Offensive songs by artists you love

103 posts / 0 new
Last post
Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture
Offensive songs by artists you love

Ever hear a song that made you go "ewww" by an artist that normally makes you say "wow"? I'm not talking about songs you hate by artists you hate -- there are obviously plenty of those.

I'll start off the thread with a couple.

 

The Beatles - Run For Your Life

Well I'd rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man
You better keep your head, little girl
Or I won't know where I am

You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That's the end'a little girl

Well you know that I'm a wicked guy
And I was born with a jealous mind
And I can't spend my whole life
Trying just to make you toe the line

You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That's the end'a little girl

Let this be a sermon
I mean everything I've said
Baby, I'm determined
And I'd rather see you dead

You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That's the end'a little girl

I'd rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man
You better keep your head, little girl
Or you won't know where I am

You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That's the end'a little girl
Na, na, na
Na, na, na
Na, na, na
Na, na, na
 

 

The Who - I'm A Boy

One girl was called Jean Marie
Another little girl was called Felicity
Another little girl was Sally Joy
The other was me, and I'm a boy

My name is Bill and I'm a headcase
They practice making up on my face
Yeah, I feel lucky if I get trousers to wear
Spend ages taking hairpins from my hair

Chorus 1
I'm a boy, I'm a boy
But my ma won't admit it
I'm a boy, I'm a boy
But if I say I am I get it

Help me wash up, Jean Marie
You can dry, Felicity
Stack the dishes, Sally Joy
Behind those scrubbed floors, I'm a boy

Chorus 1

Put your frock on Jean Marie
Plait your hair Felicity
Paint your nails, little Sally Joy
Put this wig on, little boy

Chorus 1

I wanna play cricket on the green
Ride my bike across the street
Cut myself and see my blood
I wanna come home all covered in mud

Chorus 2
I'm a boy, I'm a boy
But my ma won't admit it
I'm a boy, I'm a boy, I'm a boy
I'm a boy, I'm a boy, I'm a boy, I'm a boy
I'm a boy, I'm a boy, I'm__ a__ boy__

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

umm, practically everything by the Rolling Stones comes to mind

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

Yeah, but I hate the Stones, so they don't fit my qualifications for this thread.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

okay, just have to fess up that the stones are the ultimate guilty pleasure --- the wow usually exceeds the ewww.... but when the ewww factor reaches a certain point, it becomes all caps EWWW

Stargazer

I could post a giant list. I have a very very large collection of music, a lot of it from the metal/hard rock genre.Most of it filled with bad lyrics. Post rock on the other hand...simply gorgeous music and amazing lyrics.

 

For me I would say Kid Rock. I really like his country stuff but hello? Look at the lyrics for his newest single "So Hott"

 

You got a body like the devil and you smell like sex
I can tell you're trouble but I'm still obsessed

Because you know you're
SO HOT I wanna get you alone
SO HOT I wanna get you stoned
SO HOT I dont wanna be your friend
I wanna xxxx you like I'm never gonna see you again

Yeaa
Come on
Yea

You're like the kiss of death, like the hand of faith
I can tell you're trouble but I still wanna taste

Because you know you're
SO HOT I wanna get you alone
SO HOT I wanna get you stoned
SO HOT I dont wanna be your friend
I wanna xxxx you like I'm never gonna see you again

Because you know you're
SO HOT I wanna get you alone
SO HOT I wanna get you stoned
SO HOT I dont wanna be your friend
I wanna xxxx you like I'm never gonna see you again

You're So Hot, I wanna get you alone
I wanna get you stoned
I dont wanna be your friend
I wanna xxxx you like I'm never gonna seeyou again
See you again
See you again

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Then there's Bob's 1983 Sweetheart Like You (excerpt):

 

 

You know, a woman like you should be at home,
That's where you belong,
Watching out for someone who loves you true
Who would never do you wrong.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Probably every artist has lyrics in their collection of songs that will offend someone. Bob Dylan's lyrics to Lay Lady Lay (1969) included this: "Stay, lady, stay, stay with your man awhile ..."

I don't recall any opposition to the lyrics at the time, but it'd probably raise hackles today.

ETA: I was in my first year of college when Dylan released this song, and recall it being played over and over again ad nauseum on the cafeteria juke box, along with the Supreme's Love Child.

ETA: everytime I heard Dylan sing this lyric ("stay with your man awhile ...") I flashed back to Tammy Wynette singing "Stand By Your Man". Talk about ewwwwww!!!

Tommy_Paine

 

Can't say that I love Ted Nugent, but I will say I really like a lot of his guitar hooks.  Unfortunately, Ted thinks a guitar hook is the whole song, so what starts off exciting and full of promise ends up being boring, quickly. 

Have to say, though, that I love the slow grind guitar work in Nugent's "Stranglehold".  Unfortunately, even by blues or rock standards, the lyrics are extraordinarily mysogynistic.  So much so, it's unlistenable.

Similarly, the Ramones "Glad to See You Go" lyrically busts the envelope.  I was a bit less offended, years ago, when I thought the Ramones were playing a character.  I mean, to some extent all these artists are, but when I saw the documentary on my beloved Ramones, I realized many of the songs were probably not as tongue in cheek as I thought they were.

I guess I should be offended by Elton Motello's version of "Jet Boy Jet Girl".  But for some reason I'm not. Ooo whooo hooo hooo.

A lot of people used to get offended by Alice Cooper, but it's more than clear that "Alice" was a character, and the music was delliberately campy and not to be taken too seriously.

We go dancing nightly in the attic

While the moon is rising in the sky.

If I'm too rough tell me I'm so scared

Your little head will come off in my hands....

Oh yeah, that's from memory.  And I love it.  Still.

 

 

Slumberjack

Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen.  I ain't going to post the lyrics or the link here.

genstrike

The original final verse to "Union Maid" was rather messed up, but otherwise it's a good classic union song. Every time I've heard it I've heard either alternate lyrics or just skipping this verse:

 

You gals who want to be free, just take a tip from me;
Get you a man who's a union man and join the ladies' auxiliary.
Married life ain't hard when you got a union card,
A union man has a happy life when he's got a union wife.

martin dufresne

"Your man" or "your woman" is kinda standard fare in country music. I must say I didn't find "Lay, lady, lay" sexist, especially compared to other songs by Dylan, from "Maggie's Farm" to "Beyond here Lies Nuthin'".

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Well, it's always reminded me of the Tammy Wynette song.Laughing

al-Qa'bong

Quote:
A lot of people used to get offended by Alice Cooper, but it's more than clear that "Alice" was a character, and the music was delliberately campy and not to be taken too seriously.

 

We had a masquerade night or something at a church camp where I was a counsellor when I was 16. I went as Alice Cooper. The minister mentioned to me how perverted or creepy Alice was.  My reply was that The Coop was just a showbiz character and not to be taken seriously.

 

 

The other day Mme. Qa'bong was making chocolate mint ice cream, which got me a-singing Cold Ethyl.

"One thing
No lie
Ethyl's frigid as an eskimo pie"

I've never found Vinny Furnier offensive, just funny.  His support of the Republicans is sorta offensive, though.

 

On the other hand, that Li'l Bobby Zimmerman guy is really offensive.  "Lay Lady Lay?"  What was he thinking?  Anyone could tell him that the lyrics ought to have been "Lie lady lie, lie upon my big brass bed."


martin dufresne

In late March, Deborah Finding wrote an Op-Ed for The Guardian entitled "Why do we tolerate misogyny in music?"

Since then, Aurélien Cotentin, the French singer whose heinous songs she discusses, has been taken off the program of one or two summer music festivals in France, under pressure from women incensed at his advocacy of extreme sexist violence.

And some other singers - such as Cali, a militant Father-Rightist - are now defending Cotentin and misogyny in the name of freedom of expression, dedicating concerts to him, boycotting venues that keep him out, etc.

Maybe Cotentin ought to listen to them: he recently announced his intention of suing for defamation the people that leaflet his concerts...

