The first time Jamie Foxx sings this hook he definitely does say “take" and the idea of a gold digger giving Kanye West money when he's in need doesn't make a lot of sense, but all the other times you hear the hook it sounds like he's saying "give." Like, spot on. Just listen and then call me a liar.
9. “I'm Yours” by Jason Mraz
What you heard: "Well you done done me and you bet I felt it."
Actual lyric: "Well you dawned on me and you bet I felt it."
He's not saying “done done”? My life is a lie! I'll never know what it means to be “done done!”
10. “Whatever You Like” by T.I.
What you heard: "I want Joe Biden, need Joe Biden."
Actual lyric: "I want your body, need your body."
So, again this is a "one guy thought this" situation more than a "we all thought this" situation, but I really admire whoever that one guy is. Who cares about T.I.'s mysterious “you” and her body? Not this guy. Not me, either. We care about Joe Biden. We want his maverick leadership. We need his undying optimism. Joe, come back! You can have whatever you like!