Songs with homophobic lyrics?
July 31, 2006 3:05 PM   Subscribe

Songs with homophobic lyrics?

Looking for songs with homophobic lyrics. no, not for a mixtape, ew. But for my own curiosity and independent research, what songs out there have lyrics that, perhaps at the time, were just written oh so casually, but our more enlightened age knows better. (Which sort of rules out Eminem-style "watch me be shocking" stuff from my question, but I suppose it's a gray line)

((side note: triggered by my friend's horrified "Did Sting just say faggot?" Money for Nothing response))
posted by John Kenneth Fisher to Society & Culture (51 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Possibly "One In A Million" by Guns 'n' Roses
posted by ed\26h at 3:08 PM on July 31, 2006


"Boom Bye Bye," by Buju Banton
About a million other dancehall songs, too, but that's the most famous one.
posted by box at 3:14 PM on July 31, 2006


A.I.D.S. - by M.O.D. (could've sworn it was Anthrax). An unfortunate and homophobic reimagining of that acronym. Nothing really casual about this one but there it is.
posted by kookoobirdz at 3:19 PM on July 31, 2006


Not necessarily homophobic, but Sissy Man Blues is an interesting collection of blues recordings from the 20s-40s that reference homosexuality with various degrees of obliqueness.

I wouldn't consider "Money for Nothing" homophobic--the lines in question are sung (by Mark Knopfler, not Sting) in the voice of a character who is homophobic, which is not the same thing. You're probably aware of that, just wanted to point it out. And you're right that they might not get away with it (or at least not have a #1 hit) in 2006.
posted by staggernation at 3:23 PM on July 31, 2006


"I'm Not a Loser" by the Descendents
"Nicaragua" and "I Wanna Be a Homosexual" by Screeching Weasel

While you're at it, check out "I Don't Wanna Be a Homosexual" by Sloppy Seconds, which is very pro-gay but still might qualify as homophobic to some.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:24 PM on July 31, 2006


"Stuart" by the Dead Milkmen. DM's only gay member, Joe Jack Talcum says about the song: "As for 'Stuart', while I certainly hoped no gays would be offended, I felt it was funny. The absurd idea of gay Martians and a queer conspiracy to bring them to earth can't really be taken too seriously. Well, I suppose there are stranger conspiracies that are taken seriously. You either think it's funny or you don't.
posted by candyland at 3:25 PM on July 31, 2006


Point taken about it not being first person, Staggernation. That does make a difference, but even so... I often find "oh it's not me saying it, it's a character" just an excuse to get away with things....

but looking at Money for Nothing in particular, I think you're right about it.

(Actually, Sting says it in his backup vocals too, doesn't he? I might be mistaken)
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 3:28 PM on July 31, 2006


Eminem.
posted by fogster at 3:29 PM on July 31, 2006


Look at the OP again:
what songs out there have lyrics that, perhaps at the time, were just written oh so casually, but our more enlightened age knows better

Some of the songs listed were in this "enlightened age" that "knows better"
posted by Robert Angelo at 3:29 PM on July 31, 2006


Various Elizabethan bawdy somgs contain negative allusions to homosexuality.
posted by orthogonality at 3:31 PM on July 31, 2006


There's a fracas currently in the back of the news about homophobic reggae bands in the UK...
posted by baylink at 3:37 PM on July 31, 2006


Ween's "Mr. Richard Smoker."
posted by LarryC at 3:44 PM on July 31, 2006


Pretty much anything by Anal Cunt.
posted by patr1ck at 3:45 PM on July 31, 2006


"I'm Not a Loser" by the Descendents

I've always wondered about that one, because it's on an album (the excellent 'Milo Goes to College') that was originally released by the Minutemen -- and was produced by Spot, who's also responsible for recording most of the Big Boys' output, not to mention Husker Du.

I'm therefore inclined to take the lyrics as ironic detatchment/social observation, rather than evidence of actual homophobia.
posted by macdara at 3:49 PM on July 31, 2006


Public Enemy : A Letter to the New York Post from Apocalypse 91... The Enemy Strike Black congratulates James Cagney for gay bashing. It's always made me so sad that this album is marred with homophobia because Nighttrain, Lost at Birth, By the Time I Get To Arizona and Can't Truss It always struck me a so powerful and important, only to be undermined by that song's random divergence into homophobia and defense of wifebeating.
posted by Sara Anne at 3:52 PM on July 31, 2006


Monty Python's "I'm a Lumberjack"...
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:00 PM on July 31, 2006


In the vein of "I'm a Lumberjack," "I'm the Only Gay Eskimo" is good-natured but rather tasteless.
posted by Jeanne at 4:04 PM on July 31, 2006


