Author Topic: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music  (Read 13086 times)

Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #60 on: April 24, 2021, 09:40:48 PM »
Randy Newman gets away with it in songs like Rednecks and Sail Away because they are amazing songs with a crystal clear satirical intent, but I'd still feel very uncomfortable if I was listen to them in my record shop and a BAME person came in Android heard them without knowing about their context or Randy's ouvre.

The punchline at the end of Rednecks is just phenomenal, where he suddenly lays as much blame on metropolitan cities (ie, his self congratulatory listeners) as he does on Deep Southerners for keeping black Americans down.

"Rednecks" is gut wrenching.

Kind of feel the same about the "this poor cracker's land" line in "Louisiana". Like: oh, the land?

Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #61 on: April 24, 2021, 10:03:11 PM »
Here's one, a little more recent, relating to Nick Cave: I'm a massive fan as posts I've made elsewhere on the board demonstrate but it can't just be me who thinks several of the Bad Seeds appearing in black face in the Babe I'm On Fire video is, well, quite off. Timestamped one instance for anyone who doesn't want a full 15 minutes of exciting garagey rock'n'roll: https://youtu.be/LsBJ62jSCl0?t=234 . I had initially planned to mention the "bad blind n____ on the piano" in St Huck but somehow, and I don't know if this is wrong of me to think so, that's somewhat diminished by the fact that Barry Adamson plays bass on it and probably would've mentioned if he had a problem with it as he's a guy who doesn't suffer fools.

Rich Uncle Skeleton

  • Oh it's a whole flock of detectives
Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #62 on: April 24, 2021, 10:54:14 PM »

non capisco

  • My valve is screaming for appeasement.
    • https://twitter.com/IsThisRoss
Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #63 on: April 24, 2021, 11:05:00 PM »
The Lone Ranger by Quantum Jump is down there with what I consider to be the worst songs ever recorded. It's a fucking appalling, tuneless single but it's made even worse by these rather dated lyrics:

And it continues from there, obviously with a mention of a peace pipe.

Banned by the Beeb at the time of release, not for racism but for a reference to homosexuality and drugs.

Was it banned by the Beeb? Having watched every surviving 70s episode on some mad odyssey two years ago I know they were on Top Of The Pops twice, with intact verses about The Lone Ranger getting baked and passing a bifter to his horse and Tonto wondering if his boss was a "poofter" and then deciding if he was to give the nod then he'd be up for it. You could possibly glean a for-the-times progressive stance on homosexuality from the latter if you were being generous, describing some kind of Republic Serial version of Brokeback Mountain, but unfortunately the video makes it quite clear what at least three quarters of Quantum Jump think about THEM LOT RUBBING IT IN YER FACE, downing tools and walking out of their own song in disgust at the very idea of a bloke fancying a bloke.

kalowski

  • Maclunkey
Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #64 on: April 24, 2021, 11:12:41 PM »
Beefheart does alright with all kinds of heavy themes on Trout Mask then shits the bed completely with the chorus of "Hobo Chang Ba"
Are you joking?
Quote
Strawwood claw rattlin' my jaw
I can't call it usin'
It's just somethin' soothin'
Feather times a feather
Mornin' time to thaw
Hobo chang ba
Hobo chang ba
I don't see racism here. [First verse and chorus quoted]

Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #65 on: April 24, 2021, 11:30:07 PM »
He sang the song in an 'oriental' accent and exaggerated the chant of the characters name for the chorus, which is disappointing because its a good lyric (apparently about real drifters he knew) and the track really cooks. A shame, real bad choice.

Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #66 on: April 24, 2021, 11:54:29 PM »
Spice Girls - Spice Up Your Life:

Yellow man in Timbuktu

TheMonk

  • Hello folks
Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #67 on: April 25, 2021, 12:15:45 AM »
I’m not sure Illegal Alien by Genesis has been mentioned but that one.

bigfatheart

  • Breakdancing Detergent
Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #68 on: April 25, 2021, 12:20:18 AM »
Was it banned by the Beeb? Having watched every surviving 70s episode on some mad odyssey two years ago I know they were on Top Of The Pops twice, with intact verses about The Lone Ranger getting baked and passing a bifter to his horse and Tonto wondering if his boss was a "poofter" and then deciding if he was to give the nod then he'd be up for it. You could possibly glean a for-the-times progressive stance on homosexuality from the latter if you were being generous, describing some kind of Republic Serial version of Brokeback Mountain, but unfortunately the video makes it quite clear what at least three quarters of Quantum Jump think about THEM LOT RUBBING IT IN YER FACE, downing tools and walking out of their own song in disgust at the very idea of a bloke fancying a bloke.

