20 Nonsensical Songs from the ’90s

"Blue (Da Ba Dee)" by Eiffel 65
1/40

Most Nonsensical Lyric: I'm blue / Da ba dee da ba di / Da ba dee da ba di / Da ba dee da ba di / Da ba dee da ba di / Da ba dee da ba di / Da ba dee da ba di / Da ba dee da ba di


"Blue (Da Ba Dee)" by Eiffel 65
2/40

Blue (Da Ba Dee)” by the Italian group Eiffel 65 is a song so strange, explanation seems almost arbitrary. However, despite the ditty’s nonsensical nature (and a music video just as bizarre), in 1998 it reached number one in a multitude of countries and even worked its way up to number six in America on the Billboard Hot 100. Two years after its release, “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” – a song made up of mostly mono-syllabic sounds – won a Grammy.


"MMMBop" by Hanson
3/40

Most Nonsensical Lyric: And when you get old and start losing your hair / Can you tell me who will still care / Can you tell me who will still care? / Oh care / Mmmbop, ba duba dop / Ba du bop, ba duba dop / Ba du bop, ba duba dop / Ba du, oh yeah


"MMMBop" by Hanson
4/40

In Hanson’s defense, they were children when the nonsensical nightmare that is "MMMbop" dropped. However, not even immaturity explains away the lyrical transition from balding to mmmbopping – the disconnect could stop one in their tracks. Much like Eiffel 65’s "Blue (Da Ba Dee)," "MMMbop" relies heavily on monosyllabic sounds to carry the chorus and, essentially, the entire song to the finish line. When asked about the inspiration for the hit song, Zac Hanson explained that the Beach Boys influenced the band in their younger, pre-fame days and that’s how the chorus came to be a (very rough) variation of doo-wop.


"Give it Away" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
5/40

Most Nonsensical Lyric: What I've got you've got to give it to your mama / What I've got you've got to give it to your pappa / What I've got you've got to give it to your daughter / You do a little dance and then you drink a little water


"Give it Away" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
6/40

“What?” is really all that comes to mind when closely listening to any number of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ songs; they are the utter definition of meticulously strung-together gibberish. In fact, lead singer Anthony Kiedis sings “Give it Away” with such confidence and conviction, you’re almost convinced there’s real meaning behind a lyric like, “My mom I love her 'cause she love me / Long gone are the times when she scrub me / Feelin' good my brother gonna hug me / Drink my juice young love chug-a-lug me.” We can always find meaning in the meaningless, and Kiedis has never been one to shy away from explicit sexual innuendo, but I have a hunch that even he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about for a majority of this joint.


"Californication" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
7/40

Most Nonsensical Lyric: Psychic spies from China try to steal your mind's elation / And little girls from Sweden dream of silver screen quotation / And if you want these kind of dreams it's Californication


"Californication" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
8/40

"Scar Tissue" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
9/40
Most Nonsensical Lyric:Push me up against the wall / Young Kentucky girl in a push-up bra / Fallin' all over myself / To lick your heart and taste your health
"Scar Tissue" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
10/40

Arguably RHCP's most coherent song, “Scar Tissue” lands on this list because it sentimentally gestures at profundity. The song falls into the nonsense zone when Kiedis mixes far-fetched metaphors with bizarre, self-centered romance.


"Loser" by Beck
11/40

Most Nonsensical Lyric: In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey / Butane in my veins and I'm out to cut the junkie / With the plastic eyeballs, spray-paint the vegetables / Dog food stalls with the beefcake pantyhose


"Loser" by Beck
12/40

Where does one begin when discussing the bizarreness of Beck’s “Loser”? Every stanza presents a new, headache-inducing labyrinth of lyrics that seem haphazardly arranged. Fortunately, Beck has an explanation for the song's egregious incoherence: "I'd be banging away on a Son House tune and the whole audience would be talking, so maybe out of desperation or boredom, or the audience's boredom, I'd make up these ridiculous songs just to see if people were listening. 'Loser' was an extension of that." This begs the question, is deliberate drivel better than unintentional nonsense?


"Steal My Sunshine" by Lens
13/40

Most Nonsensical Lyric: Now the fuzzy stare from not being there on a confusing morning week / Impaired my tribal lunar-speak / And of course you can't become if you only say what you would have done /So I missed a million miles of fun


"Steal My Sunshine" by Lens
14/40

Steal My Sunshine” by Canadian group Len dropped in the summer of ’99 and weaseled its way into all our lives. (Perhaps, we were subconsciously suckered by the discreet sample of the infamous disco track “More, More, More”). Though much of the lyrical content coming out of the ‘90s was equally ridiculous, “Steal My Sunshine” is particularly nonsensical. The entire song was conceived at a three-day rave (and the phrase “tribal lunar-speak” tells us everything we need to know about the substances involved during the writing process).


