What the %*&@# Has Happened to Song Lyrics?!
They tell stories about Elvis Presley in his heyday being criticized — labeled as scandalous — because of the way he would gyrate his hips on television. Viewers were appalled at this sort of demonstration. In those times this was more than frowned upon.
While it’s true he went on to become known as the King of Rock & Roll, keep in mind that he kept all his clothes on, was clean cut, and (without reviewing every lyric of every song in his vast catalogue) probably didn’t have any profanity in his songs.
Before you slap the “old guy” tag on me, understand that scores of listeners and creators (and maybe even psychologists) would tell you how impressionable music can be. It’s not unlike why there is a ratings system for movies. Responsible parents don’t want their kids hearing bad language and/or seeing adult-type scenes.
Which brings me to the sad state of song lyrics today.
What the heck has happened and when did it get this out of control?
I remember being a kid and saying someone was a jerk, and my parents coming down on me as though I just damaged that person’s property. Yet in 2020, kids can potentially hear any of George Carlin’s proverbial seven dirty words by easily accessing music on their phone, which most seem to own and carry these days. Even YouTube is making a big push to get more users to embrace YouTube Music as the streaming platform of choice from the sea of endless app options that make songs so easily accessible.
A look at the charts this morning reveals some gruesome findings.
On the Top 200 chart on iTunes (a.k.a. Apple Music), 43 of the songs are marked as having explicit lyrics. That almost 22 percent, or, more than one out of five songs. Keep in mind how many songs might be listened to in an average streaming session and that means you can probably be assured of hearing at least one song with explicit lyrics. The chart does span many genres, including at least one Christian artist that jumped out at me, not to mention country and even “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins. Even Taylor Swift is on there — with a song that’s marked as explicit. You know, the same Taylor Swift who is supposed to be a role model to so many young kids, but who also committed two offenses that I documented on this site three weeks ago.
It gets worse.
This morning I also looked on Spotify at the US Top 50 chart, which is labeled as, “Your daily update of the most played tracks in United States right now” (sic) and has close to 3.3 million followers. They would be jealous of Apple Music’s figure of “only” almost 22 percent. How about that 35 out of the 50 songs have explicit lyrics? Are you kidding me? Seventy percent?!
From the category of, “Watch your mouth, young man,” what point are you trying to make that has to be done through profanity? Perhaps I should start taking a poll with the songwriter guests on my weekly “ Now Hear This Entertainment” podcast and ask, “Where does profanity come into play in your songwriting process.”
Last week UFC Hall of Famer Bas Rutten said that during his career he noticed that when opponents would start using profanity, they were nervous. He took it as a sign of weakness and was able to exploit it. Perhaps there are recording artists nowadays who struggle with confidence in their lyrics and try to hide behind profanity to try to be that same tough guy that went up against Bas in the octagon. To them I simply say that Bas ended his career on a 22-fight unbeaten streak. So, the cursing wasn’t fooling anyone. The best rose to the top.
Clean up your act.
I am a manager and publicist, running Now Hear This, Inc., an agency that has served clients across the U.S. ranging from music artists to authors to small businesses and even an Olympic athlete. Since February 2014 I have also hosted a weekly podcast (“Now Hear This Entertainment”), which has gotten listeners from 153 countries around the world. Find more about the company and the podcast at www.NowHearThis.biz. I am also a national speaker. Visit www.SpeakerBruceW.com for more information.
Originally published at https://www.now-hear-this.net.