Lately (not really, it’s a constant thing in my life) I’ve been obsessed with 90s dance music. Upon my late-night drives home from work and class, I blast it as it brings childhood nostalgia and makes me happy. It also keeps me awake. But recently, I made a musical epiphany: some of the most popular 90s dance songs have some arguably sad meanings.
*Disclaimer* This is not to take away from a general love all humans on this earth should have for 90s music. In fact, it adds a sense of relatability to them. There are six songs in particular I use to plead my case, and hear me out: “Blue” by Eiffel 65, “Rhythm of the Night” by Corona, “Believe” by Cher, “Better Off Alone” by Alice Deejay, “Dragostea Din Tei” by O-Zone, and “What is Love” by Haddaway.
In “Blue,” it goes without saying that the song is about a man with depression and severe feelings of loneliness per the line “Cause he ain’t got no one to listen.” “Rhythm of the Night,” in my interpretation, is a plea for a lover to not leave while enjoying a night’s festivities with them. I believe this pleading from the line, “I don’t wanna face the world in tears / please think again, I’m on my knees.”
In “Believe,” even though it revolves around finding acceptance in a lover’s sudden absence, it is a question of if life can be the same afterward.
“Better Off Alone” asks an opposing question of whether the one who broke it off really could be happy with their choice. Upon researching the translation of “Dragostea Din Tei,” it’s about reflecting upon the rejection by someone they were deeply and covertly in love with. Without a doubt, “What is Love?” is about an emotionally abusive relationship.
There is such a strange correlation of depressing themes paired with melodies that literally had people dancing in the 90s. Though love is a common language, I feel pain and the pain of others (regardless of the source) can be an identifiable medium for one to take comfort in. If someone else is or has gone through similar circumstances and then expressed it into a mode as joyous as a 90s dance song, then whatever may be the current circumstance can be made through—maybe even danced to. That is why I pump up the jams.