Top 10 Most Controversial Songs
Music can be political, sexy and romantic but some musicians have been known to take it a little too far and this can cause controversy with the song lyrics. There are a lot of songs out there that are very graphic in nature but I have chosen to list only those songs that became known to mainstream listeners. Here is a list of the 10 most controversial songs.
#10 “Suicide Solution” – Ozzy Osbourne
Suicide is slow with liquor
Take a bottle, drown your sorrows
“Suicide Solution” is a song by heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. It is track five from his 1980 album Blizzard of Ozz. On January 12, 1986, a lawsuit against Osbourne was filed by the parents of John McCollum, a depressed teenager who committed suicide allegedly after listening to this song. The plaintiffs failed to prove that Osbourne had any responsibility for the teenager’s death. Plaintiffs attorneys alleged that a line in the song stated “Why try? Get the gun and shoot!” Osbourne has denied that these were the original lyrics.
#9 “Get Your Gunn” – Marilyn Manson
I throw a little fit
I slit my teenage wrist
“Get Your Gunn” is the first official single released in 1994 by Marilyn Manson. The song was inspired by the 1993 murder of OB/GYN doctor David Gunn (hence the spelling) who was killed in Florida by self-proclaimed pro-life activist Michael Frederic Griffin. Vocalist Marilyn Manson later described his murder as “the ultimate hypocrisy I witnessed growing up: that these people killed someone in the name of being ‘pro-life’.” Marilyn Manson took a big hit when the Columbine Massacre happened in 1999 with news agencies falsely reporting that the perpetrators, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, were fans of Manson. Critics blamed Manson songs like “Get Your Gunn.”
#8 “Killing an Arab” – The Cure
Staring down the barrel at the Arab on the ground
See his open mouth but I hear no sound
“Killing an Arab” is the first single by British group The Cure. It was recorded in 1979 but only released on their 1980 album Boys Don’t Cry. Composer Robert Smith said that it was short poetic attempt to condense key moments in L’Étranger (The Stranger) by Albert Camus”. The track has a controversial history, since it has often been viewed as promoting violence against Arabs. The song was revived in 2005, when the band performed the song at several European festivals. The lyrics, however, were changed from “Killing an Arab” to “Kissing an Arab”.
#7 “Damn” – Beenie Man
I’m dreaming of a new Jamaica/Come to execute all the gays
Beenie Man, is a Grammy award-winning Jamaican reggae artist. Beenie Man has been criticized for using homophobic lyrics throughout much of his work. The song that gained the most criticism is “Damn” off of his 2000 compilation album Hot Sex, in which he sang: “I’m dreaming of a new Jamaica/Come to execute all the gays.” He was removed from the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards after protests by gay-rights activists. In 2005, gay rights group OutRage! suspended their opposition to Beenie Man after he agreed not to play songs featuring homophobic lyrics. As of 2010, protests have continued to cause cancellations of his concerts in some countries, including New Zealand, Belgium and the Netherlands.
#6 “Smack my Bitch up” – The Prodigy
Change my pitch up
Smack my bitch up
“Smack My Bitch Up” was the thirteenth single released by the British Big Beat band The Prodigy in 1997. The song was highly controversial because its lyrics, title and music video were believed to promote violence against women. The song was banned by the BBC. Though universally banned from television, massive demands on MTV eventually had them relent and show the video, but only after midnight and following an MTV News warning. The video was at #1 on the countdown and therefore named the “Most Controversial Video” in MTV’s history. Despite the controversy, the video would be nominated for four MTV Video Music Awards, and eventually won Best Dance Video and Breakthrough Video.
#5 “Dear God” – XTC
Them starving on their feet ’cause they don’t get
Enough to eat from God, I can’t believe in you
British new wave pop band XTC weren’t known for grabbing headlines, but their 1986 track “Dear God” did just that. An unflinching anti-religious song that vividly explores the extent of human suffering and asks how a just and loving God could allow it to happen, the track was condemned by many religious figures. The lyrics are addressed to God, and vividly describe the range of human suffering, which the narrator attributes to God. Despite a prayer-like quality, the lyrics strongly imply doubt as to the existence of God (“Did you make mankind after we made you?”).
#4 “Judas” – Lady Gaga
Forgive him when his tongue lies through his brain
Even after three times, he betrays me
“Judas” is a song by American recording artist Lady Gaga, from her second studio album, Born This Way (2011). The song and video are told from Mary Magdelene’s perspective, with lyrics such as, “When he comes to me, I am ready/ I’ll wash his feet with my hair if he needs/ Forgive him when his tongue lies through his brain/ Even after three times, he betrays me/ I’ll bring him down, a king with no crown…”The suggestive lyrics angered some, including The Catholic League. ” I don’t view the video as a religious statement,” Lady Gaga stated in a revealing, wide-ranging interview. “I view it as social statement. I view it as a cultural statement. “It’s a metaphor. It’s not meant to be a biblical lesson.”
#3 “Cop Killer” – Body Count
I’m a cop killer, better you than me.
Cop killer, fuck police brutality!
Body Count is an American thrash metal band that is co-found and fronted by Ice-T. “Cop Killer” is a song from their 1992 self titled debut album. The song provoked much controversy and negative reactions from political figures such as then-President George H.W. Bush, then-Vice President Dan Quayle, and Tipper Gore, co-founder of Parents Music Resource Center. Others defended the song on the basis of the band’s First Amendment rights. Ice-T referred to “Cop Killer” as a “protest record,” stating of the song, “I’m singing in the first person as a character who is fed up with police brutality. I ain’t never killed no cop. I felt like it a lot of times. But I never did it. If you believe that I’m a cop killer, you believe David Bowie is an astronaut,”
#2 “Kim” – Eminem
Am I too loud for you?
Too bad bitch, your gonna finally hear me out this time
“Kim” is a song by American rapper Eminem which appears on his 2000 album The Marshall Mathers LP. The song reflects intense anger and hatred toward Eminem’s then-wife Kim Mathers. Eminem is both emotional and aggressive throughout the entire song, as it portrays him kidnapping and murdering Kim Scott, the mother of his daughter Hailie.. The final verse ends with Eminem slitting Kim’s throat, while screaming “Bleed, bitch, bleed!” Women’s right groups called for the song to be banned and a young Arizona father was reported to have stabbed his wife and daughter to death while singing the song back in 2009.Kim Sued Eminem for defamation after he depicted her violent death in the song.
#1 “Darling Nikki” – Prince
I met her in a hotel lobby
Masturbating with a magazine
“Darling Nikki” is a song produced, arranged, composed and performed by Prince and originally released on his Grammy Award-winning 1984 album, Purple Rain. Though the song was not released as a single, it gained wide notoriety for its sexual lyrics. The song tells the story of a “sex fiend” named Nikki who seduces the singer. When Tipper Gore (wife of former US vice-president Al Gore) heard her daughter listening to this song, she became outraged and started the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) to fight against offensive lyrics.