Take the sex and drugs out of rock 'n' roll, and much of what remains is tour stories and censorship. Instances of the latter date from rock's Brylcreem beginnings in the 1950s, forming part of a long bellow of outrage over America's popular culture by the more backward and fearful elements of our poltroonish polity. Everyone's heard how Elvis Presley's hips shook America to its moral foundations, and almost as many know the FBI kept a file on "Louie, Louie." But, let's face it -- few have the time or leisure to get offended by every passing gaucherie, Satanic come-on, or backward-masked Bolshevism in popular music, and there's a chance one or two of you actually missed a few. So, in the spirit of pro bono publico, here is a list of songs with lyrics proven offensive by experts at being offended.
1. "Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)" by W.A.S.P.
Though the title of this track off these L.A. glam monkeys' eponymous 1983 debut was itself prurient enough to land it a spot on the Parents Music Resource Center's "Filthy Fifteen," lyrics like "I'll nail your ass to the sheets/ A pelvic thrust and the sweat starts to sting ya/ I fuck like a beast" doubtless gave PMRC's Tipper (Al's wife) Gore a worse fit of vapors. Sadly, few other songs on the Fifteen meet this platinum standard for filth, with "She Bop" by Cyndi Lauper and "In My House" by the Mary Jane Girls sounding more like church music.
2. "Hong Kong Garden" by Siouxsie and the Banshees
This rousing 1978 U.K. punk anthem, on the other tattooed hand, never came anywhere near the Filthy Fifteen, likely because no one at Capitol Hill-based PMRC could penetrate Siouxsie's stentorian South London bellow. Lines like "Slanted eyes meet a new sunrise/ A race of bodies, small in size," Siousxie tells us, were meant to express solidarity with skinhead-harried folk at Hong Kong Garden Takeaway in cheery Chislehurst. Any non-goth may be forgiven skepticism.
3. "Having My Baby" by Paul Anka
Feminists, right-to-lifers, and pro-choicers alike shared a convivial snit over this innocuous 1974 country-pop paean to impending parenthood, with the money quote - "Didn't have to keep it/ Wouldn't put you through it/ You could have swept it from your life/ But you wouldn't do it" providing many happy hours of politicized outrage in the middle of the Me Decade. "I can't hand out a pamphlet every time I write a song," Anka snorted.
4. "Born in a Casket" by Cannibal Corpse
It's hard to find five consecutive words off 1990's Eaten Back to Life that don't read like a menu card at the Buzzard's Banquet, but this detailed account of the conception and birth of an infant zombie takes the meat-ax for abattoir imagery. "Bleeding sores beginning to stench/ While you lick the festering stump/ Green infection discharging pus/ Devour the putrid afterbirth" sound less like rock lyrics and more like ransom demands written on a padded wall with a banana.
5. "French" by Tyler the Creator
Up 'til now, only elite music journalists have had much chance to get offended by Odd Future, and some of them are still swooning over these new viral heroes of hip-hop. Full name O. F. W.G. K. T. A. (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All), this ten-member clutch of snotflickers was invented by MC Tyler, a wimpy-looking 19 year-old home-studio wizard who likes to rap about raping old ladies in nursing homes. Off his self-produced full-length Bastard comes the oft-quoted couplet "I'm opening a church to sell coke and Led Zeppelin/ To fuck Mary in her ass." Pitchfork gamely admits "They can be awfully hard to listen to."
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