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DominicX's avatar

Do you think people put way too much emphasis on how bad "explicit language" in songs is?

Asked by DominicX (28706 points ) November 5th, 2009

So, last week at a party, I Shazamed this awesome song called “Patron Tequila” by Paradiso Girls. It’s an excellent party song and now that I finally downloaded it, I’ve been listening to it over and over again.

But what came off to me as stupid was that on iTunes, there are a billion people begging for the clean version of the song because their parents don’t let them buy explicit songs on iTunes.

This song is about getting drunk and throwing up (and mentions it in the song), but no, that’s not the bad part, it’s the “fuck” that’s a no-no. Why is mentioning alcohol and getting so drunk that you’re sick and vomiting better than saying “fuck”?

Words that were once powerful have also lost their power, so the power of bad words changes over time. Back in the ‘50s, you couldn’t say “pants” on TV. It changes.

I just think people make too big of a deal out of it, especially in music. I understand that to many, it sounds trashy, and you don’t want kids exposed to trashy speaking or the sexual and rude meanings of the words. Makes sense. But the kids listening to songs with swearing in them are old enough to know what the words mean and use them. So what good is beeping out the word going to do? I think it just makes the parents feel better; it doesn’t really have any practical use.

Disclaimer: Some people are used to the edited version of the song and prefer it, some just prefer no bad words. I was referring to the ones who only want the clean version because their iTunes restrictions won’t let them get the explicit version. P.S. My parents never restricted my iTunes usage, but that’s because they’re CRAZAY. And we’ve already established that.

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34 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Twisted, isn’t it.
Making cartoons for children where the characters go after each other with all kinds of weaponry and explosives while at the same time being outraged at accidental breast exposure or explicit language which leads to actual censorship on tv in a country that prides itself with allegedly being a country with freedom of speech.

Judi's avatar

Well, back when I was in school, one of the big songs said, “mama’s got a squeeze box, daddy never sleeps at night! She goes in and out and in and out.” That may not have any bad words but it’s pretty explicit. I think dropping the “F” bomb is a lazy way to make an impact. Songs like the above are way more risque, and never have to say a censored word.
disclaimer: I don’t know the song you’re referring to.

JLeslie's avatar

Honestly, with music I don’t like to hear hostility or bad/crude language. I swear a lot myself, and am fine with it in movies and literature, but for some reason music is different to me. I don’t want my music to get me riled up or angry. I realize that many people aren’t really worried about the specific words, it is more about the beat of the music, but that makes negative thoughts and words even less necessary in my mind. Not that I am for censoring or making it illegal.

rooeytoo's avatar

I would like to know when puking became entertainment??? Just about every movie made these days has someone throwing up and now there is a song written about it. Just another one of those things I don’t get???

Anyhow my main complaint (and I say this all the time, but you asked) is that the constant use of the f word has taken away all its shock value, it’s really no fun using it anymore because every 7 year old, heck I have heard 5 year olds use it to death.

So I agree, it makes no sense that parents would allow their kids to have a song about drinking yourself sick but get upset about the swearing.

I don’t like the hip hop songs that are filled with female bashing, cop bashing, everyone bashing, think it is better if it has a more positive slant. But everyone seems to be mad about something these days, makes you wonder or as they say in that song by is it CC Music Factory??? anyhow the song is Things that make you go hmmmmmmm?????

JLeslie's avatar

@rooeytoo me too, I hate all of the puking lately WTF? There I go swearing again.

rooeytoo's avatar

hehehehe @JLeslie – it is a strange phenomenon. Even Harry Potter, I gave up on that when the kid starting puking frogs or something.

filmfann's avatar

I have a terrible potty mouth. I can probably set people on fire with the filth of some of the things that spew from my lips.
That said, I was very careful about letting my kids listen to music with swear words.
Movies that they watch aren’t as restricted, but music can become something like a mantra for someone, since you can sing it to yourself repeatedly during the day.

shadling21's avatar

I help to provide music for teachers in which young children learn to dance. They listen to this music repeatedly. Sometimes, it’s very frustrating to have to censor the music I include, but in the end it prevents a lot of problems – parents simply don’t want to hear their kids swearing at an early age, and they also don’t want to hear the question, “What does ‘fuck’ mean, mommy?” If explicit language was heard in dance classes, the dance school would be in a lot of trouble.

