Last week, we published a selection of what we thought were some of the most gloriously offensive songs in musical history. The article gave rise to a heap of comments from our readers, stimulating (ahem) some healthy debate and providing us with plenty of suggestions as to others songs we could have included. There was a long discussion of whether “Brown Sugar” was really about heroin (the answer: no), but there were also some great nominations, so we’ve put together a readers’ choice selection after the jump. And, again, we’ve excluded genres whose entire raison d’etre is to shock — i.e. grindcore — so, apologies, but still no Cannibal Corpse.
Body Count — “Cop Killer”
Suggested by danteslukewarmbathwater and tim
Along with “Fuck Tha Police,” this was probably the most controversial record of the 1990s — Tipper Gore and Dan Quayle hated it and wanted Ice-T prosecuted, white suburban teens looking for new ways to outrage their parents loved it. Lost in amongst all the hullabaloo was the fact that Ice-T wasn’t, y’know, actually a homicidal vigilante lunatic. As he said at the time, “If you believe that I’m a cop killer, you believe David Bowie is an astronaut.” Years later, it doesn’t have quite the same impact — but still, is it offensive enough to warrant a place here? Definitely.
Wet Spots — “Do You Take It?”
Suggested by Johnnycakes
We’d never heard of this Canadian duo before, but we were giggling like schoolgirls throughout this video, a tender lounge jazz ballad that poses a very personal question in a very amusing manner. We won’t spoil it, but don’t watch this at work.
The Frogs — “Grandma’s Sitting In The Corner with a Penis in Her Hand Going ‘NO NO NO NO NO'”
Suggested by Clembot
The title says it all, really.
Karen Finley — “Tales of Taboo”
Suggested by John
“Be schooled,” said reader John. And, um, we were. We’ll leave it to you to do the same, except to say Karen makes Betty Davis look like a shrinking violet, and that you should not under any circumstances play this at work (or at all if you’re averse to hearing explicit lyrics about getting it on with your grandma — what is it with the grandparental theme here?!)
Ogden Edsel — “Kinko the Clown”
Suggested by P Smith
A happy little ditty about a pedophiliac clown who loves to invite kids into his car and dress them up in leather while plying them with candy canes and “funny cigarettes.” Fun times, eh?
Randy Newman — “Rednecks”
Suggested (snarkily) by Jonah
This is offensive only insofar that the situation that Newman dissects with his characteristically razor-sharp wit is offensive. The song starts as a fairly blunt satire on racism in the Deep South, but its subtleties are far greater than that — in fact, Newman suggests, northeastern liberals are just as guilty of “keeping the niggers down” as segregationists like former Georgian governor Lester Maddox, who’s mentioned in the song’s first verse.
Wesley Willis — “Suck a Camel’s Poody Hole”
Suggested by oracle
You could basically include any of the late and inimitable Wesley Willis’ apparently endless supply of Casio-led animal rants here — apart from this, he’s responsible for songs like “Suck a Cheetah’s Dick,” “Suck a Caribou’s Ass,” “Suck a Polar Bear’s Dick” and… well, you get the idea.The songs were apparently recorded as they “grossed out” the “demons” who otherwise stalked poor Willis everywhere — he was a paranoid schizophrenic, and was apparently plagued by voices in his head his entire life. Knowing the backstory makes listening to Willis’s obscene and frequently hilarious music a strange experience — but if making it helped him, and brought him some measure of peace, then surely we can appreciate it, too. We chose this particular track because we’re pretty certain it’s the only song that anyone’s ever written, anywhere, to include the term “poody hole” in the title. Or to include the line “Suck a European bison’s asshole.” Is there even such a thing as a European bison?
The Rolling Stones — “Under My Thumb”
Suggested by hotandbothered
“The Rolling Stones’ ‘Under My Thumb’ makes me want to kill men if I hear them singing it,” said reader hotandbothered. We can only agree, although even more mystifying is the phenomenon of seeing girls singing along to Jagger’s paean to misogyny. Whafuck?
The Misfits — “Last Caress”
Suggested by danteslukewarmbathwater and Thom
So what’s more offensive here: the lyrics about killing babies and raping mothers, the fact that the riff after the chorus shamelessly rips off The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop,” or Glenn Danzig in general? We’re going with the latter.
Akinyele — “Put It in Your Mouth”
Suggested by turnthemikeup
A tender panegyric to the joys of mutual oral sex. Awwww, bless.
Rough Trade — “Crimes of Passion”
Suggested by P Smith
Lyrics about gay sex, S&M, drugs, masturbation, and murder? Yikes. This is intense, and all the more so for having a video that plays out the scenarios it describes, and for the fact that it sounds kind of like a Canadian version of Yazoo. We can imagine it caused quite a stir when it was released in 1982.
Bonus editor’s choice:
Frank Zappa — “Bobby Brown Goes Down”
We included Frank Zappa’s “We’re Turning Again” in our original feature, but on reflection, we’re not sure that we should have overlooked the truly spectacular “Bobby Brown Goes Down,” wherein Zappa charts the social and sexual revolution of the ’60s and ’70s by relating the story of Bobby Brown (no, not the singer), an antihero who starts the song as a muscleheaded jock and ends up three verses later as an emasculated gimp, courtesy of an unscheduled encounter with a lesbian who proves less than receptive to his charms. If nothing else, it’s worth the price of admission for the glorious couplet, “I can take about an hour on the tower of power/ As long as I get a little golden shower!”