Cee-Lo Greens hit song 'F....You'


As someone who is many times ‘older than dirt’ I would have never imagined that one day
a song like this would be even produced much less become a major hit.

But then I think why not?
The song does ‘hit the nail on the head’ lyrically about a condition
of human emotional feeling. (move over Shakespeare)

So does this mean that currently anything can be said in a recording
and then published for the general public without censorship?

Where is the limit now?
Racism/sexism/devil worship/ Klingon hating/loving etc?

Any thoughts?

Hi Curteye

I had a listen to it on YouTube.

As you say, “The song does ‘hit the nail on the head’ lyrically about a condition
of human emotional feeling.” And that’s the point where you thought “Why Not”
OK … can you think of a use of words in a song which Does ‘hit the nail on the head’, yet you’d say ‘no’ to letting it be used? Ie … is that a necessary AND sufficient criterion? Is it ‘anything goes’ as long as it ‘hits the nail on the head’? Just interested.

In my Own soul, When I ask the question ‘Why not’ - the answers I get sound like the unthinking negative judgements my parents used to make. I swear quite a lot, and therefore I like it when the whys and the why nots get asked, in order to more finely tune their use rather than apply blanket interdictions.

I thought ‘F you’ comes under the umbrella of ‘flaming language’ … inciting etc. The kind of language which would not be approved of on a forum, for example.
I also remember “I hate You So Much [right now]” - imo a great song, and another which hit the nail on the head. Again, it is ‘angry AT someone’ Couple of hundred years ago, it would have been “Deciever vile! Avaunt!” - feelings would be the same. Is people having to be ‘nice’ to each other such a good thing?

I noticed with interest that the ‘K you’ song was in the style of the ‘happy-nice’ soul which used to be around in the 60s … so there is the ‘intensification through juxtaposition of opposites’ … cf, this is not using the Multi-Fs we put in when we write rap songs. In that vein, Torchwood and Blood and Sand felt powerful to me too. Anyone followed those? A strong director’s theme in both was use of F–k as an oft used linguistic condiment. I did not follow Torchwood, but I did follow Blood and Sand. those noble Romans effin’ and blindin’ made me feel ODD, though I have to swear a lot in my job.

All the best

Well, there is a different, censored version for the sensitive listeners, called ‘Forget You’.
It’s the same recording, only the words ‘F*ck you’ have been replaced by ‘Forget you’.
The same sentiment, but not as strong…

The song doesn’t offend me, I even like Cee-Lo’s songs very much, but I can understand that some people are offended.
But yeah, where’s the limit? Good question…

Aloha guys
and thanx for the response.

can you think of a use of words in a song which Does ‘hit the nail on the head’, yet you’d say ‘no’ to letting it be used? Ie … is that a necessary AND sufficient criterion? Is it ‘anything goes’ as long as it ‘hits the nail on the head’? Just interested.

Excellent question G and I really do not have an answer to it.

I remember when ‘Louie Louie’ was considered ‘dirty’
and some mainstream AM stations would not play
it yet somehow we all still heard it.

I guess some areas of American society are more
‘in yo face’ now days but is this a type of ‘lyrical progress’ or
something more insidious?

Or is it just another (financially successful) form of artistic expression.

No wrong or right here just wondering where is the limit?
Or is there one and should there be a limit at all?

Also I would like to read some posts from some of the younger Cubase users here
on the forum. (not saying you guys are old. :slight_smile:)

Again, thanx for the points of view.

So what’s new? The late, great and mainstream Harry Nilsson sang the same in 1972 on Son of Schmilsson.
Look for “Harry Nilsson - You’re Breakin’ My Heart”

LOL – excellent citation there, ruddy – much respect. The same exact song crossed my mind when I read curteye’s OP. What’s even funnier, the Nilsson song is the same sort of contrast between “upbeat” music and bitter, ranting lyric that the Ce-Lo song is. I have no doubt that Ce-Lo was quite familiar with it.

Personally, I have lines I won’t cross in my music. But I do not subscribe to any sort of restrictions on art in general. Given that the f-word has been in abundant use in films for over 40 years, and much longer in literature, it’s not surprising that it should appear in popular music, too

I think music moves in the same general patterns as any largely influential phenomenon.

In science, “cloning” was the forbidden word for quite a while. Yet there were so many offshoots that used similar methods, that in just a couple of years or so it became an accepted possibility. Same with religion and political ideals.
You put something controversial out there and see what the public has to say about it. If it is a strong enough shock, then people will talk, it will become popular through positive or negative means… but it will become popular.

Like here, on this forum, even though we’re just talking about it, we’re adding to its fame.

But, like any largely influential phenomenon, what makes it live and breathe and be art has nothing to do with public trends, rather the private process which gives it life and those few of the public which feel and can be a part of at least some of that effort.

