Monday, April 15, 2013

Pop music has gotten raunchy

I listen to a lot of pop music with my kids, ages 7 and 9, in the car and on the kitchen radio. Lately I’ve noticed that a lot of hit songs have lyrics edited out or changed. At least, more than usual.
My kids sometimes will sing these songs out loud and include the pauses where a dirty word is scrubbed out for radio broadcast.
For instance, I heard my son sing a tune by Pink that made a reference to “whiskey dick.” Of course, the version Chris sang didn’t have any “dick” in it. The sanitized version of “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” just had a pause after the word “whiskey.”
Then there’s “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. The radio version has so many missing words that it’s hard to understand. The actual version is so filthy I can’t imagine letting my elementary school kids listen to it.
The refrain includes the line “This is fucking awesome.”
A typical line from the tune is: “Walk up to the club like, ‘What up, I got a big cock!’ I’m so pumped about some shit from the thrift shop.”
The radio version of the song beeps out repeated use of “motherfucker,” “shit” and other curse words. But it leaves in a reference to singer R. Kelly and golden showers.
I don’t have a problem with profanity and coarse language, except in places where my kids are listening. I’ve had to explain to them about some of the words they’ve heard at school or on YouTube already.
But here’s what I find interesting: Radio airplay is designed to get people, including kids, to buy music or concert tickets from those artists. Which version of their songs are they likely to sing in concert – the sanitized radio versions or the explicit album versions?
Imagine the surprise when parents bring their kids to a concert and hear a performer sing the blue versions of their tunes. Instead of hearing Enrique Iglesias singing “Tonight I’m Loving You,” they get “Tonight I’m Fucking You.” Or Cee-Lo Green singing “Fuck You,” instead of “Forget You.” Or Nicki Minaj singing “We’re higher than a motherfucker” on “Starships.”
It’s no wonder parents play it safe and take their kids to see Taylor Swift and other family-friendly artists.

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