Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why "California Gurls" Is More Offensive Than "F*** You"

*This post, due to the nature of the subject, will contain videos with more language and sexual content than I would normally post. I will not post the explicit version of "F*** You, but there will still be mild language in most of the videos. You've been warned.*

Well the grammys were not too long ago now, and at the grammy's there was one specific song that gathered a lot of controversy, namely Cee Lo Green's "F*** You". Not only was the song nominated for several awards, but Gwyeneth Paltrow (who performed the song on Glee several months ago) and Cee Lo Green did a duet of the clean version of the song on stage, featuring muppets, a giant peacock costume, and lots and lots of bright colorful things.

Was it too far too take such an "offensive" song and make it "family friendly" by putting muppets in it? Many people asked. Was it too far to make the song in the first place? Many seem to think so, and Cee Lo has taken a lot of heat for it.

Now, let me just say here, I really really like "F*** You" and "Forget You". In fact, they're my favorite single released last year, bar none. I don't swear, because I acknowledge that a lot of people are. I prefer not to hear people swearing, and I understand why people are upset by hearing swearing which is why I certainly don't think "F*** You" should be played on the radio, but if I hear swearing, I'm not going to freak out. I'm not going to get in an uproar over hearing that a song has the word f*** in it.

Because at the core, "F*** You" is a really really good song. Listen to "Forget You", the clean version of the song. Really listen to what it's saying.

It's honestly a pretty inoffensive song. In fact, it a very good song. The music is catchy and compliments the lyrics extremely well, and the lyrics themselves aren't offensive at all. In fact, they're kind of touching. You really get the history the singer and his girlfriend/boyfriend (depending on who's singing) have, and I think we can all understand how much it would suck to have someone leave you because you didn't have enough money for them.

The lyrics bring out a lot of character, and honestly? You feel really bad, and understand where the singer is coming from, whether you're listening to the explicit, or clean versions of the song. At it's core, it is a really really good song.

And then you have "California Gurls".

Now, let me start off by saying, and I'll probably lose a lot of respect from certain people for this, but I actually really like a lot of Katy Perry songs. "Waking Up In Vegas", and "Hot 'n Cold" are both really good songs, and "Teenage Dream" was probably my second favorite pop single last year (Behind "Forget You"). But this song... Ugh.

For those who don't know, let me give a little background on Katy Perry for you. Born Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, Katy Perry, as she would later be known, started off her career as a christian singer. A rather unsuccessful one at that. Of course, then she realized she could make considerably more money by compromising any values she supposedly once had by releasing the hit pop single "I Kissed A Girl (And I Liked It)"

While I have problems with that song for a WHOLE other set of reasons, that actually did get controversy and it's not what I'm talking about today.

After a string of singles I really really did like, as I said above (Teenage Dream is a great song, and you are WRONG if you say otherwise.) she released the little song "California Gurls".

"California Gurls" is, in my opinion, far more offensive than "F*** You" is, and not because of swearing.

I think the main reason "F*** You" is taking more heat than Katy Perry's musical disaster is that we, as a society, need to learn that there are more offensive things than a bad word. More damaging things. Like I said above, I understand why people are offended by "F*** You". That's why it's not played on the radio, and "Forget You" is. However "California Gurls" is played on the radio.

Why do I find "California Gurls" more offensive? Simple. Yes, "F*** You" has swearing in it. Lots and lots of swearing. "California Gurls", however, is all about sexual innuendo and objectifying women. Which is NOT ok. Let me post a few lines from the song.

"Sun kissed skin so hot we'll lick your popsicle"

"Sex on the beach, we got sand in our stilleto's. We freak in my jeep,"

And of course the entire Snoop Dog rap,

"Toned, tan, fit and ready
Turn it up cause its gettin' heavy
Wild wild west coast
These are the girls I love the most
I mean the ones, I mean like shes the one
Kiss her, touch her, squeeze her buns.

Come on boys, hanging out
All that *** hanging out
Bikinis, tankinis, martinis, no weenies
Just to get in betweeny'
Katy my lady (yeah)
You looking here baby (uh huh)
I'm all up on you
Cause you representing California"

So basically the whole song is just sexual innuendo (most of it painfully stupid innuendo at that), and on occasion just a sexual comment with no pretense of being something else. And yet "F*** You" is considered more upsetting? How?

The key difference between "F*** You" and "California Gurls" is that "California Gurls" is completely gratuitous. Say what you will about "F*** You" being offensive, you have to admit, Cee Lo gets a lot of emotion into those two words, in either the clean or explicit version. "California Gurls" however, is just sex for the sake of sex.

Speaking of gratuitous sex, let's look at the music videos shall we?

First let's look at the music video for "Forget You". (No I won't post the one for "F*** You". It still has some language in it though, so be prepared.)

This is a GREAT music video. It goes through the life of a young boy (Cee Lo Green) as he constantly tries to get a girl to fall for him, but just like in the song, she's not interested in him because he's not rich enough for her. It's, like the song, touching, interesting, and tells us a lot about the characters within four minutes. It's certainly the best music video I saw released last year. A lot better than "Teenage Dream"'s, at least, my OTHER favorite pop song of the year (Behind this single, for those wondering).

And then we have the video for "California Gurls". (No kidding, this video contains a lot of sexual themes, and a Katy Perry wearing... Well... Very VERY little. If you're going to be offended... Don't watch it.)

Good god. Now, maybe this song wouldn't be THAT offensive without... This... Thing... The song, personally, I dislike because of the blatant sexism in it, but I won't deny it has a catchy chorus and beat. In fact, I know of quite a few parodies that I quite like because of the beat. In fact, if I could ignore the verses, I may even LIKE this song.

But then there's THIS video that's just... WOW. Where do I start? The fact that it's OBVIOUSLY trying to be a LOT hotter than it actually manages to be? The outfits? The nude Katy Perry blocked only by a cloud? The giant cupcakes being worn on the women's chests?

Yes. There's all of that. There's one sexual innuendo after another. And finally... There is this.

What the forget?

Seriously. This video, and this song, are a LOT more offensive, and a LOT more harmful to young people than anything in either "Forget You" or "F*** You". Yes, Cee Lo said a bad word. Katy Perry did THIS.

This is more offensive than hearing the word f***, to me at least. This might even be more offensive than "I Kissed A Girl"! And this, as opposed to "F*** You" is being played on the radio. Sure, they edited out a word or two, but not the offensive bits.

Seriously. This is worse than "F*** You". Get over Cee Lo, and start hating on Katy Perry! And please, not just because she wore a dress that made her look like a girl of questionable morals on Sesame Street.


  1. Oh my gosh, I seriously can't stand "California Girls." I can't even watch the music video all the way through it's so racy. It's especially kind of offensive to me due to the fact I lived in California for years and years, and I just despise that "slim girls in bikinis" stereotype.

    And "I Kissed a Girl" is just ridiculous. I swear people make songs like that just to get others worked up.

    "F**k You" is a great song though--it's hilarious, catchy, and pretty much everything you said it was. It's sad how our society has become so used to sexual themes that most people barely notice it anymore. Great post.

  2. I soooo agree! Katy Perry is evil. You inspired me to write a rant too about her: