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?”
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.