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

al-Qa'bong: Laughing

To be fair, in my original post on "Lay Lady Lay" I said: I don't recall any opposition to the lyrics at the time, but it'd probably raise hackles today.

Michelle

KISS - Nothing to Lose

Before I had a baby, I didn't care anyway / I thought about the back door, I didn't know what to say-ay-ay.

But once I had a baby, I tried every way / She didn't want to do it, but she did anyway-ay-ay

Oh baby please don't refuse - you know you've got nothing to lose!  You've got nothing to lose... (etc.)

 

Elton John - Jamaica Jerk-off

I won't even bother posting the lyrics.  They're racist as all get out, and people can google them if they don't know the song.

al-Qa'bong

Not many people love both KISS and Elton John.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

al-Qa'bong wrote:
Not many people love both KISS and Elton John.

 

I've never listened to KISS, and the only John song I've ever heard is "Someone saved my life tonight". Is KISS actually a real band, or are they just miming to recorded music?

Lord Palmerston

Nobody's yet mentioned [url=http://ellissharp.blogspot.com/2005/09/bob-dylans-racist-song_25.html]Bob Dylan's racist song[/url]

al-Qa'bong

Good of you to mention that one, M'Lud.  I kinda liked Li'l Bobby Zimmerman until I heard Infidels.  I remember listening to that cassette in the tractor while summerfallowing, way back in the mid-80s.

triciamarie

Rush, The Trees

 

Quote:
There is unrest in the forest,
There is trouble with the trees,
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas.

The trouble with the maples,
(And they're quite convinced they're right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light.
But the oaks can't help their feelings
If they like the way they're made.
And they wonder why the maples
Can't be happy in their shade.

There was trouble in the forest,
And the creatures all have fled,
As the maples scream "Oppression!"
And the oaks just shake their heads

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights.
"The oaks are just too greedy;
We will make them give us light."
Now there's no more oak oppression,
For they passed a noble law,
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe, and saw.

Krago

Warren Zevon - Werewolves of London

"Little old lady got mutilated late last night" - say that three times quickly!

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Infidels is one of about three or four Dylan albums I never play. He can be downright disappointing, one reason I try to avoid Bob's shittier albums when possible - I like to  remember Bob Dylan as he was in the 1960s.

Caissa

I like both Kiss and Elton John. Ms. C hates the former. They are playing in Halifax next Saturday. Paul McCartney packed in 50 000 this Saturday. Be interesting to see Kiss' numbers.

jrose

I was born in 1983, so Nirvana was pretty much that coming-of-age band that was always there. As much as I love them, it's hard not to cringe at a song called Rape Me, with lyrics like:

 

Hate me
Do it and do it again
Waste me
Rape me my friend

Michelle

Oh, I also forgot about Island Girl by Elton John, too - another blatantly racist song.

An interesting blog post about both songs.

And there are other songs on his Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album that are offensive in other ways.  Lots of sexist and classist lyrics.

Strangely enough, I grew up loving that album, not realizing how sexist, racist, and classist they were.  (Of course, it didn't help that with Elton John, you can't UNDERSTAND half the lyrics because he doesn't articulate well.)  So now, I find myself in the weird state of wanting to love the songs, and still loving the musical "hooks" in them, but being offended by the lyrics at the same time.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Michelle wrote:
  So now, I find myself in the weird state of wanting to love the songs, and still loving the musical "hooks" in them, but being offended by the lyrics at the same time.

 

I've mentioned before that I've had a severe hearing disability since birth, so in many cases the lyrics are lost on me - I simply enjoy music for the music, not the lyrics, for the most part. In the 1960s various artists began including the lyrics to their songs in their albums, which I found very helpful, as now I could sing along where previously I never could, because I simply didn't hear any of the lyrics (except by folk who enunciated their words very carefully, like Gordon Lightfoot, Murray McLauchlan, Elvis Presley, Tim Hardin, Bobby Darin, Perry Como, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, and others). Generally, for a very long time until I could hunt down their lyrics by purchasing their music catalog, I never understood rock 'n roll lyrics - but I loved the music, especially long instrumentals like for instance "Spoonful" and "Toad" by Cream in their live albums.

