Is "Die Young" Really the Most Controversial Hit Song Right Now?
December was supposed to be Ke$ha's big month. She was releasing a new album, critics were starting to see her as a serious artist, and "Die Young" was on the verge of becoming her third Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 single.
But it was not to be.
After the shootings in Newtown, some people didn't want the words "Die" and "Young" near each other. Radio responded, pulling the song from the airwaves. This was not a mass culling of tracks like the great Clear Channel Memo of 2001; it was the targeted removal of one track by some stations.
"Die Young" isn't the only song to mention death on the radio, it just happens to be the only one that was trying hard to be provocative. Did Ke$ha get a raw deal because of this? To find out, we compared it to four other songs that, with the right cherry-picked lyrics, seem a bit weird in a post-Newtown world.
Round 1: Swedish House Mafia "Don't You Worry Child"
Choice Quote: "Don't you worry, child/ See heaven's got a plan for you."
Like "Die Young," "Don't You Worry Child" is a song that is supposed to lift your spirits. While the former is all about the party the latter is about the promise of a better tomorrow. Still, talking about kids and heaven so close together seems a bit dicey.
They may be getting a pass because no one takes dance lyrics seriously. More likely it's because "heaven" sounds hopeful and "die" seems pretty final.
Verdict: The potential is there to bring a tear to the eye, but it seems generally harmless.
Round 2: fun. "Some Nights"
Choice Quote: "But I still wake up, I still see your ghost."
It was interesting to watch Ke$ha distance herself from the offending hook in "Die Young." If she didn't write the controversial line in question, then it's safe to say it belongs to the song's cowriter and fun. front man Nate Ruess. Does that bit of info make the reference to a ghost in this song seem less cheeky? Not really. The music video with the war imagery does seem pretty suspect though.
Verdict: "Some Nights" has been on the charts for 44 weeks. Whatever feelings people have for it are already set in stone.