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You know, it might not be as contemporary as screamo or able to move units like the latest half-naked pitch-corrected quasi-jailbait fembot, but I still appreciate you people out there who are trying to write classic pop songs. But, listen, you've got to tone down the potty mouth. I can't put your album on in the car when the kids are around, no matter how rockin' it is, because of the occasional (and admittedly well-deployed) cussing contained therein. And you've even done songs for kids !

And there was the time I was listening to our recently born-again commercial “alternative” station a few weeks ago when they were playing a crunchy pop nugget that prominently featured the word for female dog in the chorus. WHY ? Oh sure, it feels good to tweak the nose of the FCC, but a lot of parents aren't going let their kids listen to this, even if they don't mind it themselves.

Maybe you think you're keeping it real. I bet even Herman's Hermits could curse a blue streak in private, but did they put on the longshoreman's act on record ? NO. Leave that gank to Eminem.


an advocate of Good Clean Fun


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 27th, 2004 06:02 pm (UTC)
it's very funny that you say that, because having just seen a wonderful Barenaked Ladies show in Vegas last week, I came across a semi-attractive chubby guy wearing a BNL shirt in another casino the next morning, and asked if he enjoyed the show. He then turned all Midwestern and heterosexual on me, and told me that he and his wife love them, and have seen them a number of times but he wished "they didn't curse so gosh darn much" --- as they bring their kids, and they really don't want them hearing all that cursing. Meanwhile MOST of their cursing is saying words like "penis" and "ass." It's not like BNL say anything overtly crude... well.. maybe :)
Mar. 27th, 2004 06:34 pm (UTC)
Seven Words…
The way I see it, you can trace a continuous line in the evolution of alternative from gobbing punks to revivalists who want to sound just like a marriage of Big Star and the Beatles. A lot has change in 25+ years but some habits persist.

The kids like Shonen Knife, so Bleu would be a natural for them, but the cussing blows the deal. Too bad. Young'uns absorb EVERYTHING like a sponge; then later, when you want kids to think for themselves, you still need to establish proper context for the off-color things that we all know people say in real life.

Plus there's the challenge of restraint. The Stones and the Who managed to exude menace with the cursing on record (at least in the 60s). Elvis Costello, as far as I know, has NEVER sworn on record (well once I think) but used his words as cutting instruments just the same. Swearing just makes it too easy.

Of course, crudity doesn't mean the kids these days won't get access to it and lap it up. Back when WFNX was all nü-metal and Stern-wannabe jocks, I had no illusions that 14-year-old boys were not listening. I switched to the local indie shows in the morning slots on WMBR and WZBC, where the music and words could be potentially much less constrained, but the freedom is not abused like that in the true-believer scenes. Anyway, I DO care what my kids are exposed to, so it makes me sad that music to which I have natural affinity is off limits on family drives. Maybe I need to buy more of my music at Wal-Mart.

Live is another thing. I expect different standards – it's kind of tricky. If you're playing a 21+ club show, you know who's there. Bigger venues are different and it's really up to the band. Still, I saw some parents of a kid that used to go the same day care place that we used show up with their boy at TWO club shows (a local Brian Eno cover project at night and one of the Mission of Burma reunion gigs in 2002 during the day) and there was no cussing.
Mar. 27th, 2004 10:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Seven Words…
See, this is where it comes in handy that I listen to so much electronic stuff — most of it is instrumental.

I make mix CDs for D to play in the car, and those are more pop-oriented, so there I have to pay attention to the lyrics. I did put Mojo Nixon's "Mushroom Maniac" on one, and the kids thought it was pretty funny that he was out at 4:30 AM looking for mushrooms in cow turd-ola, but they didn't really understand why; "sniffin' for my psychedelic delight" went right over their heads.
Mar. 28th, 2004 11:25 am (UTC)
Re: Seven Words…
Yeah, instrumental music is definitely a good way to avoid the problem, but the pop itch still needs to be scratched.

And if it goes over kids' heads, that's cool. Hey, sometimes it goes over my head until I realize it too late…
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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