Sunday, 30 January 2011

Indie Rockers Can Swear Too - #1 - Okkervil River

Johnny Cash firmly in F.U.R.B mode.

This post is something I've had kicking around the dust bowl of my brain for quite a while now. It's about swearing, cuss words, cursing. Those words you hear day in, day out from just about everyone yet won't hear on the TV before 9pm. I don't need to give you any examples. Just think about Piers Morgan for a second now for me....yeah, those words.

People often ask if I'm a breast or leg man. Well, I've always been a lyrics man. If a song is especially well written you could back it with a blindfolded raccoon hitting a tin of beans and I wouldn't really care. I listen to lyrics over and over until I've committed them to memory, I listen to songs with the liner notes out in front of me, I google lyrics and get viruses from 'lyric' sites that always immediately offer to send ringtones to your phone for free via a ominous looking pop-up. I'm just a freak for them.

What of swearing though? Does it have a place in music? Are lyrics that include curse words necessary? For me, I think resolutely yes - if they are used well. That's an enormous caveat there, I'll concede.Please note that this post solely relates to indie or alternative rock only because, let's be honest, there'd be little point in writing this about Hip-Hop. Case in point, Rick Ross' 'Hustlin'' which has a first line that reads "Who the fuck ya think ya fucking with I'm the fuckin' boss..." That line right there is twelve words long and includes three curses. That's goddamn 25%.

I'm going to think of a song each day that includes one good use of a bad word and post it up. BTW, in case you were wondering, I'm revelling in the immaturity of writing about naughty words. Revelling in it.

1.Okkervil River - 'Red'

"Yes is my favourite answer..."

This really is an amazing song from the world's best bandTM and it dropped pretty early in their career too. 'Red' is written from the perspective of a guy that knows a mother and a daughter that have grown apart. The daughter has grown up to be a stripper and this could be partly due to her upbringing. At separate times, both mother and daughter confess to the songs protagonist that they miss each other and it is in this daughter's confession that we get a golden swear that goes:
"I know that it's easy to have me/but I have seen some things/That I cannot even tell to my family pictures/And I'm full of fictions and fucking addictions/And I miss my mother."
It's lines like these that make you appreciate how good Will Sheff really is. I can't be the only one that pictures a pretty girl choking these words out as her mascara runs. This swear is one of impact that adds a real spit and kick to its line and especially works well, in more ways than one, with the word 'addictions'.

Along with a helpful youtube link and a paragraph or two of my bollocks, each song will also be judged using the below criterion for my records:

# of words - 1
Severity of word - The second worst one to youknowwhat.
Manner of delivery - Poetic

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