Songs In The Key Of F**k
Question: What does it take for a pop song to reach the top 10 of the esteemed Billboard Hot 100 these days?
Answer: A certain four letter syllable.
Three songs reached this status last week:
Cee Lo Green – F**k You (Forget You)
Pink – F**king Perfect
Enrique Iglesias, feat. Ludacris – Tonight (I’m F**kin’ You)
Not only is the offending syllable in the verse or chorus of these songs, it is in the f**king title!
The song F**k You appears on artist Cee Lo Green’s current album The Lady Killer. It reached the highest position in the top 10 out of all 3 songs – listed at #2. Cee Lo even performed the song [in its edited version] on the David letterman Show late last year. An example of Cee Lo Green’s lyrics is: “And although there’s a pain in my chest/still wish you the best with a…/Fuck You!/Oo, oo, ooo.” Definitely not the most talented wordsmith, but with a respectable beat and a pair of sunglasses the song becomes infused in today’s popular culture.
Pink’s colorful number, F**king Perfect, actually portrays a deep, if somewhat controversial topic speaking out against depression, self-mutilation and suicide. A lot of concerned parents have spoken out about the music video, which has a skinny model cutting herself with a razor-blade in a bathtub. Pink defended herself on her website, writing: “I want art to make me think. In order to do that, it may piss me off, or make me uncomfortable. That promotes awareness and change, or at least some discussion [and] that is my intention.”
Enrique Inglesias’ ridiculous song Tonight features a music video with the notorious lothario prowling through a nightclub with a sullen look on his face, grabbing Inglesias stunned women and ‘loving’ them. A small excerpt of his wordsmith mastery is:
“Please excuse me/I don’t mean to be rude/But tonight I’m f**king you”
He did, however, make a surprisingly mature point during an interview about his song. “Music has become so direct you can say whatever you want.” he said [with a sullen look on his face].
Amongst all these song, of course, the edited version is the one heard on radio stations and music channels around the country and across the world, but the original content is always known. Derogatory or not, the four letter word seems to resonate with listeners.
The Federal Communications Commission will not broadcast the original lyrics as they are deemed indecent, even old media are unable to print the lyrics of these songs. An alternative, or edited, version is available, but the original, x-rated version is always predominant, especially amongst fans. Cee Lo recently played at Madison Square Garden [with obligatory purple sunglasses] and when it came time to sing the chorus of his top 10 hit, he merely turned the microphone to his young audience, who collectively chanted back the words “F**k You” to a grinning Cee Lo.
Point in Fact.
The f-word is as diverse as it is offensive – it can be placed in almost every grammatical category. Its literal meaning is copulation or sexual intercourse, but it can also be used as a verb [“to be fucked"], an adverb [“you talk too fucking much"], as an adjective ["I am doing all the fucking work"] or as a noun ["I don’t give a fuck"]. Even from the phonetics of the word it can describe pleasure, pain, angst, disgust, love, lust, anger, despair…
There are many theories and fantasies about the origins of this little profane word. My favorite is that it originates from colonial times, when someone would be punished for ‘prostitution’ and it was an acronym for the words:
For. Unlawful. Carnal. Knowledge.
There is no denying the power held by this little magically versatile word.
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