DominicX's avatar

@shadling21

Yes, but most people who listen to these songs are old enough to use the words and know why they mean. And why would you choose songs with explicit content (sex, drinking) for a dance class in the first place?

Darwin's avatar

I prefer songs with lyrics I can enjoy. Thus, I would rather not hear a song about puking, whether the “clean version or the “dirty” one. And that song about “Birthday Sex” or its thinly disguised version is another one to which I don’t want to have to listen.

DominicX's avatar

@Darwin I love Birthday Sex. Seriously, it’s one of my favorite new songs. :)

And you know, I’m going through my songs with bad words in them and if you take out the bad words, the meaning of the song still stands. It still has “adult content” in it; taking out the bad words just takes out the most identifiable “rude” part, but it doesn’t change the meaning of the song.

Darwin's avatar

I come from a time where “Work With Me, Annie” was never given air play on major radio stations, much less the sequel “Annie Had a Baby.” I prefer my music to be comfortable to listen to. While I like the melody of “Birthday Sex” I prefer my sex to be private and not all over the radio.

Instead of “taking out” the bad words, why put them in to begin with? There are so many, many words in the English language. Why do we have to restrict ourselves to a half-dozen Anglo-Saxon terms?

DominicX's avatar

@Darwin

Well, sometimes what’s taken out isn’t even a real bad word. For example, “Birthday Sex” doesn’t contain any traditional bad words—the word that’s censored is “sex”. Other songs have censored things like “weed” and even “ball”.

Look, I realize I have a completely different view of bad words that seems to be radically different from most people (though pretty much the same as my friends) and so for me, bad words are really nothing. To me, music is about expression and people should put in what they want, which is part of the reason I don’t have any censored versions because I prefer the original song the way the artist meant it to be.

I’m just saying that in general, the songs that include bad words are not songs that young children should be listening to anyway and even if you remove the bad words form the song, the song is still “adult” in nature (as Patron Tequila is—shouldn’t the title of the song give that away?).

Darwin's avatar

What putting the bad words in means is that I cannot listen to the radio in my daughter’s car without one or both of us being embarrassed. What is the point of blasting it on the open airways then? It means I cannot listen to any of her favorite radio stations because I can’t trust what they are going to play and neither can she.

Personally, I think it takes more talent to express these sentiments without the use of bad words, than by using the short cut they represent.

No wonder I listen almost exclusively to NPR.

DominicX's avatar

@Darwin

Yeah, but radio stations, at least around here, always censor songs. I don’t know of any uncensored radio stations. Radio is different since anyone can hear it at any time. I’m referring to specifically buying songs. In other words, parents who let their kids buy “Patron Tequila” only if the word “fuck” is cut out because the part about drinking and puking is okay, but not the “fuck”, even though these kids are like 13–16 and already know what “fuck” means and probably say it a lot around their friends. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

Darwin's avatar

What it means is that parents are trying to impress upon their children that there is a time and place for that sort of language, and most of the time that isn’t in the company of one’s parents, at church, in the classroom, or in the office. They want their children to be more creative than to restrict themselves to a few impolite words and so forbidding them to buy music with those words in it is a way of enforcing that.

Quite frankly, I would be unhappy if my daughter insisted on buying “Patron Tequila” with or without the four-letter words. I do not think music that celebrates drinking, illegal drug use, or underage sex is something I want my kids to listen to. I know I don’t want to listen to it.

And there are uncensored radio stations.

DominicX's avatar

@Darwin

I guess.

I get what you’re saying; it just doesn’t come off that way to me, but whatever.

Darwin's avatar

You are young yet. Wait until you raise children.

DominicX's avatar

@Darwin

What I mean is that, kids at school swore all the time. All the time. It didn’t seem to be connected to the music they listened to. Young children are still learning and so restriction for young children is different, but for high school aged children, I just don’t see how music can have that much of an influence. I already know what my parents’ view on bad language is; I was told it from the time I was a young child, that it’s not polite, that you don’t use it in public, etc. But I still used it around my friends and it had nothing to do with music. Rap and hip hop has the most swearing in it and I knew people who didn’t even like that music but still swore like a sailor. To me, the restriction of songs is just a comfort thing—parents feel like they’ll be preventing their kid from swearing if they restrict the music, but they’re still going to do it. It’s like the kids at my school who would talk about how they weren’t allowed to watch South Park and then would go refer to someone as a “fucking whore” in the next sentence. I just don’t think the connection is as strong as people think.

