Songs Where the "Clean" Version Is Better Than The Unedited One

After reading the couple of recent threads recently about songs that toss in one or two curse words, I got to thinking about the way those kind of songs are edited for radio. In general, when a song with not-safe-for-radio words gets released as a single, the editing is clumsy and tends to call attention to the fact that there used to be a dirty word here, seemingly achieving the opposite of what was intended.

I was able to think of two recent songs, however, where i’ve heard both the original and the edited version, and I like the bowdlerized version better than the song the artist originally recorded:

“Fuckin’ Perfect”, by Pink - I heard the radio version of this many many times before I even heard the unedited version. Upon hearing it, it seemed to me like the titular F-bomb was just plain gratuitous.

“Payphone”, by Maroon 5 - I heard the unedited version before the radio one. In this case, the radio version changes the couplet “All these fairy tales are full of shit, one more fuckin’ love song i’ll be sick” to “All these fairy tales are full of it, one more stupid love song i’ll be sick” - which to me seems to flow better and make the song sound more sincere and less whiny. (The radio version also removes the guest verse from Wiz Khalifa, of whom I think I can say that no song has ever been improved by his presence, but that’s a topic for another time.)

Anyone else ever found a song where they preferred the edited version to the original?

Not really my genre, but I’d pick the Black Eyed Peas Let’s Get It Started over the original Let’s Get Retarded. Just something about the word “Retarded” being repeated over and over is a bit grating.

Anything by The Doors. The radio edits are tighter and keep the song flowing, while the unedited versions sag because of Morrison’s blatherings. “Break On Through (To the Other Side)” and “The End” are the most notable examples.

Yikes, me too.

Does Cee Lo Green actually say “Fuck You” in an unedited version of the song? Because I actually like “Forget You”, it’s fun to sing along badly to while driving.

Uh, what? There’s no such thing as a radio edit of “The End,” and the single version of “Break On Through” was the same length as the album version–less than two and a half minutes.

Yeah, the first time I heard the “Forget You” version was the Glee version. I thought it really dumbed down the song.

My favorite censored song though is Prince’s “Sexy MF”. Instead of “fucker”, Prince yelps “uhUhUHT!”. It’s silly awesome.

“Fuck you” works much better. Its the contrast between theangry lyrics and the upbeat music that makes the song. “Forget you” is too antiseptic.

“Break On Through” has two versions. They are both the same length. The original radio edit just cuts the vocals a bit to “She gets…” rather than “She gets high.” The additional word ruins the rhythm.

The recorded version IS the radio edit. Have you ever heard the live version? Total garbage as Morrison lets loose his demons.

Enrique Iglesias has a song that has two versions: “Tonight I’m loving you” and “Tonight I’m fucking you.” I’m not a prude but that’s just crass.

I have to disagree, but not because of the meaning of the words. I feel that in that song 3 syllables (“for-get you”) sounds much better to my ears than 2 (“fuck you”).

Nine Inch Nails, Closer. I prefer having the edited version in mixes - having the unedited version just appear in a mix and hearing him discuss how he wants to fuck me like an animal…it just requires a more specific context, that’s all :wink:

The song “Officer Krupke” from WEST SIDE STORY:

I personally think the cleaned up version is better in the first two lines, but then they’re stuck with the rhyme of “Commie”

I dunno, I think the first is slightly more pertinent (“schmuck” rather than “slob”) but “get a job” seems more realistic than “earn a buck.”)


I like the radio edit of Madonna’s ''Human Nature," which is my favorite Madonna song of all time. The original lyrics are, ''I’m not your bitch, don’t hang your shit on me" but the radio edit replaces “bitch” and “shit” with a sort of muffled thumping sound. I feel like it more closely drives home the meaning of the song, because the song itself is about struggling against censorship.

That’s funny because I like the unedited version for the exact same reason. The two syllables sounds better to me. I suspect the difference comes from which version you heard first.

Low Fidelity All Stars - Battleflag. The edited version has a computerized stutter inserted in the “get down on your k-n-n-n-n-n-n-nees” refrain. The stutter covers up a “motherfucking”. The edited version sounds cool and spacy; the original sounds like a 9-year-old who just discovered YouTube videos have cussing and has to repeat everything he hears.

I’m another one who thinks the extra syllable makes Cee-lo’s song easier to sing along with.

About a month ago I heard the unedited version for the first time. I said the the wife, “Wow, this is a surprisingly vulgar song.” I had no idea.

Dude, it’s the Black Eyed Peas. Their songs are grating no matter what. I think that every single one of their songs should song like this. They take their lyrical cues from Rage Against the Machine, except poppier. “Hey guys, I wrote a cool line!” “Awesome! One small change, write ‘repeat 40x’ on the bottom!”

Wait, where does he swear in “Break on Through”? I’m not talking about some live version, I mean if there is swearing on the album version, I don’t hear it, and radio the same. “The End” has some muttered “fuckfuckfuckyeah” in some versions which you wouldn’t notice unless pointed out. And it makes up like 1/100 of the song’s length.

If you heard a live version, then yeah, maybe Jim’s drunken ramblings are a bit profane, like his seminal hit, “Fuck Her in the Ass” (sic).

On the other hand, if the Doors just started, MTV and/or the radio would probably censor “she gets high.” I wish that were a joke.

And if you mean that this has nothing to do with swearing and the radio version of “Light My Fire” is better, I might agree. But it’s not what the OP asked.

I like my women feisty and foul-mouthed, and Miranda Lambert is about as feisty as they come in mainstream country, but I’ve got to mention her song “Baggage Claim.” At the end of the song, she repeats the line, “Come and get it,” a couple times. On the album version, the very second time she ends it with, “Come and get your shit.” The problem is that the word *shit *comes after the music ends, and it just disrupts the flow of the whole end of the song. I like that she ends the lyrics with the music on the edited version.

I, uh, will pass that on to them? Anyhoo…back to the topic.

In 1967, “high” was a swear word to AM radio! :stuck_out_tongue: