Blurred Lines has been without a doubt the most controversial song of 2013. Not only is it highly played on the radio and in clubs, almost everybody was singing along, and it was performed on various stages across the globe. But what made this song so talked about was:
• Ladies: With two versions -- one unrated -- the video caused such a fury, it was almost bigger than the song itself (as was that one brunette!). The nudity itself wasn't really a problem, per se, so much as it was shocking to many people. I mean, really?
• Lyrics: There was much debate about whether the lyrics were suggestive of rape:
Just let me liberate you
You don't need no papers
That man is not your maker
And that's why I'm gon' take a good girl
Many thought that, regardless of the risqué video, these references inappropriately targeted women. Other lyrics were found to be anti-feminine in their nature, and this caused feminist groups to go into an outrage. Thicke's denied these claims.
• Lawsuit: During an interview, Thicke talked about how he had a certain Marvin Gaye song in his head when making the song. It ended up that he actually sampled Marvin Gaye as well. The sample was from the 1977 song "Got to Give It Up". There was a lawsuit later filed by Gaye associates for the use of that sample
This was Big Sean's song, and he had a nice verse. Jay Electronica went in as well. Then somewhere in between those two verses we got King Kendrick Lamar, and nothing was the same. If you wanna see someone throw bars on bars and dismantle everybody in the game while doing it, look no further. Not only did he blow up Twitter and every other platform, many rappers were compelled to respond. Above all he shook up the industry and spiced up the hip hop game quite a bit (no more light verses allowed). But what made this song so talked about was:
• Names: Kendrick managed to piss off everybody in the rap game while only just recently making a name for himself. He dropped a straight grimy verse that hasn't been spit in quite some time. No one really tries to call out people anymore, especially by name. I'd probably be a little salty if I was Jermaine Cole, Big KRIT, Wale, Pusha T, Meek Millz, A$AP Rocky, Drake, Big Sean, Jay Electron', Tyler, or Mac Miller.
• New York: He also claimed he was the king of New York, and that didn't make any rappers happy. New York rappers like Papoose and Joey Bada$$ took this with special offense. New York hasn't seemed to have held much of a grudge though, especially as its rappers struggle to find its current influence in hip hop. Still, I mean, fuck it, he technically didn't even claim just that, he said he was 2Pac AND The Notorious B.I.G. Every rapper tried to respond to Kendrick through a track combined. So what was his response to it all?:
Everybody else gotta try harder though
The biggest song off of their album Night Visions, this song was highly talked about because:
• Teens: Radioactive has been a hit on the radio and an anthem for many young teens. And when you make an adolescent anthem, it means a cult-like following. This hit has propelled the band into the national spotlight. Many have been inspired by it's message, as the band speaks on it's meaning:
Radioactive, to me, it's very masculine, powerful-sounding song, and the lyrics behind it, there's a lot of personal story behind it, but generally speaking, it's a song about having an awakening; kind of waking up one day and deciding to do something new, and see life in a fresh way
• TV: The single has also been used in various commercials as well, which only furthered the popularity it gained and helped get it across different audiences on multiple platforms. As the band continues to grow, these T.V. spots helped people attract them to the album as a whole and boosted sale numbers and fan count
This song put young songstress Lorde into the music spotlight not only throughout the UK, but around the globe. The beat incorporates many different genres, which helped this track reach multiple audiences. The hook makes the song, but what really made it so talked about was:
• Raw: It's powerful sound drives this song home. The soothing voice made it such a good listen and it's non-explicit content meant it could be played anywhere... and so it was played everywhere. This helped the song garner massive radio play as well as on TV and by youth everywhere. This song propelled her fan-base to a new level
• Racist? Some people's thoughts on the potentially racist aspects of the track have made this song talked about since it's release. Some feel as if she took shots at some black superstars or even rappers in particular, but she refused to comment, a smart move by a young woman to avoid it all together.
