First Of May

pmrcSpring officially began about five weeks ago, but here in the northeastern United States we still sat through snow in April. Around these parts, today’s date represents a truer start to the season of blooming, budding, and studding. So let’s warm things up.

But before we do . . .

You may have noticed the little warning sign above. Now, at home, I curse more than a drunken sailor having his belly shaved with a rusty razor earl-aye in the morning. But I like to keep this site PG-rated so that it remains suitable both for adults in the workplace who need a respite from all those TPS reports, and for teens exploring a little awesome music history to share with their pals over malted milkshakes at the soda shop. However, today’s song includes a little, shall we say, ‘salty’ language. Now, it’s only one word, but it’s repeated. A lot.

On the plus side, it’s fun and light-hearted — like a Disney song for consenting adults.

Jonathan Coulton – First of May

JoCo (as he is sometimes known) encourages Creative Commons use of his songs, which basically means you can freely repurpose them for other artistic endeavors as long as it’s non-profit. Below is one of the more popular fan-made videos for this song. Note: if the CC button at the bottom is white, click on it to make it gray and turn off the captions. If you can see lyrics on the screen just click on the button again to remove them as they are somewhat distracting.

Alright, a little history as long as I have you here.

That “Explicit Lyrics” sticker came about in 1985 when The Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), led by Tipper “Mrs. Al” Gore, attempted to make mandatory a ratings system for music, similar to that already in place for movies. For the Senate hearings, the PMRC compiled a list of songs they found most objectionable which came to be known as “The Filthy Fifteen.” Some of their choices were certainly defensible [e.g. W.A.S.P’s “Animal (Copulate Like A Beast) — only they don’t say copulate], while others were simply bizarre [e.g. Madonna’s “Dress You Up” — specifically for the lyric “gonna dress you up in my love,” which the PMRC found too suggestive]. Dee Snider of Twisted Sister and Frank Zappa both testified eloquently about the First Amendment and obscenity (clips are on YouTube), and the ratings system was subsequently shot down. The compromise, however, was the Parental Advisory sticker. Ironically, some artists embrace the warning since evidence shows it can actually increase sales.

Okay. Now you can go outside and play.

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