“Fuck You” is our “Tears of a Clown”

It’s a simple sentiment: “Fuck you.” Perfect in brevity and poignant as a bootheel on a bare foot, it can be replaced by nothing else when one’s intended sentiment is a slap to the mind, a provocation of violence or the rearrangement of facial features. Like a cyanide capsule, it‘s best to use when no other option remains, and has been known to cause similar regret. And no other words will suffice to insult with precision as these two can. Nobody does it like you, “fuck you.”

Nor you, Cee Lo Green. The craftily-subtitled video for his song “Fuck You” has been seen by almost 1.5 million viewers as of this writing (the number jumped by 200,000 in the last hour alone), and isn’t yet available for purchase (Green’s “The Lady Killer” album drops in October). Perhaps some of the drive to watch has been about the song’s brazen title or the many f-bombs within. But I’d like to think it’s not so much our 3rd grade penchant to see creative uses of the word, but that the song itself evokes the universal bitterness of love lost. It also doesn’t hurt when your song is a mental tapeworm of tambourines and sing-along soul and back-up singer sunshine.

Sad sacks of the world; you are not alone. Smokey Robinson; you are not forgotten.

The film High Fidelity, which starred music as its lead, famously asked, “What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?”

That question is personal and is for you to answer. I simply intend to prolong the pain. Here are a few more songs that – like “Fuck You” – will charm your undies into dancing off your rump before their bitterness can be digested.

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