Think about your favorite songs. Do they all have a certain theme? Does the theme depend on the genre?
A new study by a pair of researchers at North Carolina State University suggests that lyrics are an important factor in determining a song’s success. This study looked at the top artists from the past 60 years, breaking down by decade the major lyrical themes in the No. 1 songs on Billboard’s Hot 100. According to its findings, most of what we like to listen to is steeped in suffering: “Breakup” was the most consistently popular theme, while variations on regret, uncertainty, and longing only grew more intense as pop music aged.
If themes and lyrics matter so much in music, then what do we think all the songs that include dental references really mean? We just had to ask. Would it be too much to hope that all these celebrities love going to visit their dentist? While that might be taking it a step too far, this week we’ll have a little fun by looking at all the references to your teeth and mouth that have emerged in popular songs!
Songs that sound more painful than they are!
For starters, Green Day famously wrote the song Pulling Teeth. While the song has more serious lyrics, it was actually based on an inside joke the band had with bassist Mike Dirnt after he was sent to the emergency room for injuries resulting from a pillow fight with his girlfriend.
Fischerspooner is an electroclash duo and performance troupe that wrote the song A Kick in the Teeth. This song was actually rumored to be the band’s final song. However, the bad didn’t stop there—although it was the end of their dental-inspired tunes.
Just the teeth
Lady Gaga is known for her forward leaning fashion sense right down to the vampire fangs she sported while debuting her song Teeth. To her, these vampire teeth represented her transformation as an artist.
Crooked Teeth by indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie and focuses on ordinary people living in south Florida.
New Zealand singer Lorde sings White Teeth Teens about her experience as a popular kid in high school. While this theme might give you horrible flashbacks to your teen years, she intended it to be an anthem about just being yourself—even if you don’t have white teeth.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a comprehensive list without a good country song. Brad Paisley famously sings the song Toothbrush. This song is about a romantic relationship as opposed a relationship with your dentist, of course; however, as oral health professionals we appreciate the allusion to the toothbrush as an indicator that a relationship is getting serious.
These songs are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to dental or tooth references in music! The list continues through the use of idioms like By the Skin of Your Teeth or the shout-out to gold teeth or grills. Dentistry is scattered throughout pop culture. We bet you’ll notice it all the time now!