Lynn (lynevere) wrote,
Lynn
lynevere

Warning: This post contains explicit language.

I continue to be confused by clean and explicit songs. Are there set standards for which lyrics are allowed? Does context matter? Which version of the song is considered the real one?

Context must matter, since on a single Busted CD “bitch” is allowed in one clean song (You Said No) and not in another (Who’s David). I can only reconcile this if bitch is more offensive when referring to a woman? In You Said No, the line “my life’s such a bitch” is a-okay.

Culture also appears to matter. Wheatus’ Teenage Dirtbag came on the British radio once, and I was surprised when the word “gun” was blanked out. I’ve heard the song in the US, and guns are just fine, but occasionally the mild profanity is missing.

When the word is blanked out, I assume that the real version of the song includes the profanity. But what if multiple versions of the song are released? Which one is the real version? I’m sad that I couldn’t buy the explicit copy of Busted’s Who’s David (including the line “You’re just a whore who sleeps around the town”), but it appears that the default version is “Somebody saw you sleep around the town,” so I can’t be too upset. Plus, if radio standards necessitate that only the clean version of the song is ever played, at what point does the other cease to exist? For instance, I recall originally hearing James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful” with a “She could see from my face that I was fucking high.” Somewhere along the line, that became “flying high,” and I doubt any of my US friends know another version exists.

Related: My new obsession (Busted) song Falling For You is a mostly sweet song about a guy trying to work up the nerve to invite a girl to spend the night. Until we get to this line:

She showed up at my door
Just like in a teen movie
I said, “Are you the whore
I paid to come and fuck me?”

Which is
a) Really horrible
b) Kind of hilarious

… or – as it’s really written – “Are you the (spring noise) I paid to come and (squeaky hammer noise) me?”I can’t find a version of the song without the cartoon noises. So, what are the real lyrics? Was the song ever intended to be heard without them? (These are the important questions I will ask James when I meet him.)

Given my own aversion to swearing, I am a little surprised by my strong preference for the explicit versions of songs. I justify it thusly:

- I’m rarely bothered by others swearing unless it’s directed at me personally.
- It's more fun to swear when you do it less often.
- Blanks in songs are dumb.
- I’m entertained by pure bitterness in lyrics.
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  • 4 comments
My favorite ridiculous censoring is in Dynamite Hack's "Boyz in the Hood," which has a line that comes out like this: "He reached back like a [blank] and he [blank] the [blank]." It's ridiculous. And, yes, sometimes you can say "ass" and sometimes you can't. It makes no sense.

Then there are times where the censored version is kind of better than the explicit version. For instance, Cage the Elephant's "In One Ear" has a line that goes "The crowd will only like me if they're really fucking drunk." But the way I had been hearing it on the radio was "The crowd will only like me if they're all smacked up." Which both sounds better AND is actually worse than the original lyric. He removed the expletive but upgraded the vice! What the fuck!
Niiiice. But everyone knows smack is less of a vice than profanity, right?
In the 1990's I was amused by "Fire Water Burn" by Bloodhound Gang, especially because of the music video, mainly because in a song that was full of rather explicity innuendo metaphors... the video made a joking reference to the fact "fucker" was bleeped out with a weird noise. Makes it better than the uncut original version. Also it had a retirement home rocking out.
Nice. Tangent: I would so attend the tapioca pudding event.