My first ever musical idols sang:
“Ik weet niet of het goed of slecht is /
Dat ik met je vrijen wou /
En wat een ander ook mag zeggen /
Ik vond het fijn bij jou /
Zoals je naast me ligt te slapen /
Zo heb ik jou nog nooit gezien /
Je lijkt ineens geen kind meer /
Maar zo mooi /
En minstens zeventien”
Rough translation of the above:
“I don’t know if it’s good or bad /
That I wanted to sleep with you /
And no matter what anyone else says /
I enjoyed it with you /
The way you’re lying next to me, asleep /
I’ve never seen you like this before /
Suddenly you no longer look like a child /
But so beautiful /
And at least seventeen”
I have known these lyrics by heart and have sung along to this song since I was six or seven years old, but I doubt any musician would dare come out singing words like these today (certainly not in the UK and I doubt in the US).
Dutch radio played (and to date still play) this song, as well as the other expletive-laden ones they made, all of which I and many other kids sang along to word for word as well. No bleeps or blanks, no cleaned-up radio versions, no Tipper stickers. It wasn’t what the band had intended (they aimed their songs at their peers, i.e. thirty-somethings like themselves) but it’s what they got: Duranies, beliebers and Directioners of their day.
For all the possible bad influence they and later musical loves of mine might have had on me, I think I turned out alright, so I’m confident today’s (pre)teens wanting to dress and dance like Rihanna or Miley will turn out just fine. Well, most of them, anyway (I wrote, winking at the Bored Housewives Club; if you’re reading this: you know who you are).