'Slide' by the Goo Goo Dolls Was About a Teenage Couple Contemplating Abortion

In the late ’90s, the Goo Goo Dolls put out top-charting and radio friendly music. The band is also deeply embedded in the decade’s pop culture history. It was during their 1995 tour with No Doubt and Bush that Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale met. And frontman Johnny Rzeznik’s wispy, highlighted hairdo inspired both men’s and women’s hairstyles. As an alternative group whose music is easy on the ears, their songs still have plenty of airplay. Just listen closely at grocery stores, gas stations, and elevators. One of the Goo Goo Dolls’ biggest hits was “Slide” — and at first listen, the song sounds like an ode to teenage love, but is it really?  

‘Slide’ by the Goo Goo Dolls is not a love song

“Slide” was released by the Goo Goo Dolls in September 1998. The song spent a whopping 35 weeks on the Billboard charts and even peaked in the No. 1 spot. With lyrics like “I wanna wake up where you are,” and “And what you are is beautiful,” it’s obviously a love song, right?

The tune is certainly upbeat. It’s the type of song people jam to while driving, without even realizing they’re singing along. The band even reworked the lyrics and performed on Sesame Street. In the kid friendly version, Elmo takes “Pride” in all of the things he can do for himself.

But a little digging on the internet reveals that “Slide” is actually about a teenage couple contemplating abortion.

What’s the real meaning of the Goo Goo Dolls’ ‘Slide’?

Over on Reddit, music fans have talked about “Slide,” reveaing how the song is about abortion. One commenter wondered if the lyrics were autobiographical. 

According to Bustle, Rzeznick explained that the song is in fact about an unintended pregnancy. The young couple debates their options, including abortion or getting married. Whether this situation happened to Rzeznick or another band member is unknown, but it makes for some impactful lyrics.

The same Reddit thread also pointed out that another ’90s hit, “Brick” by Ben Folds Five is also about abortion. Frontman Ben Folds told Tidal that the circumstances in the song actually happened to him and his high school girlfriend. He went on to tell the magazine, “I never intended to have these moments in my songwriting career that were that … out there, from my personal life.” 

So much for thinking these radio hits were about happy couples! What other supposed “love songs” from that decade were misunderstood? 

BuzzFeed compiled a list of other songs that sound like they’re about love, but have darker meanings. “Crash Into Me” by the Dave Matthews Band is about a creepy stalker. (Ewww.) 

And for anyone who thought that “The Way” by Fastball is about a couple on a road trip, they’re only half right. The song is about an elderly couple who disappeared, and were later found at the bottom of a gorge.  

Luckily for ’90s kids, these lyrics went right over their heads. 

Plenty of other ’90s lyrics were misinterpreted, too

In what might be the ultimate shocker, “Closing Time” by Minneapolis band Semisonic is not about the last call at a bar. Semisonic frontman Dan Wilson set the record straight when he told fans the song is about fatherhood and birth. Who would have guessed?

U2’s hit “One” has seen its fair share of airplay at wedding receptions. It’s about finding “the one” and happily ever after, isn’t it? Not so fast; the song is actually about Bono’s rocky relationship with his father. 

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