Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thursday Thirteen: Violent Lyrics in Songs I Like

I don't know how I came across it, I think facebook, but I found a link that said "20 shocking lyrics that you didn't notice in famous songs". Of course I was intrigued and so I checked it out.
It was a complete disappointment.

The songs in my opinion were not FAMOUS songs.

For example, one of the "famous songs" was the Ice Cube song "Roll All Day"  which is recognizable to the general population because it was used in an automobile commercial back in 2004. The tune of the song is recognizable, but I would not say it was a famous song at all. The part of the song with "shocking lyrics" is not a part of the commercial - so how would anyone notice, or not notice, what was not a part of the commercial? Another song they refer to is the Beatles song "Happiness is a Warm Gun" - Can someone, anyone, tell me when this song was famous? If and when it WAS famous, is anyone surprised that there are shocking lyrics in a song entitled "Happiness is a Warm gun?" Anyone? Yeah. I thought not.

Overall I think the piece was poorly written and I wasn't surprised or shocked - with one exception.
So here is where I was shocked (and I am embarrassed to say I had NO idea) that the song Blurred Lines was about non-consensual anal sex. Miley Cyrus's retinal-damaging  twerking to the song makes a lot more sense now though. DUH.

I have now decided to write my own version of songs with violent lyrics. See what I did there - I didn't call it FAMOUS songs with shocking lyrics - it gives me some leeway and credibility when I use obscure songs.  Here are some songs, in particular songs which I like, and which in MY opinion,  have shockingly violent lyrics (and I'm not even going to TRY and cover Rap songs or this post would never end.)

In no particular order.

1. Maxwell's Silver Hammer. The Beatles
This song has a catchy tune and I am slightly disturbed by the fact that I like it as much as I do. Who sits down and writes a catchy tune about a serial killer? Oh that's right, the Beatles.

"Bang! Bang! Maxwell's silver hammer
Came down upon her head
Bang! Bang! Maxwell's silver hammer
Made sure that she was dead"

2. Bohemian Rhapsody. Queen
Is there anyone who does not love singing along to this song? I think in just two examples I have proven a point that you can pretty much sing a song about anything if you put it to music catchy enough to become popular. 

"Mama, just killed a man
Put a gun against his head
Pulled my trigger, now he's dead
Mama, life had just begun
But now I've gone and thrown it all away
Mama, ooo
Didn't mean to make you cry
If I'm not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters"

3. Pumped up Kicks. Foster the People
I didn't think this was going to be as easy as it has been. There's apparently a lot more songs out there with violent lyrics than I initially thought!

Yeah, he found a six shooter gun in his dad's closet hidden with a box of fun things.
I don't even know what but he's coming for you, yeah, he's coming for you.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you better run, better run, outrun my gun.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you better run, better run faster than my bullet

4. A Day in the Life. The Beatles
I am about to sound as though I am making excuses for disturbing songs, but honestly, this song makes the MOST sense to me. I generally don't understand why songs are written about killing people (with the exception of the next song I am listing) but this song, A Day in the Life, was inspired by reading the newspaper. So John Lennon sits down, picks up the newspaper and reads one article about a man who committed suicide and another article about potholes (four thousand holes in Blackburn Lancashire) and writes a song about it. He also talks about being horny and late for work, which is all a part of a day in his life I suppose.

I read the news today, oh boy
About a lucky man who made the grade
And though the news was rather sad
Well, I just had to laugh
I saw the photograph
He blew his mind out in a car
He didn't notice that the lights had changed
A crowd of people stood and stared
They'd seen his face before
Nobody was really sure if he was from the House of Lords
5. Goodbye Earl. The Dixie Chicks.
It was about time someone wrote a song about this. Way to go ladies.
Interestingly - there was some backlash to the song. I don't understand how a song about non-consensual anal sex can get the radio play it gets and feature as a live performance on an awards show, BUT a song about domestic violence has radio stations refusing to play it. Oh wait - yes I do. One song is about a man doing what he wants and violating women and the other is about women taking things into their own hands when abused. Clear as mud.
"Well, she finally got the nerve to file for divorce
She let the law take it from there
But Earl walked right through that restraining order
And put her in intensive care
Right away Mary-Ann flew in from Atlanta
On a red eye midnight flight
She held Wanda's hand as they worked out a plan
And it didn't take 'em long to decide
That Earl had to die
Goodbye, Earl, those black eyed peas
They tasted alright to me Earl, you're feelin' weak
Why don't you lay down and sleep, Earl
Ain't it dark, wrapped up in that tarp, Earl"

6. Stan. Eminem featuring Dido

Stan" is an intense story of an overly obsessed and unhinged fan who eventually drunkenly kills himself along with his pregnant wife.