I wouldn't let Knopfler off quite so easy, he has another song that is fairly homophobic: Les Boys.
posted by Manjusri at 4:32 PM on July 31, 2006


I heard an second-hand anecdote once that claimed "Dude Looks Like a Lady" resulted from Steven Tyler not wanting to collaborate with a gay songwriter.
posted by lampoil at 4:35 PM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


"I wanna be a homosexual" is homophobic? ?I'm thinking it's more acutely heteronormative than homophobic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heteronormativity

It's certainly not without its caricatures, but then again, so is this book

There was also, once upon a time, a summary site on queer-bashing lyrics in hip-hop. It was only a small attempt, to catalog the events of using homosexuality as a slur in battle rhymes would take a massive anthropological effort. I may be able to pull it up from several years ago.
posted by eustatic at 4:41 PM on July 31, 2006


Well, I'd say that Bloodhound Gang's "I Wish I Were Queer So I Could Get Chicks" sorta seems to fit the bill.
posted by JMOZ at 4:49 PM on July 31, 2006


Searching google for 'homophobic song list' yeilds this annotated Amazon list titled Homophobia in Hip-Hop.

Also via google: a page called Homophobia in Country Music, which lists both homophobic and non-homophobic examples.
posted by rajbot at 4:50 PM on July 31, 2006


The Pogues - Fairytale of New York uses "faggot" as an insult.

Then there's Mindless Self Indulgence's Faggot, which you can make whatever you want of.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:53 PM on July 31, 2006


To say that Python's "Lumberjack Song" is homophobic is to display a truly shocking lack of appreciation for irony. I think the fact that so many Americans can namecheck Python and Benny Hill in the same sentence indicates all too frighteningly just how many of them don't really get Python.
posted by Decani at 5:24 PM on July 31, 2006


Angry Samoans - Get Off The Air

"You pathetic male queer, you don't impress me."
posted by evil holiday magic at 5:24 PM on July 31, 2006


Many of early LA punk band Fear's lyrics were unkind towards homosexuals (and everyone else for that matter).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:39 PM on July 31, 2006


Maybe a bit further back: "Lavender Cowboy", written in 1923 by Harold Hersey, and a hit for Burl Ives in 1950. (Also, a rather more punched up version from 1959).
posted by hangashore at 5:44 PM on July 31, 2006


I heard an second-hand anecdote once that claimed "Dude Looks Like a Lady" resulted from Steven Tyler not wanting to collaborate with a gay songwriter.

The more common story is that it is about vince neil of motley crue
posted by necessitas at 5:51 PM on July 31, 2006


I Don't Want to Be a Homosexual - Sloppy Seconds
posted by Aznable at 5:56 PM on July 31, 2006


I'm not sure if this song is heterophobic or homophobic or what, but...

Heterosexual Man by The Odds.
posted by utsutsu at 6:08 PM on July 31, 2006


If you're interested in hip-hop lyrics, try combining Google search strings and the Online Hip-Hop Lyrics Archive--"site:ohhla.com faggot" is a good search string to start with
posted by box at 6:21 PM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]



Then there's Mindless Self Indulgence's Faggot, which you can make whatever you want of.


Doesn't Jimmy Urine openly admit that he loves gay sex? I mean, that's what the songs about--he finally tried it.
posted by Lockeownzj00 at 6:51 PM on July 31, 2006


The Feederz--"Jesus Entering From the Rear." Homophobic and anti-Christian!

Not sure how much all the punk we keep mentioning counts--it's not really what the OP is looking for, I don't think. But this Feederz song has a special place in my heart on account of how much I loved it...right up until I came out.

I have a vague memory of bumping up against some interesting things of this type during my Frank Sinatra/pop standards musical phase, but I'll be damned if I can dredge up an example for you now.
posted by not that girl at 8:17 PM on July 31, 2006


"Tooling for Anus" from the Meatmen.
posted by punkrockrat at 8:23 PM on July 31, 2006


A lot of Reggaeton singers such as Beenie Man are being picketed at their US and European concerts (and some have had shows cancelled) because so many of their lyrics are homophobic and even promote violence against homosexuals. An aptly worded google search should bring up plenty of articles about it.
posted by hermitosis at 10:09 PM on July 31, 2006


Frank and Moon Unit Zappa's "Valley Girl". Sex Pistols' "New York".
posted by brujita at 10:15 PM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


Bruce Hornsby's "White Wheeled Limousine" is about a wedding that's called off when the bride finds out her intended is gay. A bit of reading between the lines is necessary.
posted by Clay201 at 11:03 PM on July 31, 2006


23skidoo, I'm not the biggest fan of Ben Weasel's worldview, but I think calling "I Wanna Be a Homosexual" homophobic is well, missing the point and the back-story of the song.

