Oh, those troublesome lyrics in nominated songs

December 11, 2005|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

Say what?

The N-word, the F-word ... talk about having to keep your finger on the "bleep" button.

All five record-of-the-year Grammy Award nominees are sprinkled with raw lyrics -- enough to keep the Recording Academy and CBS-TV execs sweating as much as the artists, especially because all five songs would typically be performed during the live Feb. 8 telecast.

Here's what the CBS censors are up against: Kanye West's "Gold Digger" repeatedly uses the N-word in its sing-along refrain and the F-word turns up in Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," as it did in the group's "American Idiot," nominated in the same category last year.

Well aware of the political incorrectness of his song, West has even joked on his current concert tour that it was OK for white members of his audience to use the N-word if they wanted to rap along.

And then there's Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl," with its cheerleader chants filled with four-letter words. The Gorillaz "Feel Good Inc.," the tamest of the lot, includes the three-letter word for donkey.

Even Mariah Carey wonders "where the hell I went wrong" in "We Belong Together."

Ratings? Decency?

Decency? Ratings?

What's a television network to do?

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