Little Mermaid - Kiss The Girl
The Issue with Song Lyrics

Open any news site and you’ll find another piece of art under the microscope, and lately we’re seeing a lot of songs (and movies, and cartoons, etc…) – many which are lifelong favorites – pointed out as problematic. Is it justified? Is it outrage culture gone too far?

The debate about “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” certainly isn’t new. It’s been called a “rape anthem” for some time. This year, we’re seeing more arguments in favor of keeping the song, as, in historical context, it’s actually a story of female empowerment.

A little closer to home, the Princeton Tigertones recently made national news for deciding to remove “Kiss the Girl” from their set list after a student journalist called out the song for “toxic masculinity.”

The original song was sung by a crab, on behalf of a mermaid princess who was in pursuit of the prince being encouraged to kiss her. It’s not only fictional, it’s animated fantasy. However, the journalist, Noa Wollstein, may have a point – not with the song itself, but with the way it was performed. In the Tigertones’ performance, they would bring up a female audience member and attempt to end the song with an unsolicited kiss.

We’re not here to make a decision for you, but here are the conversations for consideration we see:

  • Should art be stopped if it makes someone uncomfortable? Is there a gradient?
  • Can we pick and choose which topics are are ok or not ok? Can we continue to sing about suicide, guns, sex, and other topics?
  • Have we gone too far? Not far enough?
  • Is intent important? Does it bear any weight in the appropriateness of a song?
  • Does presentation matter? What about context?

 


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In addition to all of the great variety of a cappella you can hear ’round the clock here at Acaville Radio, we’re going to bring you some bonus releases each Tuesday to make sure you’re finding all of the latest and greatest this talented community has to offer.

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