I believe it was banned on its initial release. When Kenny Everett picked up on it a couple of years later and it made it into the charts, the Beeb were a bit less arsed.

Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #69 on: April 25, 2021, 12:24:52 AM »
Randy Newman gets away with it in songs like Rednecks and Sail Away because they are amazing songs with a crystal clear satirical intent, but I'd still feel very uncomfortable if I was listen to them in my record shop and a BAME person came in Android heard them without knowing about their context or Randy's ouvre.

The punchline at the end of Rednecks is just phenomenal, where he suddenly lays as much blame on metropolitan cities (ie, his self congratulatory listeners) as he does on Deep Southerners for keeping black Americans down.

He's got a lot of these ("Yellow Man" also comes to mind, which Harry Nilson inexplicably chose as one of the covers on his Newman album), but Randy Newman might be the only artist who I will defend having racist lyrics, because all of those early albums are incredibly nihilistic caricatures of how hellish American society is. It's not just pompous liberal John Lennon "I'm using a slur to make a point!" nonsense.

GoblinAhFuckScary

  • DIDN'T LIKE THE BEACH
Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #70 on: April 25, 2021, 12:32:36 AM »
the "obligatory n*****s" line from the first track off hex enduction hour

non capisco

  • My valve is screaming for appeasement.
    • https://twitter.com/IsThisRoss
Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #71 on: April 25, 2021, 12:44:53 AM »
I believe it was banned on its initial release. When Kenny Everett picked up on it a couple of years later and it made it into the charts, the Beeb were a bit less arsed.

I thought the singer out of that shower was B.A Robertson at first, couldn't tell them apart. Maybe I am the real racist.

Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #72 on: April 25, 2021, 01:48:51 AM »
bit uneasy seeing OG east coast death metal act Malevolent Creation open for Batushka last year considering this from 1995

Quote
   Born into this world of filth
A plague in every city
The real world is not so real
Filled with scum and lying thieves
Threats of pain, claiming lives
When we owe you nothing
Forced to live in fear forever
Still they breed

Always wanting, always taking
What was never yours
Someday you will feel the hate
That you gave to others

Filled with diseases
Still they breed

Hate towards you and your kind
Bad blood flows forever
My life is not complete
Until you've killed each other

Always wanting, always taking
What was never yours
Someday you will feel the hate
That you gave to others

Always wanting, always taking
What was never yours
Someday you will feel the hate
You fucking n**gers

i mean even without the slur at the end it's pretty fucking awful. but regardless, this was released on a label that was in partnership with Zoo/BMG and widely distributed and I don't think anyone cared until relatively recently. dont think there was a lyric sheet originally but despite retconning that's clearly what he says. yeah theres plenty more racist shit dug up around the members too.

i mean should i also not read Philip Larkin because he was a racist cunt? well uh, maybe

kalowski

  • Maclunkey
Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #73 on: April 25, 2021, 07:55:50 AM »
He sang the song in an 'oriental' accent and exaggerated the chant of the characters name for the chorus, which is disappointing because its a good lyric (apparently about real drifters he knew) and the track really cooks. A shame, real bad choice.
I'll have to listen to this again. I don't remember any accent.
Edit: I just did.  Feels like a bit of a reach to me to call his accent "oriental".

Jockice

  • I really have red hair. And a **********.
Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #74 on: April 25, 2021, 08:21:46 AM »
I actually genuinely think this lot were better than Roxy Music but the lyrics to this are slightly questionable.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLE1xKo6dns


earl_sleek

  • National Program Director of the CHUM Group
Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #75 on: April 25, 2021, 11:22:15 AM »
Although it's apparently written in response to racist attacks on a takeaway, Hong Kong Garden by Siouxise and the Banshees has several lines that probably wouldn't fly nowadays, such as "Slanted eyes meet a new sunrise / A race of bodies small in size" as well as using a rather stereotypical "Oriental" riff.

Of course, young Susan said much worse things about Jews back in those days.

