"Pop Goes The World" as written by and Ivan Doroschuk....
Pop Goes The World
Men Without Hats

Johnny played guitar, Jenny played bass.
Name of the band is The Human Race.
Everybody tell me have you heard? Pop goes the world.

Jenny played keyboard, Johnny played drums,
Called Little Baby and a big Bonhomme
Everybody tell me have you heard? Pop Goes The World.

It goes something like this: (p p p pop)

Johnny and Jenny had a crazy dream,
See their pictures in a magazine.
Every little boy needs a girl.
Pop Goes The World.

Jenny and Johnny getting smart (it seems)
Made more money on a movie screen.
Every little nest needs a bird.
Pop Goes The World.

One two three and four is five,
Everybody here is a friend of mine.
Whatever happened to the Duke of Earl?
Pop Goes The World.

Six seven eight and nine is ten,
Send Al Gunn to see the doctor (Ben)
Say what planet are we on? The third!
Pop Goes The World.

And Every time I wonder where the world went wrong,
End up lying on my face going ringy dingy ding dong

And every time I wonder if the world is right,
End up in some disco dancing all night & day.

Johnny played guitar, Jenny played bass,
Name of the band is The Human Race.
Everybody tell me have you heard? Pop Goes The World.

Johnny played guitar, Jenny played bass,
Ain't nobody couldn't take their place.
Everybody tell me have you heard? Pop Goes The World...


Lyrics submitted by estoguy

"Pop Goes the World" as written by Ivan Doroschuk

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Pop Goes The World song meanings
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16 Comments

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  • +6
    General Commentthis album was created as a story. it tells the story of jonny and jenny throughout all the songs. the entire thing is told in incredibly cryptic poetry, however, and can be really tough to interpret. i spent a lot of time a few years back finding the lyrics and interpreting them as best i could. it begins with this song setting up the story. jenny and jonny were two musicians with a message. they became more popular than air and ended up selling out. they had a daughter named tuesday, which explains that song. the themes and metaphors stay the same through the entire album. angels refer to jonny's dependence on jenny and rainbows refer to his increasing dependence on drugs. there are more, but i havn't listened to the songs for a while and they escape me.
    and maggot brain, jenny wore black is near the end of the album just after jonny overdoses. it explains about her being in a constant state of flux between severe grief and fervent denial. she is losing her mind because she can't cope with her grief. 'jenny was here she was almost in time' i think means that she had arrived just too late to find and save jonny. 'jenny concealed all but her smile' is her shielding over her emotions and hiding them from her friends and family with outward happiness. the next song is walk on water, which goes back to the beginning when they were stars. 'they said that we could walk on water' and 'they said we were the second coming' the band was loved so much that people thought that they could do anything. this 'walking on water' sets up the final song where jenny drowns herself in the ocean. 'as we walk through the sea to the sand' and 'floating waist high in tendrils of green' are some of the most moving lyrics i've ever heard. and while it's such a sad ending, you can still take some comfort in knowing that somewhere, the two of them are together again, waiting for the end of the world, when we can all meet them again.
    seanthedon June 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWho's seen the video? I love it!! Ivan jumping around like such a wack doing his little dance to PGTW! It's great!! And then the snowmen from the Quebec winter carnival!! God I love them!!
    anzieon August 20, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthey were a fun band and this was there best song hands down, sometimes music doesn't have to be so sad or cold, have fun!!!!
    poohblueskyon April 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYou both make good statements, but I still don't get this song. ARGH! Why don't I understand any songs?!
    Ultimate Panopticonon May 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree... there's gotta be a meaning to the song, like how Safety Dance was rumored to be about nuclear war or whatever.
    pikespiceon September 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSeems to be about the astronomic escalation of media success and the people that take the ride.Jenny also gets a mention in "Jenny wore black",a song which I have offered a large reward for many years now, to anyone who can give me the slightest idea what it is about.
    maggot brainon January 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song has become a soccer anthem in South America. Of course, with a total change in the lyrics in order to fit the spirit of the game.
    I believe the 99.9% of the people who sing it at the stadium don't know the originall Men Without Hats Song.
    Alienoon February 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat maggot brain said. Also seems to have some elements of shared human experience. Jenny and Johnny are just two more kids creating something together. Some people make it big doing that, and some people don't.

    The best part is the bridge about the world going wrong and being right. Something about it gives me chills. It's about being young and having fun to forget about the big questions that would keep you up at night otherwise.
    Kyomaraon November 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI get the impression that "Johnny" and "Jenny" are representative of everyone (name of the band is The Human Race), and that they're basically creative people who get co-opted by The System.

    The world going "pop" might be a reference to the notion that it's all going to end soon (nuclear war [Little Baby & Big Bonhomme = Fat Man & Little Boy?], environmental devastation, etc.) and that, at the same time, the world is going "pop" (popular/shallow); since MWH would work social protest into their songs with both an international and cultural perspective, maybe the play on words was their way of expressing that the two are feeding off of each other: everyone thinks armageddon is just around the corner, so they live for today -- at the risk of indulging in a hedonistic, superficial escapism which all but guarantees a continuation of the same unacceptable status quo they're trying to escape. Not much has changed in 20 years, has it? ;)

    The first two verses deal with Johnny and Jenny as musicians. The next two suggest that Johnny and Jenny are in love and wanting to have a kid (boy needs a girl / nest needs a bird), which means they're going to have to make some money off of their otherwise 'pure' creative pursuit. So they focus less on just making decent songs, and more on their image. They'd like to see themselves in magazines and, later, they get smart (it seems) and go into movies. Along the way, they've sold out and lost their music.

    With the countoff, MWH seems to be saying that the crowd who came to see them are people who genuinely like music, and that MWH themselves are musicians and not idol singers. Everyone there is a friend of theirs. Or, on the flip side, maybe they're capping on smarmy pop singers who might actually believe that everyone in the crowd is a 'friend' of theirs. And whatever happened to the Duke of Earl? That was a pop song with an honest underpinning of soul, and that seems to be what MWH think pop music should be about: it can be fun, but it has to have substance.

    It could be that "Al Gunn" refers to Alexander Gunn, who got into the Canadian House of Commons back in the 19th century and was also famous for being a really macho, fashion savvy, rugby-playing lady's man - one of those whiter-than-white rugged individualists with a big moustache. And maybe "Dr. Ben" refers to Yosef Ben-Jochannan, a guy who has a strongly afrocentric and often pseudo-historical read on history (e.g. Aristotle and Alexander the Great took a road trip together to the Library of Alexandria, everything good came from Africa, et cetera). Say, what planet are we on? I imagine Gunn and Doc Ben are being presented as polar opposites, though I'm only guessing these are the guys MWH had in mind.

    And then we're at the bridge, and it's the heart of the song. MWH realizes that they don't get anywhere attempting to unravel the world's ills, either. Trying to figure out where the world went wrong is such a confusing, complex prospect that you wind up doing a faceplant thinking about it, and persisting could drive you nuts. Ding dong! On the other hand, if you don't consider it at all, you think everything's 'right' and hit the disco for another evening of distraction. MWH thinks there's a middle way between obsession and dissipation?

    The song closes by throwing it back in your lap. You're either a Johnny or a Jenny (ain't nobody couldn't take their place), so how are you going to handle it? Sell out, zone out, or proceed from a deeper consciousness? Maybe the world going 'pop' is a suggestion that MWH thinks the answer lies in populism, the common people vs. the elites? And so they keep asking, "Everybody, tell me, have you heard?" Did you get the message?

    Hope that's not too navel-gazy...
    FunWithEthansAtomon April 11, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt seems to be about musicians selling out and losing their passion for music. This song should get way more credit.
    ledzepfloyd1101on April 25, 2010   Link

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