Problematic Faves: A Summer Playlist Of Guilty Pleasures


We all have problematic faves – songs we love listening to but are problematic for a number of reasons. Maybe the singer is a great musician but also happens to be a well known misogynist or domestic abuser. Maybe you really love that one song of theirs but then you listen to it and you’re like, oh wait, this is actually glorifying rape. Or perhaps after checking out their entire discography you Google them and realize they have a penchant for calling their best friend racially insensitive names. Here are some of the guiltiest listening pleasures. Check out more on the Spotify playlist

1. Robin Thicke, “Blurred Lines”

Is there a more problematic fave than “Blurred Lines”? That’s really a decision every booty shaking music listener has to decide for themselves. “Blurred Lines” – so catchy, so great. If only Robin Thicke wasn’t one of the world’s worst douche bags with troubling lyrics like “I know you want it, I know you want it.”

When the singer was criticized for the song’s lyrics he had a myriad of responses but the best is when he was more glib in his GQ interview where he stated,

People say, “Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?” I’m like, “Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.” So we just wanted to turn it over on its head and make people go, “Women and their bodies are beautiful. Men are always gonna want to follow them around.

2. Tyler, The Creator, “Garbage”

Tyler, The Creator has been making headlines for years now for his misogynistic and homophobic lyrics and public comments. His 2011 album “Goblin” alone used the word “faggot” 213 different times, prompting indie band Tegan and Sarah to create a call for change, requesting for an end to all misogynistic and homophobic ranting in the entertainment industry. His response?

Typical Tyler.

3. Chris Brown, “Ayo”

We all know Chris Brown is a notorious problematic fave. His music is so good and he’s so talented, yet he can’t stop being an overall shitty person. His current hit “Ayo” feat. Tyga will for sure take us into summer 2015 as one of the top jams but there’s something that feels so wrong listening to his music.

4. Iggy Azalea, “Fancy”

Iggy underwent backlash last year when fans realized the Australian rapper’s real accent sounds nothing like the tacky, fake Southern dialect depicted in her songs. Her first album was called “Ignorant Art,” which, let’s be honest, is ridiculously fitting for Azalea. When she released “Fancy” last summer it became one of her biggest hits and remains a top problematic fave.

5. Lana Del Rey, “Ride”

Lana Del Rey has been a problematic fave since “Video Games” rolled out in summer of 2011 when the singer blew up on the indie scene, citing herself as a “gangsta Nancy Sinatra.” A quick look into her history revealed nearly everything about the singer from her name to her backstory is as fake as her acrylic nails. Besides the fact she promotes and glorifies self-destruction and domestic violence in her music and image, LDR was called out for hipster racism when she released “Ride” in 2012, a cinematic mini-story directed by Anthony Mandler about a mentally ill prostitute with a heart of gold who adorns a Native American headdress.

6. Katy Perry, “I Kissed A Girl”

I love Katy Perry but when she told Jimmy Kimmel she wanted to “skin Japanese people and wear them like Versace” I was like, uhm babe??? I’ve only been into a handful of KP songs so she doesn’t really rank high on my list of problematic faves but everytime I hear “Dark Horse” I feel a little bit guilty.

7. John Mayer, “Your Body Is A Wonderland”

I personally can’t listen to John Mayer now without wanting to throw up in my mouth a little bit but I remember a time when everyone thought he was ~a m a z i n g~ and every girl was drooling over “Your Body Is A Wonderland.” 10 years later and we all know now the dude is homophobic, racist, and a regular slut-shamer.

Which inappropriate quote from John Mayer is your favorite? I think I’ll go with one from his classic Playboy interview,

What is being black? It’s making the most of your life, not taking a single moment for granted. Taking something that’s seen as a struggle and making it work for you, or you’ll die inside. Not to say that my struggle is like the collective struggle of black America. But maybe my struggle is similar to one black dude’s.

Ahh, yes, so dreamy.

8. Miley Cyrus, “We Can’t Stop”

Miley is trying so hard to shed her “Hannah Montana” image and part of that process seems to be regularly culturally appropriating black culture throughout her music videos and performances. Miley’s been a problematic fave since “We Can’t Stop” became a hit a couple of summers ago and continues as long as she’s twerking in unicorn costumes or using black people as accessories.

9. Ariana Grande, “One Last Time”

Our very own pop star with a case of the Benjamin Buttons, Ariana Grande, got caught victim blaming last year when she claimed during a fake nude pic leak the pics weren’t hers because she “doesn’t take pics like that.” More recently the ponytail wielding adult baby was caught in a plagiarism scandal regarding her video for “One Last Time” when an Australian group SAFIA called her out for lifting their video concept. I personally haven’t been able to get into her music but it seems like the singer is inescapable right now.

10. Childish Gambino, “Kids”

Misogyny in rap music isn’t anything new but it’s confusing when it comes from a dude who acts like he’s so different from the status quo in hip hop. I’m a big fan of Childish Gambino, even though almost anytime he opens his mouth he says something stupid.  In “Kids” he comes off as the stereotypical needy, whiny nice guy and in his other songs he talks about women as though they’re nothing more than status symbols.

Which problematic fave are you obsessed with right now?