Monday, April 29, 2019

To Swear or not to Swear

It's impossible to listen to new music, certain rap/hip-hop, but also pop, without hearing what was once referred to as foul or vulgar language. Certainly with Rap, it seems to be a part of the landscape, and obviously, that's a bit of a generalization, but most of what I hear has its fair share of F-bombs and the like.

I assume, this has been a means to shock, give it its own identity, and to separate it from other more tame genres. F-bomb love songs, anyone?


One of the reasons profanity was little tolerated in yonder olden days was the idea that it coarsened social norms and was bad manners which an enlightened type did not engage in. Like tattoos.

But like tattoos, profanity is, for the most part, accepted as a norm in general conversation, and like tattoos, is no longer particularly shocking. That doesn't mean it doesn't coarsen the general mood; I think it does, and perversely, without the ability of profanity to shock, what then is its purpose?

As far as music goes, I'm a less is better type. If you want to genuinely use the words to amplify the anger, because that's what they were created to do, then do so with care and within limits (I f**king love you just doesn't sound as loving with the F-bomb, does it?). That and it kicks you into the whole "explicit" category when it comes to marketing and I like to think the few people who listen to me do so for reasons having nothing to do with a propensity for profanity.

Which is a fancy way of saying I don't care for it.

Which is saying something coming from a former sailor who could spew quite a blue streak, but time and place.

Same with lyrics.

©2019 David William Pearce

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