If you’ve become so numb to the proliferation of sexual language in pop music that you’ve just decided to bend over and take it, it may be time to think again. Four and five-year old kids belting out phrases like, “Hey, Sexy lady!” When did that start? When did that become okay? Sure, you might argue, the kids don’t understand half the things they’re saying. But you do. And it can get really uncomfortable when a kindergartener starts busting out some of these lyrics.
The following list isn’t an indictment of the pop stars who are on it. On the contrary, these are some of the best songs of the last few years… but they’re not for kids.
1. Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F) – Katy Perry
Katy Perry is the undisputed queen of mixed messages. Exactly who is her target audience? There isn’t a five-year old girl around who doesn’t know and love “Roar”, and granted, that’s a pretty catchy empowerment song (even if she did rip off Sara Bareilles’ “Brave”). But “What About Last Friday Night?” is beyond inappropriate for that same demographic. If you’ve had the unfortunate experience of playing Perry’s last album “Teenage Dream” with your kids around, you undoubtedly came across these lyrics:
“Barbie’s on the barbeque, Is this a hickie or a bruise?
Pictures of last night ended up online, I’m screwed,
Oh well, it’s a blacked out blur, but I’m pretty sure it ruled.
Damn! Last Friday night, yeah, we danced on tabletops,
And we took too many shots, think we kissed but I forgot,
Last Friday night, we went streaking in the park,
Skinny dipping in the dark, then had a ménage à trois,
Last Friday night.”
2. Locked Out of Heaven – Bruno Mars
How do you criticize Bruno Mars? The guy has a voice like honey and he’s probably the hardest working man in show business. He’s likeable and he writes great hooks. And even this song is sweet in it’s own way. But it’s a song about sex, straight up, and I don’t need to hear my kid belting these lyrics out in the back seat:
“Open up your gates cause I can’t wait to see the light,
And right there is where I wanna stay ,
Cause your sex takes me to paradise ,
Yeah your sex takes me to paradise.”
3. We Won’t Stop – Miley Cyrus
Miley’s a genius and “Bangerz” is the best album of all time. That’s obvious, right? Even so, her new material is not for kids. Luckily, this smash song hides the innuendo better than most, and kids probably won’t understand references like “Molly” or “trying to get a line in the bathroom”. So it’s generally safe for them. But if you’ve got an eleven-year old who’s on the cusp of hearing about some of this stuff at school, you may want to skip over this one when it pops up on Pandora.
“To my home girls here with the big butt,
Shaking it like we at a strip club,
Remember only God can judge ya,
Forget the haters ’cause somebody loves ya.
And everyone in line in the bathroom,
Trying to get a line in the bathroom,
We all so turned up here,
Getting turned up, yeah, yeah
So la da di da di, we like to party
Dancing with Molly, doing whatever we want.”
4. Sexy And I Know It – LMFAO
In theory, this song is harmless fun. And it’s certainly had it’s time in the sun, so you could argue it’s not even relevant anymore. But like an incessant weed, it keeps coming back. You hear it all the time at kids’ parties, some parent throws it on to the party mix without thinking twice. Don’t be that parent. Unless you think it’s cute for your 6 year old to walk around telling everyone “I’m Sexy And I Know It.”
“When I walk in the spot, yea, this is what I see,
Everybody stops and they staring at me,
I got passion in my pants and I ain’t afraid to show it, show it, show it, show it
I’m sexy and I know it.”
5. Blurred Lines
There’s no doubt this is one of the catchiest, most original pop songs to come down the pike in a long time. There’s also no doubt that it’s borderline misogynistic, gloriously filthy, and filled with references to sex and drugs. Throw in the fact that Robin Thicke is the biggest douchebag in music and you’ve got the recipe for a song that your kids are better off without. Bonus: have you figured out what rhymes with hug me?
“What do they make dreams for,
When you got them jeans on,
What do we need steam for,
You the hottest bitch in this place,
I feel so lucky,
Hey, hey, hey,
You wanna hug me,
Hey, hey, hey,
What rhymes with hug me?
Hey, hey, hey.”
And if your kids are lucky enough to catch the unrated version, they’ll also get treated to this rap from T.I.:
“One thing I ask of you,
Let me be the one you back that ass to,
Go, from Malibu, to Paris, boo,
Yeah, I had a bitch, but she ain’t bad as you,
So hit me up when you pass through,
I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two.”
