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Wednesday, February 18, 2004  

Entertainment: Frustrated by "Fuck It"

I know it. I'm getting older second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour. I don't really feel it, or according to most people I know, look it. But, I had that 'why is this supposed to be the bomb?' response that means one is really and truly over thirty while listening to a new CD Monday night. The song that invoked it is Eamon's "Fuck It (I Don't Want You Back"). It has rhythm and blues harmonies and hip hop beats. The melody draws you in from the start. The lyrics are not nonsensical, as rap singers' too often are. However, they left me wondering why I was listening to the song.

Fuck It

Whoa oh oh
Ooh hooh
No No No

[Verse 1:]

See I dont, know why, I liked you so much
I gave you all, of my trust
I told you, I loved you, now thats all down the drain
Ya put me through pain, I wanna let you know what I feel

Fuck what I said it don't mean shit now
Fuck the presents might as well throw'em out
Fuck all those kisses, it didn't mean jack
Fuck you, you hoe, I dont want you back

I can't say it gets any better.

[Verse 2:]

You thought, you could
Keep this shit from me, yeah
Ya burnt bitch, I heard the story
Ya played me, ya even gave him head
Now ya askin for me back
Ya just another hag, look elsewhere
Cuz ya done with me

Fuck what I said it don't mean shit now
Fuck the presents might as well throw'em out
Fuck all those kisses, it didn't mean jack
Fuck you, you hoe, I dont want you back

And, so on.

The stories behind both the youthful vocalist and the song are sympathetic. He grew up singing with his father's doo-wop group in New York City. The song is supposed to express a teenager's first experience with deception and heartbreak.

I caught Eamon performing "Fuck It" on a talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Tuesday night after having written a draft of this entry. Mainly, he seemed young. A long face with big, dark, deer eyes. Hair covered by the requisite hat. His hip hop attire more about the high schoolish desire to fit in than comfort. He must have been sweating pints under the heat of studio lights. The voice? Old-fashioned soulful and capable of range, though it was rarely needed. I was unable to really hear much of the song because it is so laiden with profanity the bleeper was constantly in action. I can't speak for other people, but a bleep tends to distract me from what follows, as well as blotting out the 'dirty' word.

Eamon's single is currently number one on Billboard's R&B charts. It is being hailed as being the most explicit chart topper for the genre ever. Though youths are the most prolific music buyers, millions of people are purchasing, and apparently like, the eponymous album the single is from, too. It is rising fast.

Pat Healey, writing for the Weekly Dig, explains how that can happen.

Take Eamon. When you hear Eamon's No. 1 smooth R & B hit “F**k It (I Don't Want You Back)” on the radio, you don't hear the word “fuck” 25 times. What you do hear is the F-sound, which seems to be an increasing trend in hip-hop and pop music. Rather than inserting a bleep to make absolutely certain that the listener knows some sort of swear has been edited out, radio edits either mute the word entirely or mute right before the first vowel comes along. Why is it that they think the vowel sound in a swear word is the most offensive?

. . .But maybe that's why hip-hop is still selling well in this day and age - because the radio plays the edited versions and the only way to have the unedited versions is to buy them.

My response to "Fuck It" is not to cursing per se. I don't curse much myself, but accept profanity as a legitimate form of expression. When has a 'fuck' or a 'damn' ever caused anyone real harm? I think my discomfort with the profanity is twofold. There is too much of it. The use of profane words is a significant component of the content of the song. Consider the repetitiveness of the rest of the words and that uses up even more ear time. One could be hearing words that say more than 'fuck' and 'shit.' Second, I believe Eamon, who is 19, but looks 12 in some photographs, has unwittingly thrown up a barrier to older listeners. He seems to be all about posturing for his immediate peer group. If he wants to not just grab, but hold the attention of older music buyers, he needs to pen lyrics that communicate universal thoughts instead of lyrics that will impress only listeners who haven't taken the SAT yet.

Note: An issue I haven't explored in this entry is the misogyny in this artist's work. It is worthy of discussion.

5:30 PM