I like Cee
but I'm less
than crazy about the radio-ready version of "Fuck You," now
retitled "Forget You." It seemed bold that the first single to mat-
erialize from The Lady Killer would use "fuck" in the title and chor-
us. Naturally, radio and TV weren't going to touch it, and you can't
really excise the expletive--there would be next-to-nothing left.
So, I understand the impulse, but the words aren't interchange-
able. They have different meanings, different syllables, and a
wholly different vibe. To "forget" means to put it out of your
mind, while "fuck," in this context, is angry rather than sexual.
Green isn't putting his single status out of his mind, he's actively
addressing his ex and the fella with whom she took off. And let's
face it, "fuck" combined with the other lyrics is funnier than "for-
get," which has no bite (see "She's an XBox, and I'm more Atari").
When Cee Lo changed the song, he neutered it. But in so doing,
he's laughing all the way to the bank, because a couple of weeks
ago, Gwyneth Paltrow sang the bowdlerized version on Glee (ka-
ching!) and now everybody who can hear it--and not just those
who've seen the various videos making the rounds--has heard it.
Still, I've been thinking about some of the better known sing-
les to make use of the words "forget" and "fuck." As I suspect-
ed, they aren't interchangeable in these instances either.
Imagine if Jim Kerr had sung, "Don't you fuck about me, don't
don't don't don't, don't you fuck about me..." Doesn't have quite
the same ring, does it? (I tried to post the final sequence from
The Breakfast Club, but the embedding has been disabled.)
Imagine if Nilsson had sung, "You're breaking my heart, you're
tearing it apart, so forget you." (Love the song, love the film.)
As I mentioned on a certain social networking site, "Some edits
are better than others...a loud bleep is irritating, but a scramble,
which is what Public Enemy usually uses, tends to work well" (in
that case, "shit" becomes "isht"). I don't know how that would work
with "Fuck You," but I'd be interested to hear the results. Another
option is to edit out the "uh" sound, such that you hear the "f," the
"k," and nothing but a whoosh of air in the middle. Consequent-
ly, the one-syllable word remains--hey, it could be "frick" or
"frack"--and the song's meaning would be preserved.
And of course, NWA would prefer that you not "forget" the police.
Endnote: Image from Swagger New York.