The Rough Night Wiki

"Hide and Seek" is a song by Imogen Heap. It was sampled in "Whatcha Say" by Jason Derülo, and its vocoder harmonies have been taken up by Tiesto and the OC to sappy effect. I first heard it in "Whatcha Say," and I looked up the lyrics immediately. The song is about some sort of defeat and disappointment, but the words are sometimes opaque, and there's a debate on the internet as to what she means.

The most common explanation is that she's singing about the Holocaust, but the cleverest one I read had worked out a theory about Native American displacement. That reading is based on the climactic line, "They were here first." The settlers brought in "trains and sewing machines" that hadn't been around "before the takeover," and the government may "say that [it] only meant well," but nowadays politicians "don't care a bit." People on lyrics sites wrote long arguments over every line. The refined version is very convincing. It's very elegant and totally made-up.

On the message board where someone posted Heap's explanation, that the song was about her father getting remarried, most posts shrugged off the misinterpretations. If they had known she was British, they said, it would have been so obvious: "It has that line 'they were here first.' Not in London they weren't."

And I'll bet most of the people who contributed to it on the various message boards started with that line, "They were here first." It's the most obvious link to Native Americans, and after that connection took hold the other lines started to look like they supported it. The comments argued about interpretations, made-up things, as if anything other than the writer's confirmation would make them true, as if anything other than another song would make them stop listening. Meanwhile, Heap knew what she'd meant, and she got tired of performing the song to audiences that kept being surprised.