"Sex and Candy" by Marcy Playground
15/40

The Most Nonsensical Lyric: And then there she was / In platform double suede / Yeah there she was / Like disco lemonade


"Sex and Candy" by Marcy Playground
16/40

Though Marcy Playground’s “Sex and Candy” is an undeniable ‘90s staple, it lands on the list for one reason: the incredibly outrageous images it conjures. “Double cherry pie” and “disco lemonade;” the aroma of intercourse and confectionary sugar. The steamy, sticky song was inspired by a moment in John Wozniak’s life wherein his girlfriend’s roommate entered their dorm after they’d just finished making love. The roommate described the room as smelling like “sex and candy,” which Wozniak clearly found intriguing. However, in later interviews Wozniak admits, “I'm just gonna be straight up honest. I don't know....when I was writing these songs, I wasn't high, but it sounds like I was high.”


"Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba
17/40

Most Nonsensical Lyric: I get knocked down, but I get up again / You are never gonna keep me down / I get knocked down, but I get up again / You are never gonna keep me down / I get knocked down, but I get up again / You are never gonna keep me down / I get knocked down, but I get up again / You are never gonna keep me down


"Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba
18/40

Unfortunately for Chumbawamba, “Tubthumping” might top this list. Though the song’s sentence structure is mostly coherent, the almost four-minute hit repeats itself into utter oblivion (save the welcomed “pissing the night away” interpolation). In fact, the 1997 song sounds less like a pop hit and more like a malfunctioning radio-clock. Despite the single's hypnotic monotony, the British ditty landed at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 just months after its release.


"Heart-Shaped Box" by Nirvana
19/40

Most Nonsensical Lyric: Meat-eating orchids forgive no one just yet / Cut myself on angel hair and baby's breath


"Heart-Shaped Box" by Nirvana
20/40

It almost feels like a sin to add the Pisces Jesus to this list, but Kurt Cobain was often a nonsense machine when it came to songwriting. Though much of what he produced worked because of the palpable pain imbued in each word, it’s undeniable that songs like “Heart-Shaped Box” are largely comprised of incoherent gibberish – beautiful as it is.


"Plateau" by Nirvana
21/40

Most Nonsensical Lyric: Nothing on the top but a bucket and a mop / And an illustrated book about birds / See a lot up there but don't be scared / Who needs action when you got words


"Plateau" by Nirvana
22/40

Performed live at what might be the most iconic MTV Unplugged, “Plateau” almost begs to be interpreted and understood. But, alas, it too weighs heavy on the nonsense scale. However, in Kurt Cobain’s defense, he admitted in many interviews that he often purposely produced witty gibberish to fit the melody. If Virginia Wolfe were alive, she’d probably call “Plateau” an exercise in stream-of-consciousness.


"Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana
23/40

Most Nonsensical Lyric: With the lights out, it's less dangerous / Here we are now, entertain us / I feel stupid and contagious / Here we are now, entertain us / A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido


"Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana
24/40

The only song on Nevermind to give writing credit to all three band members, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was, admittedly, a Pixie’s rip-off. Cobain recalled in an interview striving to make “the ultimate pop song” and, in doing so, also created one of the most beloved alt-rock songs in history. However, the grunge jam is not without flaw. When asked about the song’s conception in an interview, Cobain admitted, “The entire song is made up of contradictory ideas. For example, the chorus is full of nice words that rhymed: ‘A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido.’” Oh, and the name of the song isn’t as revolutionary as it sounds. Instead, it refers to a popular brand of deodorant aimed at young girls in the ‘90s. How’s that for nonsensical?


"Buddy Holly" by Weezer
25/40

Most Nonsensical Lyric: Don't you ever fear, I'm always near / I know that you need help / Your tongue is twisted, your eyes are slit / You need a guardian


"Buddy Holly" by Weezer
26/40

At first glance, Weezer’s 1994 hit “Buddy Holly” reads like a love song. But when you dissect the lyrics, they don’t say much of anything at all. What’s more, Rivers Cuomo, the lead singer of Weezer, penned the song about his Asian girlfriend. The offensive lyrics are quite literally nonsense.


