January 24, 2009

Unsubtle subtlety you can't get away with on the radio: "If U Seek Amy."

Maybe if you'd written out "you," it could have just been an inside joke. (I doubt it.) But the "U" is the tip that you want the PR.

ADDED: My son Chris notes the poem in James Joyce's "Ulysses":
If you see Kay,
Tell him he may.
See you in tea,
Tell him from me.

28 comments:

traditionalguy said...

When U spell out a bad word, have U said the word itself? Do U suppose that mispronouncing the bad word is also a valid way to confuse the word police.I can then call some one a Sun Bee safely. Brittany doesn't need subtle when crude gets most attention? It may be too late to auction off even a small % of Brittany's virginity, so the lady has to earn her own living the best way she can.

Original George said...

There's a Van Halen album by that name.

Christopher Althouse Cohen said...

I don't think it should be censored. It doesn't technically have a swear word in it, and "If" is not identical in sound to "F," so it only makes you think of the spelling of the swear word. At that point, it's just sexual innuendo, which doesn't normally get censored.

EDH said...

[Chorus]
Love me, hate me
Say what you want about me
But all of the boys and all of the girls
Are begging to if you seek Amy


I'm begging U-2-X the pitch changer.

Chip Ahoy said...

I M N D spare.

jayne_cobb said...

So at what point does "controversy" stop selling, and actual talent become necessary to move albums?

Does it start the moment she no longer looks good?

If that's so then we're screwed as plastic surgery can keep her going for another decade or two.

Palladian said...

"So at what point does "controversy" stop selling, and actual talent become necessary to move albums?"

Um, never?

Palladian said...

Did U ever think that Prince wrote the song?

Beth said...

I'm just glad to Spears in the news for something like this, and not for having a long, slow bipolar breakdown.

Joe R. said...

I'm reminded of this commercial .

One of the worst commercials that I've seen. I had remembered the tagline and the fact it was about frozen dinners, but (until I spent a minute or two with google) I couldn't remember the name of the product. The commercial is extremely good in its setup (it caught my eye and I kept watching, just to see why they were talking about the "f-in" dinner), but then the punchline is so distracting, I didn't remember the name of the product they were selling.

Palladian said...

"I'm just glad to Spears in the news for something like this, and not for having a long, slow bipolar breakdown."

This could just be a manic phase of the long, slow, bipolar breakdown.

David said...

When does censorship just become good taste?

Right . . . about . . . now.

traditionalguy said...

Since the forbidden word attracts a large number of rule breaking people, we could end their fun by having no more forbidden word rules.It seems that the shock value to virgin ears is quickly over and then what to do next? We were freer in 1970 than today on curse words, probably because Men used them but not women and that fit our expectations. Ask Geo. T. Patton about the value of cursing and crude language in a men only environment.

fcai said...

There was a coach who was fired for saying "See you next Tuesday", pointedly and with emphasis. Even for a ball coach that was low class and stupid.

Hey, how about raising a nice, cold cup of Gatorade in the memory of George Allen!

John Burgess said...

According to an erstwhile resident of the city, the Norfolk (VA) High School cheer went:

We don't drink!
We don't smoke!
Norfolk! Norfolk!

Albatross said...

April Wine beat her to it by about 27 years.

jeff said...

Took me forever to figure that out. I guess this is what happens when you don't text. Or as others of said, try to read Prince Lyrics.

Ann Althouse said...

"actual talent"

Quite aside from her beauty and her ability to dance, do you have any sense of how unusual and effective her pop voice is?

Palladian said...

"Quite aside from her beauty and her ability to dance, do you have any sense of how unusual and effective her pop voice is?"

It's hard to tell because she's generally so processed with digital filters and effects that you almost never hear her real voice. And the banality of the writing is such that I'm not tempted to do further research.

Christopher Althouse Cohen said...

Palladian: That's what people often say, but the thing is that different people's voices and different styles of singing work differently with the same vocal effects. The final sound you hear is a product of her real voice, which is distinctive and works hand-in-hand with those effects to create a sound that is unique and instantly recognizable. Other artists who do vocal effects come up with totally different results, and some singers who are considered great actually sound bad when processed.

Also, her actual songs are excellent, regardless of who wrote and produced them.

Christopher Althouse Cohen said...

By the way, I listened to this song and read the title without getting the vulgar part of it when the album came out. Even when I saw an article that referred to it and told people to "say the title out loud" if they wanted to get the joke, I still had to think about it for a while.

fivewheels said...

I know songs are pretty rough on grammar, but the lyrics don't make much sense unless you figure it out (and you really need the "me" from Amy at the end, too).

It's just another self-indulgent "poor me, I'm a celebrity and everyone is always paying so much attention to me" songs. I hate those. It seems to be about media trying to "f u c k m e" metaphorically, not all the boys and girls literally doing so. This time, anyway.

Beth said...

It's hard to tell because she's generally so processed with digital filters and effects that you almost never hear her real voice.

Be glad, Palladian, be very glad.

This reminds me of the old Brady Bunch episode, where Greg gets a recording contract. He's leery but goes along with working under the name of "Johnny Bravo" and wearing a spangly toreador-style suit. But he's dismayed when he realizes the producers have run his voice through a million filters and he sounds nothing like himself. "I thought you liked me singing!" he wails. "Nope, kid. You fit the suit!" they reply.

Britney fits the suit.

Christopher Althouse Cohen said...

fivewheels: You're misinterpreting the song. It's about bisexuality, and she's saying all the boys and all the girls want to have sex with her. Maybe you found it hard to understand because you assumed it can't have a bisexual meaning.

Lionheart said...

Isn't Britney about 15 years too old to get a charge out of a lyric which says "Fuck Me" in disguise? This just seems like something a 12 year-old boy would get a kick out of.... or is that her audience?

fivewheels said...

Maybe it came out wrong, but what I was saying is that if you say you didn't pick up the innuendo at first -- as people here and in the comments at the link say -- the actual lyric doesn't make even rudimentary sense.

How could you interpret "all of the boys and all of the girls are begging to if you seek Amy" as being in English unless you translate it into the other words?

Jason said...

yes I said yes I will Yes.

mdulakthomson said...

Heh. This is a very old device, actually. I know an 18th-c. English catch (that is, a round) where the four lines of the text end respectively with the words "see," "you," "end," and "tea." There's nothing ribald in the text if you read it from beginning to end, but since it's a catch, once it begins wrapping around, the different lines of the text are able to start, er, interacting with one another. By the time all four parts are going at once, you have a perfect mess of words, except that every so often the music pauses and you get "see, you, end, tea" arpeggiated neatly through the harmony. Juvenile, but cute. (And instructive -- I for one didn't know that the word was current a few hundred years ago until I ran across the thing.)