 

ETA: When I was a little kid, I used to get one of my older brothers to write ut the lyrics to several songs I loved hearing but could not make the lyrics out. Trust me, being hearing impaired is a major bummer, man.Frown 

 

al-Qa'bong

Quote:
I was born in 1983...

 

Yikes! I was reading that Chris Hedges article on Michael Jackson, thinking how I don't relate to the culture being described there. When I got to the part about Jackson being the epitome of that culture, I thought, "That's about right, and I pretty well X'ed myself out of contemporary culture around 1984, at about the time that Thriller was popular, which is maybe why I don't feel as if I'm part of any of this."

 

 

I was going to mention Island Girl, but Elton John is as boring as Michael Jackson, so I didn't bother.

 

I love the Sex Pistols, but find Bodies rather unpleasant.

 

I once helped my lesbian buddy vandalise a Beanie-Boy cd that she found offensive.

 

I find the use of songs I like in commercials offensive. Recently I've heard the Clash's "Pressure Drop," "Low Rider" by War, and Debussy's "Clair de Lune" being violated by admen.

 

 

josh

The Beatles - Run For Your Life

Just from reading the thread title on TAT, that's the song that came to mind. Positively dreadful. And just think, they could have closed out Rubber Soul with Day Tripper (recorded at the same time but released as a single only).

In the same vein is Neil Young's Down by the River, but unlike Run for Your Life, the music in that song has merit.

Michelle

Billy Joel - She's Always A Woman To Me

Sexist lyrics, beautiful tune, and I really like his other stuff.

The Bish

jrose wrote:

I was born in 1983, so Nirvana was pretty much that coming-of-age band that was always there. As much as I love them, it's hard not to cringe at a song called Rape Me, with lyrics like:

 

Hate me
Do it and do it again
Waste me
Rape me my friend

Cobain made it quite clear in interviews that the song was intended to be in sympathy with rape victims and was not actually advocating rape.  If someone were to take offence at any Nirvana song, I would think it would be "Polly".

Polly wants a cracker
I think I should get off her first
She said she wants some water
To put out the blowtorch

josh

Yeah, even at the time it was released, the lyrics were cringeworthy.

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

Michelle wrote:
Billy Joel - She's Always A Woman To Me

Sexist lyrics, beautiful tune, and I really like his other stuff.

Joel has said that the song was intended to draw attention to the sexist double standard that women face i.e. not to embrace that standard but to condemn it. Then again, his songs with a social message have always been a little brutal and lacking sublety or deep meaning (i.e. We Didn't Start the Fire).

Michelle

Oh...that's interesting.  I didn't know that.  Well, I'm glad I've always liked that song despite the sexism in it, then.  Cognitive dissonance resolved! :)

jrose

The Bish wrote:

jrose wrote:

I was born in 1983, so Nirvana was pretty much that coming-of-age band that was always there. As much as I love them, it's hard not to cringe at a song called Rape Me, with lyrics like:

 

Hate me
Do it and do it again
Waste me
Rape me my friend

Cobain made it quite clear in interviews that the song was intended to be in sympathy with rape victims and was not actually advocating rape.  If someone were to take offence at any Nirvana song, I would think it would be "Polly".

Polly wants a cracker
I think I should get off her first
She said she wants some water
To put out the blowtorch

Hm. That's very interesting. I didn't know that.

Snert Snert's picture

I'm a fan of Morcheeba, but whenever I hear Women Lose Weight I cringe a bit.  It's sort of glib and probably a parody, but there's lots of other stuff to make fun of in the world.

For the unfamiliar, it's not just about women losing weight, it's about a guy killing his wife. 

Papal Bull

Krago wrote:

Warren Zevon - Werewolves of London

"Little old lady got mutilated late last night" - say that three times quickly!

 

I've never really understood the lyrics to Zevon's Exciteable Boy (the self-titled track from that album), but I thought I'd post 'em here. I think that they're more in the vein of dark humour, more than anything, and certainly not advocating the imagery that he created.

