Social Question

zenele's avatar

When do lyrics pass explicit and become profane?

Asked by zenele (8242points) July 5th, 2010

I was listening to The Midnight Hour by Wilson Pickett (the Roxy Music version – excellent).

I’m gonna wait till the midnight hour
That’s when my love comes tumbling down
I’m gonna wait till the midnight hour
When there’s no one else around
I’m gonna take you girl and hold you
And do all the things I told you
In the midnight hour
Yes I am
Ooh yes I am

Is there any doubt as to what he’s talking about?

This is an old song – and nowadays the kids listen to very – very explicit lyrics – I have two teens myself – but hey – is there any other way to interpret this song other than at midnight I’m going to fuck your brains out?

Are these explicit lyrics? Do lyrics have to contain profanity in order to be explicit?

What thinkest thou?

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14 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

I think it’s entirely inconsequential. Every child old enough to understand any lyric has already heard worse before. I think the people who are upset by this sort of thing are controlling, authoritarian assholes afraid of their own cryptic dreams and desires.

bob_'s avatar

You should listen to this.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think lyrics like the ones you’ve mentioned above insinuate what is going to happen but aren’t direct. Therefore, only people that know about sex will get the reference are going to get it. I don’t believe my son would understand what they are saying at this point (he’s 8 and just learning about sex). But, if they blatantly say what they are going to do, he’s more likely to get that. I think the blatant lyrics are more explicit that the insinuated lyrics.

zenele's avatar

Agreed, @Seaofclouds – for that age.

Seek's avatar

Well, I don’t think any normal 7 year old knows exactly what “My Ding-a-Ling” is about, even thought it’s obviously discussing a kid getting caught playing with himself in Catholic school.

However, “Smack My Bitch Up” is pretty damned direct.

janbb's avatar

Funny story. When my son was 12, he bought a Red Hot Chili Peppers cassette. I had told him he was allowed to buy music with a warning label on it, but I was going to read the lyrics before he played it. He gave me the jacket, and I held it close and I held it far away, but I couldn’t read the fucking lyrics! He got to play the tape.

Ron_C's avatar

The is a difference between “The Midnight Hour” and calling women ho’s, and suggesting that the best way to deal with the police is to shoot them. Much of this rap crap has gone too far. It is a good thing that they spend time shooting each other. That makes their speech self limiting.

There are also white supremacy songs with cute little girls singing about inferior races and the desire to get back to white power.

We still have a remnant of free speech in this country. I don’t care what they say as long as they don’t sell it to kids.

zenele's avatar

@Ron_C I’d like to open up this discussion more – but I think that there should be a difference between violence and straight up sex, implied or not.

@janbb Cute. I am so understanding this. I make it a rule that if the kid has to read, or even just explain something to me – then how can I “ban” it? (They’re 16 and 18 now, bless ‘em).

unused_bagels's avatar

I’d have to say explicit lyrics are the raw definition of the word, meaning they lay bare implications, describing exact things, leaving nothing to imagination.

I’d say a good example is instead of “say, what’s in this drink?” from It’s Cold Outside, which could have several (although to adults, it’s obvious) interpretations, you could explicitly say, “did you give me a rufie?”

We slip into the profane when we say things that are completely socially unacceptable. Imagine if the song you posted up said instead of “I’m gonna take you girl and hold you” he said, “I’m gonna grab your tits and fuck you”, that’s not only explicit, it’s profane.

zenele's avatar

Do all the things I told you doesn’t mean read her a bedtime story and make her hot chocolate.

unused_bagels's avatar

No, Locutus, but just because it’s implied doesn’t make it explicit. Think about obelisks. Sure, they’re basically penis statues, but people don’t find them offensive because you’d have to think for a second before you make the connection, and some people never do.

zenele's avatar

I always get turned on by obelisks.

Maybe it’s just me.

rooeytoo's avatar

The lyrics today are just a bit too explicit for me. Midnight hour might translate to mean he’s going to screw her socks off but it implies consensual sex, I dislike the ones that outright encourage rape, killing, disrespect for law, women and society in general.

Where I lived before the Aboriginal kids would come to me and ask me to put music on their MP3 players. One little guy wanted, and I quote directly, “nigger music.” I asked what he meant and he told me about Snoop Dog or someone who sang about killing the jarmin (slang for coppers) and raping the hoes. At the time he wanted this, his dad was in jail for drunkenly bashing a cousin on the head with a rock (he later died from the bashing) and his mom was sitting out front totally stoned or drunk. Now this kid may have known all about life and its difficulties but I don’t think it really needed to be reinforced by listening to more of it. So I found him christian rap and downloaded that for him. I think he would have preferred Snoop Dog but beggars can’t be choosers and in a couple of days, he was rappin’ about Jesus and his boyz (I assume apostles). I wasn’t wild about that either since I am a bit of a non believer myself, but I figured it was the lesser of the evils.

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