I'm into my 4th year of posting Five on Friday Sets, as you know. So it's certainly safe to say that I love music...all kinds of music. But sometimes my subconscious plays little tricks on me. I hear a melody I really like. A hard rock riff gets in my blood. A tune makes me want to dance.
We all know songs like that. So our subconscious kind of blurs the lyrics a little bit, and suddenly a subject in those lyrics that we might typically find inappropriate or uncomfortable in general conversation doesn't get noticed as we get lost in our enjoyment of the music.
Know what I mean?
I like a good suggestive double entendre. Those are fun. Rock lyrics are full of them, and the songs get major airplay on popular radio. But every once in awhile, my subconscious takes a night off, and the lyrics come through loud and clear. Sometimes I cringe when I realize what kind of song I've been enjoying.
For Set 161, I thought I would present a selection of songs with inappropriate, uncomfortable, or suggestive lyrics for your consideration, with a question.
If you didn't know the lyrics of a song, and then you found out what the lyrics were, would it change your opinion of the song if you decided for yourself that the lyrics were inappropriate, uncomfortable, or too suggestive?
What say you?
Brown Sugar, written by Mick Jagger/Keith Richards, released by The Rolling Stones in 1971
There's no doubt that the opening riff of this song rocks your socks. And you can try to fool yourself that this is about white guys fooling around with free women of color in the deep south. But the opening lines are "Gold Coast slave ship bound for cotton fields. Sold into market down in New Orleans". Sorry gang. This song describes a slave owner taking sexual advantage of his female slaves...his very young female slaves.
Into the Night, written by Benny Mardones/Robert Tepper, released by Benny Mardones in 1980
Again, you can fool yourself that this song could be about a teenage guy lusting after his teenage girlfriend. You'd be wrong. It's an older guy of unknown age lusting after a 16 year old girl. The law says a 16 year old is not able to provide consent. So at best this is a song about an inappropriate statutory attraction. At worst, we're listening to a pedophile. The songwriter's intent is probably somewhere in between that spectrum, but it's still a bit creepy.
Lightening Strikes, written by Lou Christie/Twyla Herbert, released by Lou Christie in 1966
Just a cad? Maybe. The protagonist in this lyric is a player who wants one girl to know that a guy is predisposed to fool around if he can find enough willing partners, but he wants his special girl to remain pure and wait until he's decided he's played enough and is ready to settle down with her...and she should be perfectly OK with that role. Oh, the secondary message is that all those girls who like to fool around too aren't suitable to marry and raise a family. Nice.
Lola, written by Ray Davies, released by The Kinks in 1970
You know, this is a really cool song although the lyrics will make some people uncomfortable if you really pay attention. On the one hand, it sends a terrific message that "...it's a mixed up muddled up shook up world except for Lola..." who knows who she is and is comfortable in her own skin. But, the song ends by reminding us that the narrator knows "...what I am and I'm glad I'm a man and so is Lola..." So yeah, if you accept that none of us has control over who we fall in love with, this is a a great song. If you don't accept that, then it's an uncomfortable lyric.
My Big Ten Inch, written by Fred Weismantel, released by Aerosmith in 1975
Now some suggestive songs are just fun. Bull Moose Jackson got away with singing this song way back in 1952. "My gal don't go smokin', and liquor just makes her flinch. Seems she don't go for nothin', 'cept for my big ten inch...record of the band that plays the blues..." Steven Tyler clearly has a wink in his delivery of the lyrics in the Aerosmith cover.