When I first sat down to review the songs assigned to me, I wasn’t too positive. This wasn’t exactly a talented bunch of artists. I didn’t think these were going to be very good songs.

Even weirder was the selection. It was almost like these songs were chosen at random. I couldn’t figure out why these songs were so awful that they needed to be presented to Congress. I also couldn’t understand how a roomful of lawyers, liars, fornicators, extortionists and drunks were going to claim moral authority over a different bunch of lawyers, liars, fornicators, extortionists and drunks. It was Congress vs. the RIAA. And nobody won.

Let me provide a little context. The movies had already gone through things like this, most notably with the “Video Nasties” list, a series of films that ended up being banned in various countries for their violent content. Although controversial, the reaction against the Video Nasties were sort of understandable, and the position to censor or ban them is pretty defensible. When the mad cannibal from “Anthropophagous” rips the fetus out of a pregnant woman and eats in front of her as she dies, or the actors in “Cannibal Holocaust” hack real, live monkeys and giant turtles to pieces with machetes, you can make all the First Amendment arguments you want: you’re going to lose your case in court.

This is what a slam dunk censorship argument looks like.

This is what a slam dunk censorship argument looks like.

And that’s what the Filthy Fifteen should have been. It should have been fifteen songs so vile, so intolerable that just playing them aloud should have caused their opposition to sink into their chairs and take their medicine. If the Filthy Fifteen songs were selected properly, we would be able to look back even now and understand how ahead of their time the PMRC were.

1.

Out of everyone on my list, this is the best song, and the most talented artist. When I look at the written lyrics, it’s surprisingly ribald, but when you listen to it, it is nearly impossible to understand what Lauper is saying. I don’t know how a song can be dirty if it’s indecipherable. This entire song is a masterpiece of obscuring what its actually about, which is what songs used to do before you could slap a Parental Advisory sticker on an album, and then say whatever you wanted.
This is not a song you can base an industry-changing argument on.

The most objectionable thing about She Bop is that it gives me a visual of Cyndi Lauper I’d rather not have, which no human mind should have to tolerate, even for a second.

2.

Let me start by saying that I don’t know the significance of a deaf leopard or “Def Leppard.” I would imagine that not hearing would be a severe handicap for such a deadly predator. I don’t know why you name your band after it. Why not “Toothless Mamba,” or “Arthritic Pit Bull?”

For some reason, the PMRC picked this song as glorifying drugs and alcohol, because they’d hadn’t heard any music since the late 1800’s. There is literally nothing about this song that exceptional, and it doesn’t belong on a list like this. The real criticism of this song should be that they are clearly aping AC/DC, and they did a piss poor job of it.

3.

This is terrible. This is like that scene in Spinal Tap where all the midgets start dancing around Stonehenge, or when Ritchie Blackmore went folk. This is a song that scared middle-aged soccer moms… and no one else. If the PMRC wanted to go after a band that had half-hearted occult overtones, they could have gone after Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin, but they didn’t have the guts to go after bands that white people who were born in the fifties (their peers) would like, so they picked a Scandinavian metal band.

One big problem here is that they backed the wrong horse. There were genuinely upsetting Black Metal bands coming out at the same time in the same handful of countries. Had they picked – say – Mayhem, they would have looked like prophets later that decade when lead singer, aptly named Dead, blew his head off with a shotgun… and then his bandmates made a stew out of his brains and ate them. (They also took fragments of his skull and sent them to bands he admired.)
But they didn’t. They knew about as much about the occult as they knew about every other subject – which was nothing, and so they selected the most toothless tiger possible.

4. Vanity – Strap On “Robbie Baby”

Out of five songs I cover in this article, this might be the most legit song on the list. It’s still not a slam dunk (if I may draw another parallel: Video Nasty “I Spit on Your Grave” had a 45 minute rape scene) but it’s not exactly what you want your kids listening to. Of course, at this point, NOBODY was still listening to Vanity, which is why we have this underproduced track that sounds like there was a bored guitarist and a drum machine recording in the basement of a microbrewery. I couldn’t even find a link for the song for you to hear it.

5.

Tipper Gore objected to the video of this song, which is how it made the list. Which is basically like wanting a movie banned because you don’t like the novelization of it. There is nothing actually objectionable about this song, which reminds me of Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out.” (Of course, they weren’t touching that one.)

Hmmm.

So far this list makes no sense. At this point, I have no idea what this list and this controversy is all about. I don’t know why these songs were picked or what anybody was thinking. Wasn’t this just a giant waste of everyone’s time?

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