I think it's a commonly held belief that music nowadays is so much raunchier than music from our childhood. I have heard so many parents my age wax poetic about how much "better" music was when we were younger and clucking their tongues about the terrible lyrics and misogynistic tone of current music. They say they can hardly listen to the radio anymore with their kids in the car and that they don't want to explain to them what a "ham sammich" means in the context that Jason Derulo is using.
I will admit- I think music from my younger years is better than current music but I don't think it is necessarily any "cleaner" than pop music today. Songs with dirty lyrics have been around for decades and the 1990's were chock full of them. I think my generation has forgotten about the time that Britney Spears went out on stage with a giant snake wrapped around her shoulders, all breathy about being a slave 4 u. I think we've forgotten that Christina Aguilera once said she was a genie in a bottle and that someone had to rub her the right way to make her come out. It was definitely not all puppy dogs and sunshine, that's for sure. I've compiled a little list of songs from my 1990's childhood that are so much dirtier than current music so we can all stop clutching our pearls in 2014:
1. TLC- "Red Light Special"
If I had to explain this song to my kids right now, I'm not sure what I would say. Maybe that red lights are on sale for the upcoming holiday season? No idea.
2. Salt- N- Pepa- "Shoop"
All I can think is that my parents did not listen to the radio in 1993 when my good friend Angela bought me this cassette single for my birthday (I know, I know, we are so freaking old) and let me listen to it non-stop for days on end. GIRLS, WHAT'S MY WEAKNESS?
3. Britney Spears- Too Many To Name
From her provocative school girl uniform to her on-stage antics kissing Madonna and wearing boa constrictors, Britney Spears makes Selena Gomez and her ilk look like members of a junior convent. Whatever. She's Britney, bitch.
4. Greenday- "Longview"
I remember the first time I heard this song when I was 12. I had no idea what the word "masturbation" meant but my father did and he confiscated my Greenday tape on a family camping trip. Ah, memories.
5. Naughty By Nature- "O.P.P."
Ya'll, I have an embarrassing confession. At the age of 30, someone had to explain to me what O.P.P. actually stands for. I had never given it much thought as a kid and gleefully jumped around singing it at many a middle school dance. Now I know. I cannot un-know.
6. Marcy Playground- "Sex And Candy"
I imagine this song being on the radio now and how many times I would have to change the station so my 5-year old wouldn't start singing it at daycare. I can't remember my parents being particularly riled about this one but wow, I know it would ruffle some feathers now.
7. Ginuwine- "Pony"
I will freely admit that this song is still my jam and currently on my iPod (revived by my 2012 viewing of Magic Mike) but listening to it now makes me wonder how there was not smoke coming out of my mother's ears when we would listen to it in the car in 1996. Maybe my mom was not a regular mom, but a cool mom.
8. Boyz II Men- "I'll Make Love To You"
I cannot count how many sweaty middle school boys placed their hands awkwardly on my waist while we swayed back and forth a full arm's length apart to the melodic interludes of the Boyz. What were the school dance DJ's thinking back in 1994 playing this song for 12 year olds?
9. Alanis Morissette- "You Oughta Know"
I remember listening to this CD (yes, by 1995, I had upgraded) on an 8th grade bus trip to see the Statue of Liberty and wondering what it meant to "go down on you in a theater". And why Alanis was so ragey. Ugh, poor Uncle Joey.
10. Spice Girls- "2 Become 1"
Considering the majority of their fan base was middle school girls, this song was definitely a bit over the top. Loved it then, love it now. And I get to be Posh Spice.
(Image: Jacek Chabraszewski/Shutterstock)