Maryann's Top 5 Most Satisfying Uses of the F-Word in Folk Rock*


Last night I got to see Mumford & Sons for the second time, and one of their songs uses the f-word so well, that I remembered I had been wanting to make this post for ages. It's time.

1.) "Little Lion Man" by Mumford & Sons

The line: But it was not your fault, but mine and it was your heart on the line, I really fucked it up this time, didn't I, my dear?

The f-word use in this song is so satisfying because it's sung in a bitterly angry and bitterly regretful way. The juxtaposition of the f-word with calling someone 'my dear' is very appealing. And the fact that Mumford uses very little swearing in their songs makes it feel more 'special.' The song is, as you might imagine, very cathartic live.

2.) "Bloody Motherfucking Asshole" by Martha Wainwright

The line: You bloody motherfucking asshole.

Oh, this song. All the lyrics are actually quite wonderful (poetry has no place for a heart that's a whore--ZING!), and this song is perfect for when you're feeling pissed off but would like to express it without using the music of a crazy, ignorant hateful person (*cough*Eminem*cough*). One time my mom and I were packing up my dorm room and this song came on. "This is a nice song!" she said. I responded, "Wait 'til it gets to the chorus." She was a bit shocked.

3.) "Come Pick Me Up" by Ryan Adams

The line: Come pick me up, take me out, fuck me up, steal my records

THIS SONG. To quote The Weakerthans, this song gave me new words for old desires. Ryan's 'fuck me up' line is so full of surrender and acceptance at the prospect of a broken heart, it's bordering on self-destructive.

4.) "Untouchable Face" by Ani DeFranco

The line: So fuck you and your untouchable face, and fuck you for existing in the first place

I'll let Tom McRae say why this is one of the best: "Not many songs can utilise the word 'fuck' convincingly, but this has to be one of the best. It's such a beautiful, lilting song with such a vicious refrain." This is--hands down--one of the top 5 best 'unrequited love' songs EVER. And it lets you be angry AND sad about it.

5.) "Keep Yourself Warm" by Frightened Rabbit

The line: It takes more than fucking someone you don't know to keep warm

This song is, to borrow a different curse word, THE SHIT. Soooooo good. And the message is a great one: just sleeping with random people isn't enough to 'keep yourself warm'--physically or emotionally. Or, as they put it even more succinctly (and graphically), you won't find love in a hole.

Honorable Mention (Because a Top 6 list doesn't have the same ring to it): "Have You Forgotten?" by Red House Painters

The line: Shut out what they say, 'cause your friends are fucked up anyway

This version of the song, the original, not the weird Vanilla Sky version, is a soft blanket of comfort and reassurance and self-protection. It feels like it goes on forever, and you want it to. The use of the f-word is surprising in such a sweet, cozy song, but it totally works.

What are some of your favorite uses of the f-word (or any other curse word) in folk rock?

* These are my favorites as of December 8th, 2011. My top 5 lists change constantly because I always remember more songs AFTER I've made them.


jonathan edmund said...

Oh my! I LOVE that I knew all but 2 of these songs, and some of them are my favorites too! Like Red House Painters and Ani DiFranco and Frightened Rabbit. You are wonderful, m'dear. Can't think of any more of my own favorites - the one that always comes to mind and then gets stuck in my head, thereby preventing me from remembering other songs, is Untouchable Face.

Anonymous said...

Damien Rice's "Rootless Tree"-- have you heard it? It's amazing.


Maryann said...

Linda, that song is AMAZING. I had never heard it before! Thank you for sharing!

And Jonathan, I totally agree: Untouchable Face stands out so strongly in the 'fuck' song category.