Six Offensive, Ill-Advised, or Otherwise Laughably Dated Songs of Yesteryear

Pat Travers - "Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights)"

I cannot fault guitarist Pat Travers for actually writing this song -- it was actually penned by Stan Lewis -- but I can question his judgment. I kinda get it, I guess. It's a catchy tune. If it weren't for the lyrics about beating the shit out of your girlfriend because she had the audacity to break up with you...probably for being controlling and jealous. "If I get her in my sight/Boom boom! COME ON! Out go the lights!" is essentially a more poetic way of saying, "Bitch, if you try to leave I'll knock your ass unconscious." This is in no way creepy, nor does it indicate that you are in an abusive relationship. He just LOVES YOU SO MUCH. He's so sorry for hitting you. You just make him so angry sometimes. Here, he bought you flowers. And an ice pack. See? All better.

Elton John - "Island Girl"

Many of Elton John's best and most popular songs were actually written by longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin -- "Bennie and the Jets," "Candle in the Wind" -- and that includes this little chestnut. There's so much to say, it's hard to know where to start: With the half-baked Jamaican dialect in which the song's lyrics were written, which comes off like the musical equivalent of blackface? The concept that the song's unfortunate streetwalking protagonist should let the "black boy" (the white males in the song are referred to as "men," not boys) save her by taking her back to Jamaica? You know, because things are so much better there for underprivileged women who have resorted to prostitution to make a living.

If this song has any redeeming qualities at all, it's how hilarious Elton John sounds when he tackles lines like, "What you wanting with the white man's world" and "He one more gone/He one more John who make the mistake." The craziest part? In 1975, this song was the number one hit on Billboard's Hot 100.

Hal David/Burt Bacharach - "Wives and Lovers"

Whether married or still looking, a smart young lady would do well not to forget that a strict beauty regimen and a willing countenance is the last line of defense between the legions of limber young office girls waiting in line to replace her as the apple of her beau's eye. None of this headache nonsense: If you don't jump straight into your man's arms the minute he gets home every night, you can bet your mother's prizewinning roast that the new secretary with the finger wave will, the little trollop.

B.B. King - "Don't Answer the Door"

It's tempting to give B.B. King a pass for some of his more, ah, "romantic" numbers, mainly because he's approximately half a million years old and most of his songs are so dated they may as well have been written in the Triassic. Plus, he is the third-greatest guitarist of all time, according to Rolling Stone. So we'll go with this: Should time travel ever become possible, women who would like an opportunity to hook up with the great bluesman when he was in his prime should take note that B.B. King's lady friends are not, under any circumstances, to cut their hair short or have anyone, including family members, over to the house unless B.B. King is home. And maybe not even then, because your sister has a big mouth that'd be put to better use doing something else, KNOWWHATIMEAN? Oh, and that includes the doctor. B.B. King needs to make sure that the doctor is not examining your lady parts. Because that's B.B. King's job:

You might feel a little sick, baby,

And you know you're home all alone,

I don't want the doctor at my house, baby,

You just suffer, suffer, suffer till I get home.

The Beatles - "Run For Your Life"

Since John Lennon's most well-known song is probably "Imagine," it might come as a shock when, as you're blissing out with some BC bud and listening to the copy of Rubber Soul you FINALLY scored on eBay, to encounter this line:

"I'd rather see you dead, little girl, than be with another man."

To Lennon's credit, he says it's his least favorite Beatles song and the one he most regrets writing.

The Cure - "Killing An Arab"

OH. MY. GOD. I never knew the Cure was so RACIST. I thought someone who wore all that make-up would be more tolerant of other cultures.

....oh, wait. You mean the song's about a book? What's it called? The Stranger? Oh. Never heard of it. Who's it by? Albert Camus? Who's that? Some French guy? Whatever. Nobody in America's actually heard of this book. I doubt it has even been translated into English. I mean, the French eat snails and frog legs and shit like that. No one cares what they think. The Cure should have known no one would get the reference.

...oh. You're read it in high school English class? But it's ENGLISH, not French. Why are we reading books by French people in English class? This is America! Wait, you read it in French, too? For French class? I had no idea you were so worldly. Oh. My bad. Sorry, Robert Smith. We're cool, right? Right? High five? No? Okay then.

comments powered by Disqus