Ornlu

  • I'm lyrical
Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #76 on: April 25, 2021, 11:22:21 AM »
Probably pushing the definition of 'popular' here but I used to jam to Country Teasers' Black Change without ever even listening to what the lyrics were saying. Which is a shame, because it's a banger of a song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcDMTb6HLBs&ab_channel=ombremor

Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #77 on: April 25, 2021, 11:32:45 AM »
Probably pushing the definition of 'popular' here but I used to jam to Country Teasers' Black Change without ever even listening to what the lyrics were saying. Which is a shame, because it's a banger of a song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcDMTb6HLBs&ab_channel=ombremor

Yeah, I mean Ben Wallers very clearly writes things like that 'in character' though. Thin line, I suppose. The Sadowitz defence.

See also: The Frogs.

GoblinAhFuckScary

  • DIDN'T LIKE THE BEACH
Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #78 on: April 25, 2021, 11:44:16 AM »
Probably pushing the definition of 'popular' here but I used to jam to Country Teasers' Black Change without ever even listening to what the lyrics were saying. Which is a shame, because it's a banger of a song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcDMTb6HLBs&ab_channel=ombremor

never sure how i feel about wallers' writing. there was a moment where it snapped for me that it might actually be a little indefensible when seeing him live for like the third time and having a chorus of dudes around me cheering along to his like "all swans are faggots". it's the whole evil character schtick that essentially alienates everyone that isn't straight/white/cis etc. very indulgent

TheMonk

  • Hello folks
Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #79 on: April 25, 2021, 11:57:28 AM »
Tokyo Joe by Bryan Ferry seems to skate along the edge until the final line where he dives right in with “Ah so, that's Tokyo Joe”
https://youtu.be/BauVLD0ldDc

Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #80 on: April 25, 2021, 12:24:13 PM »
"The Hurricane" by Bob Dylan, not racist but hearing him belt out the line

Quote
And to the black folks he was just a crazy n**ger

made me feel uncomfortable when it was played at least once a week on the classic rock station we had on in the office in Florida, particularly since half the employees were black

Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #81 on: April 25, 2021, 12:31:56 PM »
Was it banned by the Beeb?

Only found that out yesterday when looking at the Wiki for Quantum Jump on the very slight possibility that the singer (who, as pointed out, does have a B.A Cunterson vibe) might claim to have some sort of native American ancestry. He could have been the Elizabeth Warren of awful 70s singles.

Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #82 on: April 25, 2021, 12:52:57 PM »
There's nothing specifically racist in the lyrics, but I always found the cod-reggae stylings and dad-joke title of Led Zep's D'yer Mak'er a bit cringe.

Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #83 on: April 25, 2021, 01:12:55 PM »
Am I overreacting or is this Bloodhound Gang song a teensy-weensy bit offensive?


Are those numchucks in your pants or are you just happy to see me?


Let me take you back to the day that I met my China Girl
When I landed a Pam like on the San Fran Real World
I was sweatin' like a vegetable inside of a wok
I'd never been to Asia Minor but I was gonna Bangkok
Like Kristy Yamaguchi I had to break the ice
Should I talk about Mothra M.A.S.H. or shrimp-fried rice?
I was sharp as a Chinese star but it's a line that I threw
Just Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo and this Johnny would Woo
I took a shot like Jeanette Lee put on my moves like Bruce Lee
I told her every Soon Yi needs a little Woody
She said for all the tea in China me vagina no free
But me love will linger longer than the Ming Dynasty
I said I needed her to do and her to do my laundry
I knew she needed a way to legally stay within the country
She was made in Taiwan I said I'm O.K. with that
Just promise me you'll never try to eat my cat

Chinky Chinky bang bang I love you
Chinky Chinky bang bang I know you love me too
Chinky Chinky bang bang I love you
Chinky Chinky bang bang I know you love me too

In Japan the hand is used as a knife
In Japan a man's wife's hand job then can cost him his life
But now this Captain Kirk has his own Sulu
I'll shampoo her Fu Manchu with Lo Hung Wang Goo
'Cause I ride my slant-eyed Slope like a brand new Kawasaki
Oh my Chinky she's so kinky got me hot like Nagasaki
Burnin' up like Napalm burstin' like an A-bomb
I think I got that jungle fever but I caught it in 'Nam
She's like an oriental rug 'cause I lay her where I please
Then I blindfold her with dental floss and get on my knees
I'm a diving Kamikaze eating out Chinese
First I'll have the Poo Poo Platter then some tuna sushi
She'll be screamin' like Godzilla and kickin' like Jackie Chan
I'll get her redder than China wetter than the Sea of Japan
Like the Chinese New Year she's gonna see fireworks
Now be a good Chinky and go press Jimmy's shirts

Chinky Chinky bang bang I love you
Chinky Chinky bang bang I know you love me too
Chinky Chinky bang bang I love you
Chinky Chinky bang bang I know you love me too

Sing Chinky sing
One more time

Chinky Chinky bang bang I love you
Chinky Chinky bang bang I know you love me too
Chinky Chinky bang bang I love you
Chinky Chinky bang bang I know you love me too
Chinky Chinky bang bang Chinky bang
Chinky Chinky bang biddily biddily biddily bang
Chinky Chinky bang bang Chinky bang
Chinky Chinky bang biddily biddily biddily bang
Chinky Chinky bang bang Chinky bang
Chinky Chinky bang biddily biddily biddily bang
Chinky Chinky bang bang Chinky bang
Chinky Chinky bang biddily biddily biddily bang
Chinky Chinky bang bang Chinky bang
Chinky Chinky bang biddily biddily biddily bang
Chinky Chinky bang bang Chinky bang
Chinky Chinky bang biddily biddily biddily bang

bigfatheart

  • Breakdancing Detergent
Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #84 on: April 25, 2021, 01:28:12 PM »
By comparison, the Dickies '(I'm Stuck in a Pagoda With) Tricia Toyota' is pretty tasteful, but it's yet another song with a cod-Oriental 'diddle-diddle-dee' riff and the backing vocals on the chorus are 'ah so'.

iamcoop

  • Chris Woakes
Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #85 on: April 25, 2021, 01:32:14 PM »
As a staunch fan of The Stranglers I always hated I Feel Like A Wog.

Whilst it can be taken as an anti-racism lyric (which has always been Hugh’s explanation) the fact of the matter is the word was shocking and hateful even then and was chosen to be deliberately provocative.

I’ve seen JJ claim it was an insult levelled at him when he was a child due to being the son of French parents but even still, in the wider context of what most people assume that word  to mean and the effect the people that use it intend to have I’m afraid that cuts no dice with me.

I don’t think for a second the band have racist inclinations it’s just a woefully misguided attempt to shock whilst making a point that, at best, can be interpreted as extremely clumsy.

The worst aspect really is they’ve just doubled down in later years and were still playing it right up until I saw them a couple of years ago. It made me physically wince. Hated it.

I wish they’d take a step back and reappraise it and say something along the lines of “Whilst we think the message the lyrics were trying to convey was an anti-racist one we understand that public moods change, the context of words shift over time and sensibilities people in the late seventies had are not the same as they have now in modern society so with that in mind we won’t be playing it anymore.”

But they haven’t, and I assume they won’t.

I’m happy to try and at least defend the various accusations of misogyny levelled at the group over the years (a lot of their more ‘provocative’ lyrics are far more intelligent and cutting than a lot of people give them credit for) but IFLAW is the one thing by them that I find totally indefensible.

chveik

  • crazy bit of business
Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #86 on: April 25, 2021, 01:32:31 PM »
Feels like a bit of a reach to me to call his accent "oriental".

quite

Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #87 on: April 25, 2021, 01:32:36 PM »
I thought the singer out of that shower was B.A Robertson at first, couldn't tell them apart. Maybe I am the real racist.

You're not the only one. We're both BAcists.

Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #88 on: April 25, 2021, 01:50:52 PM »
I'll have to listen to this again. I don't remember any accent.
Edit: I just did.  Feels like a bit of a reach to me to call his accent "oriental".

Not my words, sadly. A couple of the biographies and autobiogs talk about it, I think there was some consternation in the Beefheart camp about the decision

From the Barnes biography--
Quote
Van Vliet sings ...one of his best lyrics... in a ridiculous voice that was apparently his approximation of an Oriental accent

I think John French AKA Drumbo defended it as being an imitation of the free form vocals from free jazz records but I don't buy it. From the middle part of the song onwards he's chanting CHAAANG BAAA CHAAANG BAAA in that voice. Shame because I def agree with people who think the track is otherwise one of his best.

Brundle-Fly

  • "Why don't you do something to help me?"
Re: Dated Casual Racism In Popular Music
« Reply #89 on: April 25, 2021, 02:30:54 PM »
New Dehli by Madness. An appalled Englishman abroad. They've pretty much disowned this plod and I don't believe ever performed it live. The Peter Sellers 'but, but, but wobbly head voices in the outro and Barson browned and turbanned up on the album cover compounded things somewhat. Wonderful production though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dEY783O7A8

And you don't even want to hear Chas Smash's very dodgy 'Chalky White' spoken bit in the demo of Deceives The Eye. Thank god Clive Langer stepped in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGWXfSKJUrw

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