Atop the UK singles chart at the minute, for the second of what is almost certain to be 5,000 weeks, sits Cee-Lo’s ‘Fuck You’. For those of you who have… OK, fuck that, right? You’ve heard it.
If you ask me, it’s a pile of dogshit. But hey, that’s not why we’re here. We’re here because if you look on, for example, the BBC’s Official Chart Page, you’ll see that is listed as ‘Forget You’. Not ‘F**k You’. ‘Forget You’. And there’s an accompanying radio version and squeaky clean video, too.
Here’s the mildly pedantic bit: unless you are a complete and utter gimp, you cannot see a guy driving around town with the girl you love and be like, ‘Forget you’. IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. What the hell happened to that grand ol’ tradition of vaguely naughty pop music, the bleep?
Doubtless you will remember Eamon’s ‘Fuck It (I Don’t Want You Back)’ from back in 2003. Also Number One. And a better tune. Its true genius, though, lay in its clean version, where the payoff line “Fuck it you bitch, I don’t want you back’ became the unintelligible mess that is “Bweeep it you ooooh, I don’t want you back”.
If people are going to make you take out swearing, the biggest way of saying ‘Fuck you’ to them is to make them listen to something totally and utterly ridiculous. Replacing the words with acceptable ones is the work of a folking coke soccer.
(Notable exception #1: ‘Tutti Frutti’. The title itself slang for a homosexual male, the lyrics originally ran: “Tutti Frutti, good booty/If it don’t fit, don’t force it/You can grease it, make it easy". Obviously, they changed to something more palatable to 1955).
(Notable exception #2: Evan Dando on Top Of The Pops changing the line “I don’t need you to suck my dick” to “I don’t need you to duck my sick”. That’s GENIUS).
Anyway: there have been loads of Number Ones with swearing in them! Shortly after the 2000s began, Eminem had a Number One with ‘The Real Slim Shady’ (“Will Smith don’t have to cuss in his raps to sell records/Well I do. So fuck him and fuck you too”); shortly before it finished, Rage Against The Machine topped the charts with some of the most famous “fucks” ever recorded, and all off the back of an internet campaign.
So surely Cee-Lo, off the back of the biggest viral video of the year, could have stuck to his guns and just said, ‘If you don’t like it, then bleep the fucker out”? Even if only so his song made sense.
Swearing is not big or clever, but that’s the point. Swearing is for teenagers, and sneaking a little bit of coded swearing past the powers-that-be is as much a part of being a teenager as smoking a joint behind the bikesheds.
All of which, for pushing the campaign for real swearing in the charts back by years, and potentially putting the guys who put the bleeps on records out of business, leaves me with just one thing to say to Cee-Lo Green: FUCK YOU!