Recently I bought Pink's greatest hits. I have enjoy her music on the radio and found by listening to a demo of all her songs the album that I know most of them. I noticed some of the songs had the 'explicit lyrics' tag on it - I'm certainly no prude and I bought it anyway. I'd buy it again... I really enjoy the music. But I never thought I would have a large number of songs in my library that I would be unable to play at my job, embarrassed to play around my mom, and opposed to letting my nine year old daughter listen to them. Every song nowadays has two versions: explicit lyrics and clean version. Why? When I grew up the second version would be something like a remix or extended version. Or better yet, the 'guy gets the girl in the end' version. It drives me crazy when someone tries to change the words in a book to better suit their own purpose. I cringe because someone wants to put in the word 'her' for 'him' or whitewashes words because they want to be more sensitive. But now we have so-called 'artist' rerecording their own songs basically for money. What happened to standing up for expressing themselves as artist? If the foul language MUST be there to convey their message than why the two versions? Doesn't sound like the rebellious music I grew up with - sounds like they're selling out.
That brings me to my main point. In my day there were songs with a bad word here or there or a purpose to telling the audience using certain language. Perhaps you didn't agree with how it was used or even the message but the idea was to show us where we were going wrong. Or how we as a society can do it better. Bob Dylan wrote anti-war songs and made us think about what "Mr. Tambourine Man" would sing for us. Metallica gave us songs about why capital punishment was wrong and why suicide wasn't the answer and the dark side of war. In "American Pie" Don Mclean reminded us of the day we lost three legends of the music world. Motown taught us how to love. Michael Jackson told us it doesn't matter if we're 'black or white' and Whitney Houston shared with us what we should already know; our children are our the greatest love of all. Country music lifted us up with patriotic songs and made us cry with tunes of heartbreak. We learned about rebellion from Twisted Sister giving us a voice ("We're Not Gonna Take It'), and Cyndi Lauper let all the girls know they can have fun, and finally, Pink Floyd let us yell, "We don't need no education." The lack of grammar skills in that song must have been on purpose... right? That song was banned in many places, but today our music glorifies racial slurs and degrades women. Where is the message in that? Is this the way I'm suppose to talk about my fellow man and treat women? Do we really want to continue to promote treating women as objects? Shouldn't we know for sure that when someone uses the 'n' word or calls a white person a 'cracker' that they are without a doubt a racist? Or is it better that we continue to call someone a racist simply because of their political beliefs?
I'm still going to buy music. I will probably buy songs that have foul language in them. But from now on I plan on paying attention. I will buy only the clean version when it is available. I have and will continue to refuse to buy any song that's message is degrading to anyone... period. No matter how great the beat is or cool the lyrics may be if you don't have a message, and don't feed me a line of you-know -what on how this is what society really is like, then I will not buy it. It is time to take some sort of stand before it is too late and it becomes the 'norm' to hear foul language coming from our kids. You can sit by silently or do your part.
As a struggling writer that has spent almost five years forming the message of my novel it drives me crazy when someone writes without purpose. My book is an adult book and yes, I do have foul language in it. I certainly don't want anything banned. But I do believe we can ask our role models to stand up and try to be a positive influence on the younger generation. They have the power to break the chain. I wonder if they have the courage to do it.