JLeslie's avatar

Just to jump in…it is not so much sheltering children from curse words for me. I don’t like people dancing with their butt sticking out like they are humping the air or music that stirs up angry or hateful feelings. Music and dancing should be beautiful and fun in my mind.

DominicX's avatar

It’s also different since I haven’t been buying music since I was a young child. When I was younger, I listened to classical and innocent music like bubblegum dance or oldies or tween-pop like A*Teens, N’Sync, and Britney’s older music which had no swearing or anything in it. I’ve only been buying music on iTunes since I was in high school and I had no restrictions on it—I just got whatever I wanted. I was already well aware of the taboos and etiquette regarding bad words and I was already using them around my friends and siblings. A song with a bad word in it wasn’t going to change that.

Darwin's avatar

Kids swear at school, but not around me. I make sure they understand that I don’t like it and consider it inappropriate.

And the more swear words are used in a public context the more people are desensitized to them. Thus, leaving them out of music and movies would be a great thing. Most of these words are just ugly and there are better, more creative ways to express the same sentiments.

DominicX's avatar

@Darwin

Well, that’s where we have to agree to disagree because I don’t necessarily think desensitization to them is a bad thing.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I agree that listening to swear words in music is pretty benign. Now I don’t like swear words in general as you know but I was never a proponent of beeping out music. As a teen I listened to “gansta rap” and it had no effect on me other than me just enjoying the music itself. In fact the meaning of such music was often missed by many adults, the positive side of it I am referring to (although I’m fully aware of the negative side). But your point about how the meaning of the song is much worse than the curse words I really sincerely agree with.

Having said that I now prefer conscious hip-hop. And while working at a multicultural summer camp the African American students did a fantastic presentation about conscious hip-hop and how it is much more beneficial to society than other forms of hip-hop, rap, etc… So the younger generations are conscious about what it is going on and I think we should give them more credit.

tinyfaery's avatar

Bah. If you don’t like it don’t listen. And you can delude yourselves into thinking about the innocence of children. Most kids know all the bad words before they listen to more grown-up music. The way to limit cursing is to not make it so taboo. If the words have no power they will not be used.

justus2's avatar

I think censorship is ridiculous personally

justus2's avatar

@Darwin Here we go again, I guess dominic doesn’t know what he is talking about because he has never raised children before. Is that always what you resort to to try to get your out dated views public again? I agree with dominic, the reason artist write music the way they do is because that is what they want it to say, and they should have the right to express themselves however they want to in their music

shadling21's avatar

@DominicX – Hip hop dance classes. Need I say more?

DominicX's avatar

@shadling21 Well, maybe young children shouldn’t be dancing to explicit music. Just because the bad words are gone, doesn’t mean the rest of the song is perfect and innocent.

Darwin's avatar

@justus2 – There is no need to be rude or attack me. You are only displaying your immaturity when you do.

justus2's avatar

@Darwin I was just pointing out the obvious, everytime someone talks about something that is ridiculous to them when it comes to children or of that nature, you resort to telling them basically they know nothing or not as much just because they haven’t raised children before.

Darwin's avatar

@justus2@DominicX and I agreed to disagree. You had no horse in that race. It is quite obvious that you are still angry over my comments on another thread about raising children, where it was painfully obvious that you are immature in your views. This just further convinces me of that. I am done here.

tinyfaery's avatar

If those who have no children get no opinion about rearing them then those with no knowledge of popular music and current trends aren’t allowed to have an opinion about such things.

justus2's avatar

@tinyfaery Very well said! This is the second time that just because someone who made a good point who hasn’t raised children yet doesn’t know anything about how to raise children just because they haven’t done it yet in his eyes, that seems to be his main defense. It is like someone could study rock climbing their whole life and everything there is to know about it, but I guess they wouldn’t know anything about it if they hadn’t rock climbed before if you ask Darwin.
@Darwin Now you resort to calling me immature, where do you get that from?

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