According to one reviewer's interpretation, the song "was about a middle-aged man's disappointment with a young lover ("Hey Nineteen, that's 'Retha Franklin / She don't remember the Queen of Soul / It's hard times befallen the Soul Survivors / She thinks I'm crazy but I'm just growing old")." Donald Fagen once said in an interview that his hope was that songs like "Hey 19" would be enjoyed by soccer moms in dentist chairs bobbing their heads unaware of the filthy lyrics. From Brian Sweet's book- Fagen- "Sentimental love is the stock in trade of every songwriter. Actually, we use it quite often, but we just try to change the angle a little and change the quality of the relationships a bit. It's innuendo and innuendo is a tradition in rhythm and blues." Becker- "I don't know how many songs we've written about whores--it must be every other one. It's all very deliberate. You can only say so much about love. I don't see anything unreasonable about 'Hey Nineteen'. I think that song's self-explanatory, if not strictly autobiographical. I figured a lot of people could identify with it."