Hey Ya! is a song you’d want to dance to, right? Well, Outkast have tweeted a meme which has made people realise the sad meaning behind the hit song.
When I first read the name of the song ahead of writing this article, two things went through my head: the hip-hop duo singing ‘hey ya’; and lyrics like ‘shake it like a polaroid picture.’
Listen to the words a little closer. Read the lyrics over. Since 2003, most of us have been singing this song oblivious to the true meaning behind it – and it’s pretty heartbreaking.
Outkast recently tweeted a meme regarding their Hey Ya! track, essentially splitting it up into how we react to it. The first fifth is simply ‘a bop’, before the rest is dubbed ‘the saddest song ever written.’
TikTok user Elizabeth (@elizadeva) broke this down earlier this month, explaining in a video: ‘I know y’all know the song Hey Ya! by Outkast. But what you didn’t know is the song actually has a darker meaning behind it.’
She says: ‘André 3000 actually wrote this about modern-day relationships and how messed up they are. In the beginning of the song, he even references his own relationship; how his baby doesn’t wanna leave him, how doesn’t really know what the reason is behind it.’
Elizabeth continues: ‘What he’s talking about is in modern-day relationships, people stay in them because they just don’t want to be alone, not because of their love for the other person.’
The lyrics read: ‘We get together, oh, we get together, but separate’s always better when there’s feelings involved… know what they say, nothing lasts forever! Then what makes it, then what makes it, then what makes love the exception? So why, oh, why, oh… are we still in denial when we know we’re not happy here?’
Elizabeth says: ‘If you just read the lyrics it actually sounds like a really sad song. Even at the breakdown at the end, he makes a reference to how people are just gonna see it as a happy song and not even think about the deeper meaning behind it, nor do they even wanna hear about it.’
Later in the song, André 3000 sings: ‘Y’all don’t want to hear me, you just want to dance.’
Outkast’s tweet has racked up more than 140,000 likes, with hundreds of fans shocked at the true meaning behind the song. One user wrote: ‘Because we didn’t want to hear, we just wanted to dance.’
Another user commented: ‘OMG, I sang these lyrics word for word happy af, never really noticing until I was today years old, that the reason why I love and resonated with this song so much is because the lyrics are literally my life… my sad, sad life.’