Blurred Lines: the most controversial song of the decade
Another student union has banned Robin Thicke's party track. How did it become such a lightning rod for moral outrage and censorship? This week, University College London student union (UCLU) took the unusual step of banning a single song, Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines. It joins around 20 other UK student unions to do so. This is the latest development in the story of how the biggest song of the year became the most controversial of the decade: an unprecedented achievement, though not one that fills Thicke with pride. It seems impossible that anyone with the faintest interest in popular culture could have missed either the song or the controversy, but here is a recap. At the end of March, mid-table R&B singer Thicke, along with producer Pharrell Williams and rapper TI, released Blurred Lines, a libidinous R&B party jam about a woman in a nightclub who may or not be interested in him. In April, one blogger branded it a "rape song", and two months later Tricia Romano of the Daily Beast described it as "rapey", a word that caught fire in other media outlets. The song might have escaped censure if the video, in which the three male performers goof around with scantily clad (and, in one version, topless) models, had not generated its own separate yet overlapping controversy. "It promotes a very worrying attitude towards sex and consent," explained Kirsty Haigh, EUSA's vice-president of services. "This is about ensuring that everyone is fully aware that you need enthusiastic consent before sex. The song says: 'You know you want it.' Well, you can't know they want it unless they tell you they want it." Many people who follow pop music closely, however, are surprised that Blurred Lines has become such a lightning rod. "It really did boggle my mind when people started freaking out about it," says US music critic Maura Johnston. "This is just a cheesy pickup line song and everyone was like: 'No, it's about forcing...
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