Music has always been more than entertainment. It is a powerful tool that many musicians use in order to convey their world views and opinions. Politicians and government officials also commission songs for self-praise or push a propaganda.
What is considered controversial differs by country, while America might not have a problem with nudity and lewd language, Arabian countries would.
On that note, here are songs that have been deemed controversial.
Imagine By John Lennon
Although Lennon lead a controversial life, the song “Imagine” is about peace. It was banned during two crucial time in history; firstly, in 1991 during the Gulf War, and in 2001 after the 911 attacks.
Also, many religious groups took issue with the lyric: “imagine there’s no heaven.”
Despite the bans, the song went on to break records and continues to be one of the most popular songs of all time.
If U Seek Amy By Britney Spears
At first, nothing about “If you seek Amy” seemed suggestive. But if you say those words quickly, they sound awfully close to something more suggestive (F-U-C-K Me).
It is unknown if Spears and her team did this on purpose. After this caught on, many radio stations censored or banned the song.
Love Game By Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga is no stranger to controversy, whether it’s due to her outlandish outfits or her music. Her song “Love Game” was censored due to its suggestive lyrics.
Years later, Lady Gaga’s “Judas” was banned altogether in Lebanon as many felt it was blasphemous towards Christianity.
Royals By Lorde
Lorde’s song “Royals” was banned in San Francisco for quite a funny reason. In 2014, the song was banned due to an upcoming baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals. The song was antagonizing for Giants fans, so the song was temporarily banned. After the game, it was no longer banned.
Blurred Lines By Robin Thicke feat. TI & Pharrell Robin
Thicke’s song “Blurred Lines,” which features rappers T.I. and Pharrell, remains to be one of the most controversial pop songs to this day. Many people feel that the song’s message blurs the line between consent and non-consent. The song’s content led it to be banned from many radio stations.
Like A Prayer By Madonna
Madonna is no stranger to controversies. Her songs “Like A Virgin,” had been censored and banned earlier in her career. When she released “Like A Prayer,” the music video, which had Roman Catholic references, was criticized by The Vatican. The Pope asked people to boycott her concerts after the song was released, and she was banned completely in Egypt and is heavily restricted in Russia.
Rolling In The Deep By Adele
One would not think that the groundbreaking song by British singer, Adele, would ever make the banned list. But a lyric in “Rolling In The Deep” included the word “ship,” and although it isn’t a bad word, it was too close to a swear word. This is why often when Adele performs the song on live TV, she replaces the word “ship” with the word “stuff.”
Baby, It’s Cold Outside By Frank Loesser
Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside was one of the defining songs of the 1940s. A hit so big it won a 1949 Academy Award for Best Original Song. However, in 2018 the song was removed from a Cleveland radio station as well as many Canadian radio stations for its lyrics that suggest lack of consent.