 

Quote:

He took in the four a.m. show at the Clark
Excitable boy, they all said
And he bit the usherette's leg in the dark
Excitable boy, they all said
Well, he's just an excitable boy

He took little Susie to the Junior Prom
Excitable boy, they all said
and he raped her and killed her, then he took her home
Excitable boy, they all said
Well, he's just an excitable boy
After ten long years they let him out of the Home
Excitable boy, they all said
And he dug up her grave and built a cage with her bones
Excitable boy, they all said
Well, he's just an excitable boy

The Bish

If anything, Papal Bull, that sounds to me like he's writing about how people don't take mental illness as seriously as they should.

Oddly enough, I own hundreds of albums, and I figured I'd have a really easy time coming up with a few artists I enjoy who have written songs with racially or sexually problematic lyrics, but it's actually pretty difficult to do.  There's some borderline stuff, like a line in the latest Interpol album that says "Women, you have no self control", but nothing that lasts for a whole song.  That being said, pretty much all of the hip-hop that I listen to has something objectionable in it, even from artists whose lyrics are normally quite positive like Talib Kweli.  It's unfortunate that even "conscious" hip-hop seems to pretty much always go off the rails at some point.

al-Qa'bong

Excitable Boy has a similar message to that of Only a Lad by Oingo Boingo: that people make excuses for violent youths and blame society instead of the person committing the crimes.

 

 

Johnny was bad, even as a child everybody could tell
Everyone said if you don't get straight
You'll surely go to hell

But Johnny didn't care
He was an outlaw by the time that he was
Ten years old
He didn't wanna do what he was told
Just a prankster, juvenile gangster

His teachers didn't understand
They kicked him out of school
At a tender early age
Just because he didn't want to learn things
(Had other interests)
He liked to burn things

The lady down the block
She had a radio that Johnny wanted oh so bad
So he took it the first chance he had
Then he shot her in the leg
And this is what she said
Only a lad
You really can't blame him
Only a lad
Society made him
Only a lad
He's our responsibility
Only a lad
He really couldn't help it
Only a lad
He didn't want to do it
Only a lad
He's underprivileged and abused
Perhaps a little bit confused

His parents gave up they couldn't influence his attitude
Nobody could help
The little man had no gratitude

And when he stole the care
Nobody dreamed that he would
Try to take it so far
He didn't mean to hit the poor man
Who had to go and die
It made the judge cry

Only a lad
He really couldn't help it
Only a lad
He didn't want to do it
Only a lad
He's underprivileged and abused
Perhaps a little bit confused

It's not his fault that he can't believe
It's not his fault that he can't behave
Society made him go astray
Perhaps if we're nice he'll go away
Perhaps he'll go away
He'll go away

(Repeat chorus)

Hey there Johnny you really don't fool me
You get away with murder
And you think it's funny
You don't give a damn if we live or if we die
Hey there Johnny boy
I hope you fry!

Are there any Tom Jones fans out there?
She's a Lady
Well she's all you'd ever want,
She's the kind they'd like to flaunt and take to dinner.
Well she always knows her place.
She's got style, she's got grace, She's a winner.
She's a Lady. Whoa whoa whoa, She's a Lady.
Talkin' about that little lady, and the lady is mine.
Well she's never in the way
Always something nice to say, Oh what a blessing.
I can leave her on her own
Knowing she's okay alone, and there's no messing.
She's a lady. Whoa, whoa, whoa. She's a lady.
Talkin' about that little lady, and the lady is mine.
Well she never asks for very much and I don't refuse her.
Always treat her with respect, I never would abuse her.
What she's got is hard to find, and I don't want to lose her
Help me build a mountain from my little pile of clay. Hey, hey, hey.
Well she knows what I'm about,
She can take what I dish out, and that's not easy,
Well she knows me through and through,
She knows just what to do, and how to please me.
She's a lady. Whoa, whoa, whoa. She's a lady.
Talkin' about that little lady and the lady is mine.
Yeah yeah yeah She's a Lady
Listen to me baby, She's a Lady
Whoa whoa whoa, She's a Lady
And the Lady is mine
Yeah yeah yeah She's a Lady
Talkin about this little lady
Whoa whoa whoa whoa
Whoa and the lady is mine
Yeah yeah She's a Lady
And the Lady is mine.

