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If people still genuinely get offended by pop songs, there’s hope for humanity. It means we’re not completely jaded, and that the Internet and 24-hour news cycle haven’t totally scrubbed away our humanity and left us immune to shock. But, this is a big “if.” After all, the Internet and cable news networks constantly need stories, and there’s nothing like a little phony outrage to drive traffic and snare viewers. Is “Blurred Lines” really a dangerous justification of violence toward women, or have hyperbolic critics brought the term “rapey” into the popular lexicon for no good reason?
The debate rages on — just as it does for many of the songs that follow. These are popular tunes we all sing along to, and according to some, they carry offensive messages that the masses miss, ignore, or forgive. (Note: The list is light on hip-hop and R&B, since those genres have long, complicated histories filled with both uplifting and truly reprehensible lyrics. We’ll save those conversations for another day.)