Ohh, the return of Em, this song was highly talked about because:
• Disappointment: After 3 years of silence since Recovery's release, Eminem dropped the first single from his next album, "Berzerk". But people were a little unimpressed. They feel as if he tried too hard to get that 1990's style to return. Some also found the beat and the fast rapping of common everyday sounds unappealing to listen to
• Destruction: But then Em dropped this gem: 6 minutes of straight fast, hard, grimy rap, (no hook either) and in the wake of "Control" no less! A couple years ago we thought this guy was done, and know he's not just saying he's a king, he's a GOD? This had the rap world buzzing, a sighting of the old Em, the legendary Em. Had the people like this
On January 14th, Justin Timberlake shocked the world by dropping this single and announcing a new album was in the works. But there was a reason this was the most talked about:
• Return: The record brought all the Timberlake fans back, and he gained even more plays with that Jay Z feature. Everyone was bumping this, and was surprised by it's mix of genres (Pop Hop?!). It instantly became a hit and the return of JT had moved into full effect
• Reiterate: Six long years we survived with no JT album, but this single was only a sign of things to come as this record later brought a new JT album and a tour with Jay and it became a nice comeback single and a summer anthem. JT has since released a sequel to that album, as an obvious comeback has now been started
Okay, so, Kanye came to attack, and that's the beginning of why it's so talked about:
• Courage: This is Kanye West. This man is one of the most controversial artists of our generation, and he has a, erhh, special way of putting that into lyrics sometimes. Kanye is outspoken above many musicians today, and this resulted in a rarity: There was NO radio edit released, therefore stations couldn't play the track as they normally would. This was the whole point of the song: Ye was not going to feed the corporations and follow the conventional paid promotional tactics. He was going to try to abolish that way of thinking and still make a hit song
• Corporate: Kanye took no prisoners. Kanye attacks topics ranging from racism, critic responses, materialism, and the major corporations in the world. He was unforgiving in his attack on the injustices these powerful institutions, people, and ideas inflict on society. It's all part of his plan to make people realize that we can be anything we want to be in life, we just need to escape the powers that be and the tools they use to keep us down
• Cunning: Kanye also found unique ways to promote the track. From a highly-anticipated Saturday Night Live performance and his mysterious projections of the song on various buildings across 66 different locations around the world. All of these played into garnering attention right before the album's release and a boost in promo, or as he would see it, a boost in the number of people who see his message
Here's why it was so popular:
• Popularity: If you have somehow avoided this song, whether sung by Drake or one of your friends, you gotta be on some dark magic shit. If your girl has not played this, your friend, your little sister -- somebody -- I applaud you (for living under a rock)
• Powerful: With a melody that captures just about everyone, this song was truly a fever. The summer embraced "Hold On" and you couldn't deny how good it felt. And as a result, it was ALL over radios everywhere. Not to mention Drake does a good job of not cursing or using any "controversial" subject matter; you know what that means right? Endless airplay, everywhere
• Peculiar: This not only got airplay, but think about how different this was. The rest of Drake's album and other rapper's songs, (Kanye, Jay, Eminem, J. Cole, Big Sean) were focused on lyricism and or straight rap, but not Drizzy. He dropped this right on the heels of his rap heavy song, "All Me". He straight up sang this song the whole way through. An unexpected release that kept us all guessing what he would do next
It's me and 40 just channeling our Quincy Jones/Michael Jackson production duo, obviously no offense to the greats, I know we're not anywhere near that — it's just us kinda doing our thing, humbly attempting. It's not a rap record, it's not "Versace", it's not "Started from the Bottom". In approaching this album I was like man, it would be great if we had a record that was played at weddings in 10 years or that people that are away from their families in the army could listen to. Something that just [has] timeless writing, timeless melody. So I did it with the group that we signed to OVO called Majid Jordan.
Miley, Miley, Miley! This single came out at the height of summer Miley mayhem. As if she couldn't get more controversial than "We Can't Stop", Miley outdid herself. Here are the main reasons we're talking about it:
• Lewd: The entire video, which dropped as the song did, was Miley sitting in undies or straight up naked on a wrecking ball. The beat coupled with Miley's voice makes it slightly enticing to everybody though, so you kinda couldn't stop watching, err, listening. But, come on, Miley licking steel hammers was just too weird for most people, regardless of who was doing it. And some people still couldn't quite grasp that this was once their favorite Disney Channel star.
• Laughs: It has been subject to several parodies (she's licking a sledge hammer!!). The most popular is probably this one
Even though it is the short track on the list, this song made waves and made people talk:
• Pharrell: This beat + Pharrell = Addicting. Nuff said
• Punk: Although Daft Punk hadn't released an album since 2005, this single got people hyped, as in most-plays-in-a-single-day-on-Spotify hyped. This brought about a revival of excitement around the duo, and meant it was played incessantly in clubs and on radios/TVs across the globe
• Peak: It even reached the top of various music charts in 32 different countries. It also hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was on the chart for 16 weeks. No luck with this song.