Profanity in Songs

Profanity laden songs that you think the usage of profanity is integral and works… and/or simply interesting and noteworthy?

Lisa Germano - Red Thread (profanity starts after about 2:00 mark)

Liz Phair specializes in this.

Cake’s song ‘‘Nugget.’’ Groovy guitar, funky brass, strange and thought-provoking lyrics, and the chorus is a mildly irritated,

‘‘Shut the fuck up.’’

You’re Breaking my Heart, by Harry Nilsson. The perfect song for a bad breakup.

Cee-Lo’s “Fuck You.” The sanitized “Forget You” is a terrible song, but the original has such a great angry punch to it.

I enjoy both versions, but what I like about it is that the profanity is so natural and organic. ‘‘Ain’t that some shit.’’ Yes, Cee-Lo, it certainly is.

In case anyone wants links to Liz Phair examples, Fuck & Run, Flower, and HWC (Hot White Cum)are all good examples.

The Rollings Stones - Star Star (a.k.a. Starfucker).

What year was this song released and why didn’t I ever hear it until now… not that I ever bought Nilsson’s record before.

NIN - Closer

I can’t imagine the song without “I want to fuck you like an animal” in the chorus.

There’s something quite satisfying about these songs…

Mumford and Sons’ “Little Lion Man” has the chorus

And it was not your fault but mine.
And it was your heart on the line.
I really fucked it up this time,
didn’t I my dear?

I don’t think “messed it up” or “screwed it up” or other less-offensive phrases would have worked as well. The singer is feeling terribly guilty, and “fucked it up” seems appropriate.

1972, on the album Son of Schmillsson.

Damien Rice - Rootless Tree, the chorus.

Rilo Kiley - A Better Son/Daughter, the brief bit starting at 1:41. A sparse and surprising two ‘fucks’ to really elevate the tone and pack a punch.

Shut Your Fucking Face Uncle Fucker” --South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)

In this classic piece, I think the South Park creators really captured the emotion of the moment. Lyrics like “Be quiet, you unsavory person” would have diluted the wellspring of emotion these lyrics convey.

Lair Of The Minotaur’s Let’s Kill These Motherfuckers

The Bronx with Shitty Future

The Bronx with History’s Stranglers

The Dead Milkmen’s Life Is Shit

I’m pretty sure it was a classic “Contractual Obligation Album” - where the artist is forced to make and release an album by a record company they no longer wish to work for. See also Donovan’s Cosmic Wheels with the classic The Intergalactic Laxative:

Kate Bush shocked her fans with the song Song of Solomon on The Red Shoes:

Todd Rundgren has a history of dropping bombs into things that could otherwise be hits. His song Jesse is a really beautiful melody that he used for a partisan attack on Jesse Helms, Tipper Gore and Pope John Paul II:

…and the song Flaw from Liars could have been played on the radio. Just a little problem with the chorus:

My darling daughters, when junior high age, would take great delight in singing along to the chorus to Stan Roger’s Barrett’s Privateers:

Goddamn them all!
We were told we’d sail the seas for American gold,
We’d fire no guns,
Shed no tears,
But I’m a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett’s Privateers.

Ween’s Piss Up a Rope uses profanity quite nicely.

You ride my ass like a horse in a saddle
Now you’re up shit’s creek with a turd for a paddle
And I can’t cope, a-piss up a rope

Warren Zevon: My Shit’s Fucked Up