I just wrote a song called ‘Buttercup’ where I drop the f-bomb four times. I’ve only ever dropped the f-bomb into a song once before and I took it out when I came to recording it. The reason I took it out was because the song was, essentially, a children’s song about a hare – so I used the word ‘furry’ instead. This new song though, is a grown up song so the f***s are staying.
As a songwriter who’s quite particular about the words I use, I don’t just throw them into songs willy-nilly or use them gratuitously. They have to contribute. Words can do that in a number of ways and I’m comfortable keeping these expletives in the song for a few reasons.
- Buttercup is quite a rhythmic song that benefits from a punchy, beat driven delivery and the f-bomb is a plosive knuckle duster – powerful punctuation.
- Buttercup has four verses and the f-bomb drops in at the exact same place in each verse, three syllables before the end of the second line. This isn’t necessarily something that most people would pick up on but, as a bit of a songwriting nerd, this is the kind of thing that makes me happy.
- Buttercup is a grown up, messed up love song. Slang and colloquialism seem perfectly appropriate here.
- I reckon the word in question is now in such common usage that it is unlikely to offend. I hear the word being used in presentations and much more frequently on TV etc. I’m not completely happy about this because I think it’s good for language to have edgy bits but this does now feel slightly de-fanged and it’s not such a big deal now to use it.
You’ll no doubt have noticed that I’ve shied away from using the actual word here in this very defence of using it.
Well, fuck that!