All we have to do is wait. They may still make a good living after the uproar dies down, but it will be doing something like commercials for insurance companies. :laughing:

The tolerance level of society for various things increases over time. It used to be that a woman couldn’t say “period” on TV and now you can see what can be generally described as soft porn on network TV channels during the daytime and more and more “curse words” are acceptable to broadcast.

Nothing all that unusual really… I mean, there is an entire genre that uses profane language and explicit sexual descriptions through much of the lyrics. Not sure how one word in a song title can even come close to that. :laughing: Pull up to a stop light in the summer with your small kids in the backseat while someone idling next to you is blasting a 'Lil Kim rap song at 130db…


I imagine it would be the same for some racial hate music out there.

“Trip to Disneyland $800
Double Parachute Jump with Tinkerbell $50
Soft Drinks and Souvenirs $150
The look on your little kid’s face … F—ing Dog’s Bollux!”
American express

When I think about ‘hate/violence’ language … such as slapping biatches and killing people from neighbouring hoods? I have vague memories of Thin Lizzy’s “The Rocker” - in which an act of physical agression is given a positive connotation. The question in my mind is: What do ‘concerned listeners’ most need to attend? For example “F’kin’ Ace Day - I’m In Love with a Lovely La-Day” makes me cringe a little, but I much rather have that coming out of my radio than “Jez stuck a wrong dawg - good blood got bad blood - felt good so doncha come MY side, leaving yourself Open Wide - cos if’n I’m in a bad Mood, you’re Sidewalk blood, Blood.”

A distinction which presents itself to me is that this F You song FEELS pop-mainstream, whereas a lot of Rap feels ‘Subculture-mainstream’. Dana singing “Its going to be a F—ing Cold Cold Christmas” feels plain wrong.

Perhaps greater contrast with expectations created greater " :astonished: "
“Ohhh Baby, you make me feel so F----ing mean tonite”
Well … that’s a bit ‘nasty’, but:
“Hickory Dickory dock - The F—ing Mouse Ran up The clock.”
‘jars’ me quite a lot.

Everything we consider orthodox today was once considered heresy

The limits are pretty much still the same , this song hasn’t changed anything. You can’t say f**k ,or sh*t in a song and get broadcst airplay ; at least here in the US ,where this song was made. I don’t think anyone has heard the original version being broadcast over the air; only online. The “Forget You” edit works quite well and must have been part of the idea when they recorded it. BTW , its a pretty good video. to me.

Yeah I agree. There is something in the feeling of the way certain things are delivered that just… seems to reflect some nasty stuff in the background. Sorry for such a crude representation of it, but that’s the idea.

It only happens very infrequently, but it triggers something akin to thoughts of the degradation of our species. There is something scary about that… at least to me.

I don’t follow the dogma of getting offended at a word.

Sentiments OTOH can be highly offensives and you don’t need to use words that the ‘dogma conditioned’ would place in the ‘profanity category’ to convey those sentiments.

Ridiculous aspect of society IMHO

Rorippa microphylla to censorship!!!

Are you a diving duck, or a dabbling duck? :slight_smile:

They should play the song in the interval between the Superbowl. After all millions complained their kids were killed after being exposed to a ‘wardrobe malfunction’

I think there’s a valid role in any language for a few words whose role is simply to be offensive regardless of their literal meaning. Overuse reduces their impact.

I duck and dive but mostly dabble at being a ruddy duck.

I guess we’re birds of a feather.

Quack quack quack quack quack quack quack. :laughing:

I think here in the UK we’ve been more exposed to the word F -*ck as common place for some time. People like Gordon Ramsey come to mind ( I know you get a very toned down version of the guy for US TV), but here he’s actually famous for saying F- this and F - that literally every other word. All on prime time TV. One of his shows is even called ‘The F-Word’. The word would appear to have lost most (if not all) of its true meaning and ability to offend and is publicly common place.

Language has always stood as a very fluid process between the pillars of indecency and indifference. Its also a very alive and constantly evolving process, in which youth and popular culture, through music, art, film & comedy etc, constantly test & blur boundaries. A 100 Years ago saying ‘God damn’ would of been highly indecent. Now its barely an offence. I guess for me the gradual evolution of this word into common and everyday language is but a part of this most colourful of processes. I think its completely natural that the music of the era should more than reflect that. New and worse words will develop and evolve to fill its place that we can now and for the foreseeable future never dream of using. And so it will carry on.

I agree completely until:

I can’t think of any recent new swear words that match the old ‘Anglo-Saxon’. What’s lost is not the words themselves but their potency and our ability to be offended. It’s probably different in each language and culture. I remember the German Sch word being far more widely used and accepted back when the English sh word was still considered quite rude.

I can’t think of any recent new swear words that match the old ‘Anglo-Saxon’.[/quot]

Oh I dunno … Blair, Bush, Rice, Albright, Livni, Cameron, etc spring to mind :slight_smile:

But yup I know what you mean

Words that have got more offensive ( partly due to media catalysation ) are words that put a racial or ethnic label on someone. P- word, N- word and Y- word spring to mind.