Tommy_Paine

On the other hand, that Li'l Bobby Zimmerman guy is really offensive.

A hewve godda loyda noive.....

 

I love the Sex Pistols, but find Bodies rather unpleasant.

Funny you should say.   I remember when I first heard "Never Mind the Bollocks" I loved that song.  I think because I was a teen and the lyrics being so far removed from my experience they didn't bother me back then.  Just there for shock value, not in any way possibly real.

But, you grow up, get some experience, and become the age of the people who were supposed to be offended by those lyrics, and surprise surprise, they're offensive. 

Joey Ramone

Teenage Head: Lucy Potato ("she's that girl that I gotta rape, she's that girl that I wanna date")

Tommy_Paine

 

Yeah, I didn't want to get into Teenage Head, I used to love that band years ago, and a few years back I finally stumbled upon a CD to replace my vinyl.  But, hey.  If you have a daughter with epilepsy, suddenly the lyrics aren't campy anymore.  And "Lucy Potato" was always problematic, even more so if you had a friend that was groped by Frankie. I don't think Frankie Venom was playing a character.

 

 

Joey Ramone

I didn't know Frankie personally but several of my friends did and I heard many amazing and scary tales.  He was, as one of my buds would say, "complex and difficult to love".  I saw TH many times always but sat out Lucy Potato too.

torontoprofessor

Some anti-Asian sentiment from The Guess Who, on "Running Back to Saskatoon":

This tune is home grown / Don't come from Hong Kong

al-Qa'bong

What?  Hong Kong is far away. What else are you reading into the lyric?

 

You should try out "Chinese Mule Train" by Spike Jones or "Hong Kong Blues" by Hoagy Carmichael.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

"American Woman" by the Guess Who used to just grate on my nerves because radio stations played it over and over and over and over.... probably the most annoying song ever.

cps

I have a soft spot for the beastie boys but many of their songs pre-1998 or so are remarkably offensive/sexist.  However, in a display of maturity, they now refuse to play many of them, though radio stations don't.

There is also a lot of 'progressive' hip hop which clings to sexist language when calling out/insulting men.  The sort of songs which may be talking about social oppression and yet use oppressive language to do so.  Jurassic 5, Soul Position, and a few others come to mind. 

 

 

 

Stargazer

Love love love Alice Cooper's tunes.

triciamarie, so glad you posted the lyrics to that song. I thought I was the only one who saw that as a pro-capitalist "down with the little guy" song.

 

 

Papal Bull

Yeah, listening to Rush's lyrics is a lot like reading Ayn Rand for Canadians.

Caissa

Rush is one of my dirty secrets. I love the music.

fiidel_castro

Here is what I am ashamed of: Johnny Ramone. I love the Ramones, always have and always will, but Johnny was one Republican-loving, "God Bless the USA and President Bush", commie-hating, cold-hearted, angry, a-hole. Joey on the other hand was a great human being. Thank God Johnny never wrote anything for the Ramones, he just played guitar and let Joey and Dee Dee do all the writing. I would hate to hear Johnny's propagandistic lyrics; think of Ted Nugent but angrier and surrounded by left-wingers that constantly stoked his hatreds

I am not really ashamed of anything I listen to, not that what I listen to is always ethically perfect and unquestionable but I understand that artistic freedom is a major issue in democratic countries and it needs to be protected even against things that we find unintelligent. Obviously there are limits (promoting hate-speech) but I am pretty sure that none of us are listening to National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM) and/or neo-nazi skinhead punk rock and if we are then we should check our heads. But I tend not to blame artists for creating and stoking racism and sexism, those things were around long before pop-music and they are more institutionalized in our governance systems than in our music. 

Just saying is all, keep on talking 

But to be fair: anything by Ol' Dirty Bastard is right up there and yes I listen to Mr. Dirt McGirt on a regular basis. Now you may hate away.

 

Pages

Topic locked