By Mitch Rice
How can a star frustrate his audience? The reason can be that famous people take illegal substances, play online casino and spend large sums on that, or just release a doubtful song. Here are a few examples of how music can affect the audience in a negative way.
The Beatles – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (1967)
Let’s start with the Beatles because during their existence they have repeatedly made the front pages by getting involved in conflicts. In their history, the scandal about the song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” stands out. The public believed that the track has a negative message and hints at the use of illegal substances. Interestingly, the band has always denied any connection with drugs. However, this did not prevent the song from permanently acquiring a scandalous reputation.
Loretta Lynn – The Pill (1975)
This country singer also managed to attract public attention. Now one of her songs – The Pill – could seem to be an anthem of feminism. The lyrics tell the story of how life changes (for the better) for a girl who can now take contraceptives after a night with her partner. She can control her life and the consequences of her actions.
However, in the ’70s, American radio stations refused to let the track into rotation. It seemed too brazen and liberating. But that didn’t stop the song from becoming famous.
The Kinks – Lola (1971)
Sometimes conflicts arise for other reasons, and the words in the songs are no longer remembered. This happened, for example, with the track by The Kinks in which the lyrical hero describes a night spent with a transgender woman. Although the topic was not taboo, it was clearly treated with disdain. The band even tried to re-record the vocal parts in the middle of the tour in America, which they managed to do, and the song got to the top of the charts – while it could have fallen into oblivion because of the BBC’s strict rules on product placement.
Queen – I Want To Break Free (1984)
Queen are famous for their unusual onstage antics, which more often than not did not lead to scandal. The release of I Want To Break Free should not have been marked by conflict either.
In Britain, the fans really accepted the song and the video, because even in the 80’s it was considered normal in the English culture when a man dressed up as a woman on TV – the influence of Shakespearean theater was evident.
However, in the US, the release of the clip caused indignation because it was not in line with their conservative values. The song wasn’t accepted in Brazil as well – when Freddie Mercury wore a wig and a bra at the Rock In Rio festival, the band was pelted with bottles. The audience only calmed down when the frontman took off the “accessories”. The festival was a success, but the song about the symbolic liberation after the breakup is still a cause for public outrage in some countries.
Britney Spears – If U Seek Amy (2008)
Britney Spears has also repeatedly made her presence felt and been at the center of scandals. She has had her share of controversial songs and outspoken music videos. And yet If U Seek Amy is an ordinary pop song, lyrics on behalf of a fan who really wants to meet Britney. At first, neither fans nor the press paid attention to the composition, and parents everywhere were buying CDs with the album for their children. Only a little later did they become enraged.
The fact is that the title of the song, repeated in the chorus, is a coded abbreviation – “If U Seek Amy” sounds like spelling “F-*-C-K M-E”. Of course, the singer got the complaints and the song was even stopped playing on some TV channels and radio stations.
Miley Cyrus – We Can’t Stop (2013)
The Hannah Montana days are behind us, Miley is growing up, and with her, so is her music. In 2013, the press and fans heard a double meaning in the lyrics of We Can’t Stop: the song is about partying and freedom with the line “We like to party // Dancing with Molly”. “Molly” is a euphemism for a type of drug. However, the word is also consonant with “Miley,” so the refrain can have two interpretations. And, of course, one of them is less desirable to the public.