And can you really hate on a song that was cowritten with Bruce LaBruce?
posted by aspo at 11:23 PM on July 31, 2006


Violent Femmes: Black Girls
posted by argybarg at 11:32 PM on July 31, 2006


Korn - Faget
posted by Chunder at 1:28 AM on August 1, 2006


Loathe as I am to defend Korn, Faget isn't actually homophobic. It's purely about the singer being bullied at school, in particular being called a faggot by his fellow students. The word shouldn't be an insult, but the fact remains that it is, and someone complaining about being called a faggot (as an insult) isn't necessarily homophobic.
posted by pollystark at 3:23 AM on August 1, 2006


Traffic's 1971 album The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys features title track The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.
posted by paulsc at 4:34 AM on August 1, 2006


A lot of Reggaeton singers such as Beenie Man

Dancheall, not reggaeton.

Re: homophobia in dancehall, it is indeed rife. The aformentioned Boom-Bye-Bye was the first example to be really controversial. Sample lyrics:
Dis is not a deal
Guy come near we
Then his skin must peel
Burn him up bad like an old tire wheel
and the chorus:
Boom bye bye
Inna batty bwoy head
Rude bwoy no promote the batty man
Dem haffi dead
Boom bye bye
Inna batty bwoy head
Rude bwoy no promote no batty man
For Googling purposes, you might want to search for the terms 'batty boy/bwoy/man' and 'chi chi man' and the artists Beenie Man, Elephant Man, Vybez Cartel, Sizzla, Bounty Killer and Capelton, all of whom have had gigs cancelled in Europe and Scandinavia for homophobic lyrics.

Here's a good piece in the Guardian covering J-Flag, a Jamaican GLBT rights group, and Stop Murder Music, an Outrage!-backed campaign that's behind the cancellation of gigs, and spurred the adoption of a code of conduct for Jamaican musicians, which as far as I can tell has been completely ignored.
posted by jack_mo at 4:36 AM on August 1, 2006


Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys has homophobic lyrics? Where? The words just seem coolly vague and strange to me.
posted by mediareport at 5:41 AM on August 1, 2006


Frank Zappa's "He's So Gay" and "Bobby Brown".
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:35 AM on August 1, 2006


If you want more Sting, then listen to "On Any Other Day," a Police song. Stewart Copeland wrote it but Sting sings it quite happily.

Why wife has burned the scrambled eggs.
The dog just bit my leg.
My teenage daughter ran away.
My fine young son has turned out gay
and it would be okay on any other day.

posted by scarabic at 7:47 AM on August 1, 2006


Any hip-hop song that disparages “sucker MCs.” What, you thought it meant they’re gullible?
posted by hilker at 11:21 AM on August 1, 2006


"Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys has homophobic lyrics? Where? The words just seem coolly vague and strange to me."
posted by mediareport at 8:41 AM EST on August 1


so what *is* this song about? Jim Capaldi, in _Goldmine_ #97, explained that he and actor Michael J. Pollard were in Morocco preparing for a movie that was never actually made:

"Pollard and I would sit around writing lyrics all day, talking about Bob Dylan and the Band, thinking up ridiculous plots for the movie. Before I left Morocco, Pollard wrote in my book [the line] 'The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.' For me, it summed him up. He had this tremendous rebel attitude. He walked around in his cowboy boots, his leather jacket. At the time he was a heavy little dude. It seemed to sum up all the people of that generation who were just rebels. [...] The 'Low Spark', for me, was the spirit, high-spirited. You know, standing on a street corner. The low rider. The 'Low Spark' meaning that strong undercurrent at the street level."

Pollard was married for a while to Beth Howland, with whom he had a child, but that marriage ended in 1969, a couple years before he was talking with Capaldi.

So, I take Capaldi's explanation, and the last stanza, and it seems pretty "street" obvious to me for 1971:

"If I gave you everything that I owned
And asked for nothing in return
Would you do the same for me as I would for you
Or take me for a ride
And strip me of everything, including my pride
But spirit is something that no one destroys

And the sound that I'm hearing is only the sound
Of the low spark of high-heeled boys
Heeled boys"

I could be wrong.
posted by paulsc at 8:16 PM on August 1, 2006


Couple of maybes.

The Kinks - Lola [lyrics]
Spacehog - Space Is The Place [lyrics]
posted by evil holiday magic at 2:56 PM on August 2, 2006


paulsc, your explanation just makes it more obvious that the song's lyrics *aren't* homophobic. I guess you need to clarify what "seems pretty 'street' obvious to me," because I'm still going "wha?"
posted by mediareport at 3:18 PM on August 2, 2006


Funkadelic's Jimmy's Got A Little Bit Of Bitch In Him. Not homophobic by lights, but kind of smirky nonetheless.
posted by timeistight at 3:19 PM on August 4, 2006


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