TLC fans are only just cottoning on to the important meaning behind 'Waterfalls'.
Like many tunes you used to prance around your bedroom to, screeching at the top of your lungs through your hairbrush microphone, dancing like nobody was watching, your naive and young mind had little time - or care - to truly think about the lyrics you were singing.
'Waterfalls' by TLC, which is - and always will be - an absolute banger, is one song which I often bellowed out while in the shower, or listened to on my iPod while staring out the car window pretending I was in a music video. But did I know what the lyrics were truly about? No, I didn't have the foggiest.
Other fans of the song have been left as equally mind-blown after realising the important message the song promotes.
Prepare to rethink your entire childhood:
If you thought the 'waterfall' sung about by TLC was actually a genuine waterfall, think again.
The 'waterfall' is a metaphor for many much more adult themes.
The first verse of the lyrics tells the story of a mother who can't communicate or reach out to her son who 'can't seem to keep his self out of trouble'.
The lyrics soon take a turn with the line: "So, he goes out and he makes his money the best way he know how/ Another body laying cold in the gutter."
And it only gets darker.
The chorus essentially narrates the mother begging her son to not stray too far chasing 'waterfalls' - which Songfacts claims is 'money and respect by dealing drugs'.
"The second verse deals with a man's relationship with a woman. His 'waterfall' is casual sex - he has a 'natural obsession for temptation'.
"This could mean he is cheating on someone or the woman he is seeing is cheating on someone. Either way, he contracts HIV and dies ('three letters took him to his final resting place')," the site explains.
Other questionable lyrics for us to have been singing as children read: "For tootin' caine in your own vein/ You shoot and aim for someone else's brain/ For fallin prey to crime/ I say the system got you victim to your own mind."
The lyrics infer issues with drug addiction, crime and mental health.
However, the song's overall message is raising awareness of the beginning of the AIDS crisis - the first reported cases in 1981.
In an interview with The Guardian, TLC member Rozonda 'Chilli' Thomas said: "We wanted to make a song with a strong message – about unprotected sex, being promiscuous, and hanging out in the wrong crowd. The messages in 'Waterfalls' hit home. I think that’s why it’s our biggest hit to date."
People have since flooded to Twitter in surprise over the darker, more meaningful and powerful messages behind the song's lyrics.
One user said: "Just looked up the meaning of Waterfalls by TLC. I did not expect that."
"My co-workers fiancée thought TLC's song was about a guy named Jason Waterfalls. Really changes up the meaning of the song," another wrote.
A third said: "Me and my older brothers song is Waterfalls by tlc It has so much meaning to us. It makes me sad when I hear it. I miss him. Love you p hars."
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the Terrance Higgins Trust on 0808 802 1221 for support, advice and information. The line is open 10am to 6pm Monday to Friday. Or email them at [email protected].
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock/TLC/YouTube
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