Risqué Versus Heartfelt: Heartfelt Always Wins


Adele, 25 © XL/Columbia

In pop culture, we are in a day and age where being risqué is perfectly acceptable. Risqué has been occurring throughout the years and is nothing new, but as times have progressed, the envelope has been pushed even more. In other words, openly singing and rapping about hardcore sex, irresponsible tales of using drugs and hustling them, as well as the foulest of foul language is acceptable. Sure, censorship is still alive, but you might question the “well” part considering that if anything, what is censored and/or how it is censored is still pretty unapologetic to say the least.

There are plenty of songs today that capture one’s attention because they are “straight shooting.” Machine Gun Kelly recently released his sophomore album General Admission, which featured a song with Kid Rock entitled “Bad Mother F*cker.” Honestly, when motherf*cker is featured in the title of a song, there’s no room for error. In rap, it’s not unusual for double-jointed profanity to be prominent, but even pop music has embraced such. Maroon V have a song that also invites friend M-F along – “This Summer’s Gonna Hurt Like a Motherf****r.” Even if the symbols used in place of letters make you feel better, isn’t the effect the same?

The question posed in the title is, is it better in 2015 to distinguish yourself by being risqué or does the old-fashioned heartfelt approach carry more weight? Ultimately, having a song that is fierce can set you apart, but curse words won’t necessarily endure even if they do for a time. Eamon will always be part of contemporary music history because he had the balls (for lack of better words) to drop a song “F*ck It (I Don’t Want You Back)” which was filled with filth. But, is Eamon still a force in the music industry eleven years after his top 20 hit? No. Shock tactics only shock for a while before they become blasé.

Being heartfelt and sincere will always beat out naughtiness and suggestiveness. That isn’t to say that being a balladeer is the answer to music fruitfulness and success, but ultimately, a song with greater depth and sincerity that eschews “trying too hard” is better poised for longstanding success in itself and for the musician in regards to artistry. Adele’s “Hello” is the perfect example of eschewing pop trends and profanity in favor of an authentic, substantive music moment. Not that Adele would shake up the formula and drop a song with f-bombs every other word (she does love to curse), but she doesn’t need to compromise or conform because the material, the voice, and artistry standout without the shock value.

So, are all the f-bombs necessary when it’s all said and done? Ultimately no. When you have exceptional talent, is profanity necessary? Nope!

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