"Barbie Girl" by Aqua
27/40

Most Nonsensical Lyric: I'm a blond bimbo girl in a fantasy world / Dress me up, make it tight, I'm your dolly / You're my doll, rock'n'roll, feel the glamour in pink / Kiss me here, touch me there, hanky panky


"Barbie Girl" by Aqua
28/40

Aside from the obviously misogynistic implications of Aqua’s “Barbie Girl,” the song was wildly popular in the ‘90s – no thanks to any sort of deeper meaning or intelligibility. A footnote on the back of the Aquarium album states that the song is a “social commentary,” though glorifying coercive control doesn’t exactly promote change. Nonsense. Pure nonsense. 


"Ironic" by Alanis Morrisette
29/40

Most Nonsensical Lyric: It's like rain on your wedding day / It's a free ride when you've already paid / It's the good advice that you just didn't take / And who would've thought, it figures


"Ironic" by Alanis Morrisette
30/40

First things first: Alanis Morrisette is the queen of deep, meaningful lyrics and thus barely deserves to be on this list. However, there’s no ignoring her massive faux pas. Nowhere in her four-minute hit does she describe an ironic circumstance. This, unfortunately, renders the entire song nonsensical. Luckily, Alanis eventually acknowledged her misuse of the word.


"One Week" by Barenaked Ladies
31/40

Most Nonsensical Lyric: Hold it now and watch the hoodwink / As I make you stop, think / You'll think you're looking at Aquaman / I summon fish to the dish, although I like the Chalet Swiss / I like the sushi 'cause it's never touched a frying pan


"One Week" by Barenaked Ladies
32/40

One Week” by Barenaked Ladies starts out as an ode to an argument and abruptly transitions to utter gibberish. It's bad enough that Barenaked Ladies is a ska/rap band masquerading as a rock band, but trying to pass off complete balderdash as meaningful is absolutely egregious.


"Wannabe" by Spice Girls
33/40

Most Nonsensical Lyric: I wanna, (ha) I wanna, (ha) I wanna, (ha) I wanna, (ha) / I wanna really, really, really wanna zigazig ah


"Wannabe" by Spice Girls
34/40

Some decades after the Spice Girls took over the world, Mel C – otherwise known as Sporty Spice – admitted that the illustrious “zigazig ah” lyric was actually a code-name for “sex.” But, seeing as the group’s fan base was mostly made-up of yelping young girls, “zigazig ah” served its purpose well. Unfortunately, “Wannabe” still must go down in the nonsense hall of fame – for “zigazig ah” and coaxing a love interest to fornicate with your friends.


N935-1619560668
35/40
"Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden

Most Nonsensical Lyric: Stuttering / Cold and damp / Steal the warm wind, tired friend / Times are gone / For honest men / Sometimes, far too long for snakes / In my shoes / Walking sleep / In my youth, I pray to keep


"Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden
36/40

Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” is a powerful, dark, and deep song, but that's mostly because Chris Cornell’s delivery is nothing short of poignant. He makes you believe there’s meaning in those meticulously randomized words. And, perhaps, there is (though it’s highly unlikely). Chris Cornell even admitted, “[The song] sparked from something a news anchor said on TV and I heard wrong. I heard 'blah blah blah black hole sun blah blah blah'. I thought that would make an amazing song title, but what would it sound like?”


"Champagne Supernova" by Oasis
37/40

Most Nonsensical Lyric: Wake up the dawn and ask her why / A dreamer dreams she never dies /Wipe that tear away now from your eye / Slowly walkin' down the hall / Faster than a cannonball / Where were you while we were getting high?


"Champagne Supernova" by Oasis
38/40

Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova” is a beloved ‘90s classic,  but it reads like a lofty, Beatles-inspired LSD trip. And that’s okay – much worse songs have gotten away with a lot more nonsense. However, “Champagne Supernova” lands itself on this list for one reason and one reason only: Even Noel Gallagher can’t pinpoint what exactly the lyrics are trying to communicate. “It means different things when I'm in different moods… I couldn't think of anything that rhymed with ‘hall’ apart from ‘cannonball’ so I wrote, ‘Slowly walking down the hall, faster than a cannonball.’”


"Summer Girls" by LFO
39/40

Most Nonsensical Lyric: Macaulay Culkin was in Home Alone / Fell deep in love, but now we ain't speakin' / Michael J. Fox was Alex P. Keaton / When I met you, I said my name is Rich / You look like a girl from Abercrombie & Fitch


"Summer Girls" by LFO
40/40

When pop group LFO released their 1999 single “Summer Girls,” it skyrocketed to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 – there was no rhyme (rhyming “speaking” with “Keaton” isn’t exactly poetry) or reason. But it stayed there for quite a while before, a decade later, landing on Billboard’s list of biggest summer songs of all time.


"Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden

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