Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumped Up Kicks

I was embarassed to admit that I liked the song.  It's wrong, yes.  But I like it anyway.
It's bouncy, it's a car-dancing tune.

However, the lyrics...

At first, I couldn't make out the lyrics. And I didn't particularly like how the vocals in the verses were processed.  No matter, the chorus was catchy. 
I thought it was some kind of weird remake of The Drew Carrey Show theme song.
I did.
You know, "All the little kids with the crimson lips say Cleveland Rocks..."

I'd been hearing this song on a few select radio stations long before anyone came forward and said it was a bad influence on children.  There was no one to tell me what the song was about.  I poked around from station to station searching for it so I could learn the title, catch the artist name. 
One evening, I was listening to it on the way home from work, picked out enough of the lyrics ("All the other kids with the..." and ", baby, run..." - which is wrong, btw.) and searched it on Google.
That's when I learned it was called "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People.

I read the full lyrics...

And laughed!

I found the music video on YouTube and played it for the boys.
Elder Son echoed my sentiments.  "Really?" he said.  "That's terrible!"
"I know.  But I kinda like it anyway."

All of that leads to this:
Now the song has hit main stream radio stations.
Now there's an out cry.
I'm good with that.
I understand that.
I'd go so far as to say the song shouldn't be played on certain radio stations.

Still, I wasn't going to say anything to defend it.

Driving to work, I heard the familiar intro and turned up the volume.
The bouncy chorus came... and they'd bleeped out the word "gun".
Two lines later, they bleeped out "bullet".

I get it.
I do.
I know why this radio station would play an altered version of the song.
But, there are a lot of disturbing images in the song.  Removing those two words won't change the mood of the whole.  There's still a boy who "found a six shooter gun in his father's closet with a box of fun things" and "he's coming for you, yeah, he's coming for you".

If you feel the need to remove two words in order to avoid conflict, why are you playing the song at all?
That's my beef.
It's not that they altered the song, it's because they shouldn't be playing it at all, but they don't have the balls to make that decision, either.

To play or not to play, that is the question.
The question is not how much of it to play.

Let's agree that the song is wrong no matter what the song writer says about why he wrote it.
Let's get past that argument.

What do you think about altering a song to make it less controversial?
In this case specifically, does removing "gun" and "bullet" really fool anyone?'
I'd rather the station not play it at all.
The altered version ticks me off more than the song itself.



G.G. Mueller said...

Stations did that with the Rolling Stones many, many moons ago. They took out the word "pregnant". Like I wouldn't find out what that word was or that I didn't know what it meant. STUPID!
You are right --play or don't play.

Dani said...

I agree "raido play" versions of songs are stupid. It's not the way the artist intended it to be heard. Yes there are some things that shouldn't be played on radio. People have a right not to hear certain words or phrases if they don't want to but just skip the whole song.

The one that always makes me laugh is on some oldies stations when they play Van Morisons Brown Eyed Girl they take out the phrase "making love" I guess that must have been racy at one time but these days it's just silly.

Oblivious Beast said...

Aw, _that's_ what they are singing. Couldn't understand half the words in the first place, so editing out the "bad" words doesn't make a huge difference. But dropping a beat annoys the heck out of me. It's a white spot in a beautiful painting, the last two puzzle pieces that are just missing or a kiss that didn't hit the lips right.

I guess I agree, play it or don't play.

Christie Critters said...

Well,Having Googled the lyrics, I don't see why it is any worse the Boom Town Rats and "I Don't Like Mondays" (Based on a real-life shooting rampage - Tell me why? I don't like Mondays. I'm gonna shoot the whole day down.) I sang that catchy tune all the time, I hated Mondays, but I certainly didn't take pot shots at a schoolyard full of kids.

Just censoring the lyrics is silly. Use it for a discussion topic, whatever. Play it or don't play it. Just bleeping certain words really has no place except maybe in "Kid's Bop" versions of the song.

diamond dave said...

With you all the way on this. If you have issues with the song, just don't play it. Butchering or bleeping the lyrics (especially for quasi-political reasons - not because they were just plain too vulgar to be aired) is a bunch of BS. Which is why I avoid most pop stations and prefer the classic rock or alternative formats, they're usually not shy about these things.

DogsDontPurr said...

It is so silly. We know what those words are anyway. I think bleeping them just draws more attention to it. I have often googled lyrics when I hear a song with oddly bleeped words.

kmburkezoo said...

That's like the radio stations around here that play Rihanna's "S&M" but take out the word "sex."

Roses said...

I can't remember the last time I had this many people agree with me.

Oh yeah, it was just before my children learned how to speak.