Date Rape by Sublime Lyrics Meaning – Unpacking the Harsh Realities of Consent and Justice


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Sublime's Date Rape at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning

Lyrics

Let me tell you about a girl I know
Had a drink about a hour ago
Sitting in a corner by herself, in a bar in downtown hell

She heard a noise and she looked through the door
And saw a man she’d never seen before
Light skin, light blue eyes, a double-chin and a plastic smile
Well, her heart raced as he walked in the door
And took an empty seat next to her at the bar
“My brand new car is parked right outside
How’d ya like to go for a ride?”
And she said “Wait a minute I have to think”
He said, “That’s fine. May I please buy you a drink”
One drink turned into three or four and they left and got into his car
And they drove away someplace real far

Now babe the time has come
How’d ya like to have a little fun?
And she said “if we could only please be on our way, I will not run”

That’s when things got out of control
She didn’t want to, he had his way
She said, “let’s go”
He said, “no way!”
Come on babe it’s your lucky day
Shut your mouth, we’re gonna do it my way
Come on baby don’t be afraid
If it wasn’t for date rape I’d never get laid

He finished up and he started the car
He turned around and drove back to the bar
He said “now baby don’t be sad, in my opinion you weren’t half-bad”
She picked up a rock, threw it at the car, hit him in the head, now he’s got a big scar
Come on party people won’t you listen to me
Date rape stylee

The next day she went to her drawer, look up her local attorney at law
Went to the phone and filed the police report and then she took the guy’s ass to court
Well, the day he stood in front of the judge he screamed, “she lies that little slut!”
The judge knew that he was full of shit and he gave him twenty five years
And now his eyes are filled wit tears
One night in jail it was getting late
He was butt-raped by a large inmate, and he screamed
But the guards paid no attention to his cries

That’s when things got out of control
The moral of the date rape story, it does not pay to be drunk and horny
But that’s the way it had to be
They locked him up and threw away the key
Well, I can’t take pity on men of his kind
Even though he now takes it in the behind

But that’s the way it had to be
They locked him up and threw away the key
Well, I can’t take pity on men of his kind
Even though he now takes it in the behind
Date rape!

She didn’t want to, she didn’t want to, she didn’t want to, she didn’t want to
Take it!

Full Lyrics

At first glance, Sublime’s ‘Date Rape’ might seem like a buoyant tune with its upbeat ska rhythm and horns bellowing brightly in the background. Yet, as the narrative unfolds, those beats clash starkly against the dark thematic substance which unapologetically tackles the chilling subject of sexual assault.

The song narrates a tale of a woman who falls prey to a predator, and while the lyrics echo the colloquial speech of the ’90s Southern California scene, the message remains evergreen and pointedly critical. ‘Date Rape’ confronts the grim issues surrounding consent, and in an unanticipated twist, serves up a dose of poetic justice that breaks away from the realm of lyrical norms.

Deceptive Upbeats and Unexpected Juxtapositions

Despite its sinister subject matter, Sublime’s infamously catchy ditty cloaks itself in a peppy, ska-punk shell. The deceptive upbeat music serves a dual purpose: drawing in the listener with its infectious groove while sharply juxtaposing the gravity of the narrative, thereby intensifying the impact of the story being told.

It’s this surprising blend of sound and story that makes ‘Date Rape’ arrestingly effective. The band juxtaposes sonic joy against narrative horror, effectively forcing listeners to confront uncomfortable truths hiding behind a veil of melody.

A Gritty Tale of Predation and Retaliation

The song’s lyrics paint a clear, if unsettling, picture. A woman, simply minding her own business, is approached by a seemingly harmless man with light blue eyes and a plastic smile. His friendly facade swiftly shifts into sinister intent, leading to the traumatic crux of the song’s narrative.

Sublime doesn’t pull punches in detailing the aftermath—anger, retribution, and eventually, legal recourse. It’s a storytelling arc that mirrors the real-life complexities victims face when addressing assault: confusion, fear, and the eventual fight for justice.

The Hidden Meaning: Satire as a Social Commentary

While the song’s surface might read as straightforward narration, there’s a hidden layer of biting satire all throughout. Sublime uses ‘Date Rape’ to ignite discussion on the societal views that trivialize sexual assault and the flawed perspectives on masculinity and entitlement.

Bradley Nowell and his band manage to skewer toxic narratives by granting the assaulter a caricatured persona that’s all too recognizable—and loathsome. In their deft handling of verse, they ironically highlight the absurdity of the perpetrator’s self-justification and his shock at the consequences of his actions.

Vivid Imagery and Memorable Lines: The Harsh Reality of ‘No’

‘Did she said ‘let’s go’ / He said ‘no way!’ / Come on babe it’s your lucky day / Shut your mouth, we’re gonna do it my way’. The blatantly clear refusal by the protagonist and the rapist’s subsequent response form perhaps the most chilling lines in the song.

Sublime’s masterful storytelling provides more than just a cautionary tale; it’s a narrative that embeds itself into the listener’s consciousness. These lines, stark and unyielding, serve as a grim reminder of the horrors that can unfold when consent is cast aside for erroneous entitlement.

The Victory of Justice and the Bittersweet End

In a twist that defies the tragic endings often fated to such stories in music and real life, ‘Date Rape’ ends with the assailant getting his comeuppance. It’s a conclusion that, while unsettling in its delivery, hands down a sense of rough justice usually absent from sexual assault narratives.

This resolution is tinged with the vengeful glee of a morality tale, as the song closes with the ironic punchline—prison is where the rapist now faces his own sexual assault. It’s a dark, sobering end to a song that began with such deceptive levity, emphasizing Sublime’s unapologetic approach in addressing the darkest aspects of our society.

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