Hey Slim, I drank a fifth of vodka, you dare me to drive?
You know the song by Phil Collins, "In the Air of the Night"
about that guy who coulda saved that other guy from drowning
but didn't, then Phil saw it all, then at a show he found him?
That's kinda how this is, you coulda rescued me from drowning
Now it's too late - I'm on a 1000 downers now, I'm drowsy
and all I wanted was a lousy letter or a call
I hope you know I ripped all of your pictures off the wall
I love you Slim, we coulda been together, think about it
You ruined it now, I hope you can't sleep and you dream about it
And when you dream I hope you can't sleep and you SCREAM about it
I hope your conscience EATS AT YOU and you can't BREATHE without me
See Slim; [*screaming*] Shut up bitch! I'm trying to talk!
Hey Slim, that's my girlfriend screaming in the trunk
but I didn't slit her throat, I just tied her up, see I ain't like you
cause if she suffocates she'll suffer more, and then she'll die too
Well, gotta go, I'm almost at the bridge now
Oh shit, I forgot, how'm I supposed to send this shit out?

7. Kiss with a Fist . Florence and the Machine.

“You smashed a plate over my head, then I set fire to our bed.”

Sounds interesting. I personally like my bed too much to set fire to it.

8. Janie's Got a Gun. Aerosmith
This song actually was the first Grammy winning song for Aerosmith in 1991. It is a song about a daughter who killed her father for sexually abusing her as a child. Way to go Janie!

Janie's got a gun
Janie's got a gun
Her dog day's just begun
Now everybody is on the run
What did her daddy do?
It's Janie's last I.O.U.
She had to take him down easy and put a bullet in his brain
She said 'cause nobody believes me. The man was such a sleeze.

9. Love The Way You Lie – Eminem featuring Rihanna

I suppose in a twisted way that the best people to sing songs about violence are the same people who live with violence.  Which comes first?....
Is it a shock that Eminem has a lot of songs featuring violence?
Now you're in each other's face spewing venom in your words when you spit them
You push, pull each other's hair, scratch, claw, bit 'em
Throw 'em down, pin 'em
So lost in the moments when you're in them
It's the rage that took over,
It controls you both
So they say you're best to go your separate ways
Guess that they don't know you 'cause today that was yesterday
Yesterday is over, it's a different day
Sound like broken records playing over but you promised her
Next time you show restraint
You don't get another chance
Life is no Nintendo game
But you lied again
Now you get to watch her leave out the window
Guess that's why they call it window pane

10. Gravedigger. Dave Matthews

This song isnt so much violent , but it is not rainbows and sunshine. I wont post all the lyrics here but pretty much its just a bunch of eulogies to music. How do I like this? I think I might be disturbed,

11. Nursery Rhyme. Rock a Bye Baby

I sing this to my little ones, but I take a lot of liberties and change the lyrics. My kids are going to grow up and if they ever hear the REAL lyrics to songs they are going to think whomever is singing them is confused - because it won't be the way they learned them!

My kids know that putting a rocking baby into a tree is a bad idea and someone will report them to child services if they get caught doing it!

12. I'm Not Ready to Make Nice. Dixie chicks. 

I varied from the exact topic here because this song isn't exactly violent , but speaks of a very real threat that was made against the Dixie Chicks. When they were at a concert in LONDON (not even in the USA) lead Singer Natalie Maines made the comment, "...we don't want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas."
The back lash to this comment was INSANE (in my opinion), especailly from a country who values so highly the freedom of speech. The Dixie chicks recieved death threats - an extreme example of how crazy people are in real life.

I made my bed and I sleep like a baby
With no regrets and I don’t mind sayin’
It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her
Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Sayin’ that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over
13. Scarecrow. Melissa Etheridge

I am including this song because it is based on the murder of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming in 1998. This REAL event had an incredible impact on me. I was barely out of the closet when this happened. Again, although the lyrics of the song itself are not violent, it is a song about a violent act that really happened.

Showers of your crimson blood
Seep into a nation calling up a flood
Of narrow minds who legislate
Thinly veiled intolerance
Bigotry and hate

But they tortured and burned you
They beat you and they tied you
They left you cold and breathing
For love they crucified you

I can't forget hard as I try
This silhouette against the sky

Scarecrow crying
Waiting to die wondering why
Scarecrow trying
Angels will hold carry your soul away

This was our brother
This was our son
This shepherd young and mild
This unassuming one
We all gasp this can't happen here
We're all much too civilized
Where can these monsters hide

But they are knocking on our front door
They're rocking in our cradles
They're preaching in our churches
And eating at our tables


Teena in Toronto said...

I sing along to 'em!

Michelle said...

I love the Dixie Chicks so much! I'm not even a country music fan, but they really get to me--their lyrics and voices are great, and their masterful instrumentals...just wonderful. I saw them in concert once, after their ridiculous treatment for simply speaking their minds, and Natalie Maines joked, as they brought up the house lights on a stadium full of people, "Look at all these people. They told me y'all weren't gonna show up!" Oh, my, the pandemonium that erupted. It was a great night. And just a few months later, EVERYONE was taking potshots at George W. Had the timing been different, their career wouldn't have been practically snuffed out by the ignorant. Such a shame. Love those Chicks!