6. Whistle – Flo Rida
Entertainment Weekly said it best when they described this song as the most clever single entendre of all time. Literally there is no entendre. It is entendre-less. Skipping all innuendo, Flo rida goes right for the obvious joke, about as in your face as saying “Let me put my weiner in your buns.” Hey, the song was a hit and it’s got a catchy hook. Just keep your children far away from it.
“Go girl you can twerk it,
Let me see you whistle while you work it,
I’mma lay it back, don’t stop it,
‘Cause I love it how you drop it, drop it, drop it on me,
Now, shawty let that whistle blow-oh, oh oh,
Yeah, baby let that whistle blow-oh oh!
Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby
Let me know,
Girl I’m gonna show you how to do it and we start real slow,
You just put your lips together and you come real close,
Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby, Here we go.”
6. Timber – Pitbull and Ke$ha
This is a tricky one to call out, because just like Miley, clearly we are dealing with a genius at work in the form of Ke$ha. Listening to her albums is like climbing inside a pinball machine and getting bounced around by the bumpers. She is a whirling dervish spewing dozens of glittering pop song confections and on some level you have to respect that. While Lady Gaga and others seem to have fallen off, Ke$ha – actually, she recently dropped the dollar sign – Kesha – is still cranking out #1 hits. And also like Miley, she’s up front about her songs being unsuitable for kids. Nonetheless, this team-up with pitbull is all over the radio and has its fair share of suggestive lyrics.
These big-iddy boys are dig-gidy dogs,
I have ’em like Miley Cyrus, clothes off,
Twerking in their bras and thongs, timber,
Face down, booty up, timber,
That’s the way we like to–what?–timber,
I’m slicker than an oil spill,
She say she won’t, but I bet she will, timber.”
8. Partition – Beyonce (Or Any Song From Her New Album)
These songs from Beyonce’s surprise new album are so up front about their sexuality that really no parent in their right mind would put them on during a car ride. That said, she is included on this list just in case you weren’t aware of what Queen B was writing about lately. She’s a long way from “All The Single Ladies”. Here are lyrics from her new song, “Partition”.
“Driver roll up the partition, please,
I don’t need you seeing ‘Yonce on her knees,
Now my mascara running, red lipstick smudged,
Yeah, he’s so horny he wants to f—,
He popped all my buttons and he ripped my blouse,
He Monica Lewinsky-ed all on my gown,
Oh Daddy, Daddy, he didn’t bring the towel,
Oh baby, baby, we better slow it down”
Over there I swear I saw them cameras flash,
Hand prints and footprints on my glass,
Hand prints and good grips on my ass.”
9. Gangam Style – Psy
Yeah, sure, it’s only one phrase, “Hey Sexy Lady”. But in some ways, it all started with this song. Reportedly, North Korea has promised to give up all nuclear weapons if South Korea bans Psy from ever making another record.
10. Peacock – Katy Perry
If you know your audience is at least 50% little girls, do you have any obligation to clean up your act a little? Whatever your thoughts on the issue, you should approach each Katy Perry album with caution before letting the kids listen. You never know when she’ll drop lyrics like this, from the song “Peacock” on her second album.
“Are you brave enough to let me see your peacock?
Don’t be a chicken boy, stop acting like a bitch,
I’m a peace out if you don’t give me the pay off,
Come on baby let me see, what you’re hidin’ underneath,
Are you brave enough to let me see your peacock?
What you’re waiting for, it’s time for you to show it off,
Don’t be a shy kinda guy, I’ll bet it’s beautiful,
Come on baby let me see what you’re hidin’ underneath.
I wanna see your peacock, cock, cock, cock.”
Pop music has always pushed the boundaries, jumping over parents’ heads to speak directly to the kids. But in the old days, the ‘kids’ were teens. Lately, it seems like the audience for sexually charged pop music is getting younger and younger. Does a six year old boy really need to be saying, “Hey Sexy Lady” to his mom? Are we still in the realm of ‘cute’, or have we ventured into a new land called ‘mildly uncomfortable?’ If you lean towards the latter, and you hear something that makes you cringe, just press the ‘next’ button on your device and listen to “Let It Go” for the millionth time.