In the days and weeks to come, as Cee-Lo’s “Fuck You” goes to radio and becomes the decidedly less emphatic “Forget You” (booooo), there will be much grumbling over the inanity of the radio edit. But seeing as we here at Vulture live our lives glass-half-full, all the time, we now say: Let us not forget that the radio edit can, on certain occasions, go beyond a necessary evil to become a munificent, ameliorating process, transforming bumping-but-icky jams into true family entertainment and clumsily worded choruses into timeless refrains. Like, for example, on these seven songs:
Akon, “I Wanna Fuck You”
“I wanna fuck you” becomes “I wanna love you.”
“I wanna fuck you” is pretty much as stripped of nuance as a song can get. And then — boom — here comes the radio edit to magically restore the charm.
Shaggy, “It Wasn’t Me”
“We were both butt-naked, banging on the bathroom floor” becomes “We were both caught making love on the bathroom floor.”
The tenderness on display while recalling the extramarital exploits in the censored version will surely go a long way when the narrator tries out Shaggy’s terrible, terrible advice.
Black Eyed Peas, “Let’s Get Retarded”
“Let’s get retarded” becomes “Let’s get it started.”
Caveat: If you watched more than five minutes of the NBA Playoffs in 2004, you hate either version with a fiery, epic fury.
Eminem, “My Name Is”
“Hi, kids, do you like violence?” becomes “Hi, kids, do you like Primus?”
Overall the censored version is certainly lacking, but there’s something amazing about the first line on the first single from the man who’d go on to sell more records than anyone in the history of rap music hinging on a reference to California cult funk-rock-fusion band Primus.
Ghostface Killah, “Back Like That”
“Flossing around when I’m up in these streets, knowing that me and that nigga got beef/And what I did was wack, but you don’t get a nigga back like that” becomes “Flossing around when I’m up in these streets, knowing that me and that dude got beef/What I did was wack, but you don’t get your man back like that.”
On the explicit version, Ne-Yo stuffs too many syllables into the chorus for the sake of sounding tough. Seeing as Ghostface raps about detaching fingers, breaking jaws, and sending his “girl cousins” to “rock” his philandering ex-girlfriend in the verses, any additional toughness is unnecessary.
What’d we miss?