Just as it became the most streamed song of all time, Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) announced that the super viral Spanish hit 'Despacito' will no longer be aired on its TV and radio stations because of its sexually-charged lyrics
Originally sung by Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi and rapper Daddy Yankee, 'Despacito' (Spanish for "slowly") became a worldwide phenomenon after a remix featuring Justin Bieber was released in April 2017. As its title suggests, the lyrics of the song alludes to a sexual relationship, performed in a smooth and romantic way.
At the time of writing, Malaysia is the only country to have taken the song off air from selected TV and radio stations.
By that logic, almost every pop song - both new and classic - should be subjected to the same kind of censorship, as many contain sexual references in some way or other. For example:
1. 'Side to Side' - Ariana Grande feat. Nicki Minaj
Key lyrics: "I've been here all night / I've been here all day / And boy, got me walkin' side to side" and "Wrist icicle / Ride d--k / Bicycle".
What it's not about: Riding a bike.
What's it's REALLY about: Walking funny after all night and all day of another kind of "riding".
2. '2 Become 1' - Spice Girls
Key lyrics: "Be a little bit wiser baby / Put it on, put it on / Cause tonight is the night when two become one"
What it's not about: Putting on a coat because it's cold outside.
What it's REALLY about: Putting on condoms (yay for safe sex!). Come to think of it, the entire song is literally about making love. We were just too young to know it at the time. :p
3. 'Shape of You' - Ed Sheeran
Key lyrics: "I'm in love with your body / And last night you were in my room / And now my bedsheets smell like you"
What it's about: Meeting a girl at a bar and developing a relationship.
What's it's ALSO about: Unlike most of his songs, 'Shape of You' focuses mostly on the sexual attraction between a man and a woman instead of the emotional part of a relationship.
4. 'Whistle' - Flo Rida
Key lyrics: "You just put your lips together / And you come real close / Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby"
What it's not about: Whistling.
What it's REALLY about: Giving a blowjob.
5. 'Closer' - Chainsmokers feat. Halsey
Key lyric(s): "And four years, no calls / Now you're lookin' pretty in a hotel bar / And I-I-I can't stop / No, I-I-I can't stop / So, baby, pull me closer / In the backseat of your Rover"
What it's not about: Cuddling with your partner in the backseat of their Rover.
What's it's REALLY about: Hooking up with an ex in the backseat of their Rover, and then remembering the reasons why y'all broke up in the first place.
6. 'Locked Out of Heaven' - Bruno Mars
Key lyrics: "Cause your sex takes me to paradise" and "You bring me to my knees, you make me testify / You can make a sinner change his ways". The words "sex" and "sinner" are censored when the song is played on Malaysian radio stations.
What it's not about: Heaven, a religious concept.
What it's REALLY about: Heaven, a metaphor for really good sex.
Notable mentions: 'That's What I Like' ("Sex by the fire at night / Silk sheets and diamonds all white / Lucky for you, that's what I like"), 'Versace on the Floor' ("Oooh I love that dress / But you won't need it anymore"), 'Gorilla' ("You and me, baby, making love like gorillas").
7. 'Love Myself' - Hailee Steinfeld
Key lyrics: "I'm gonna put my body first / And love me so hard 'til it hurts" and "I'm gonna touch the pain away / I know how to scream my own name".
What it's kind of about: Taking care of and indulging yourself, whether it's emotionally, physically, or by buying yourself nice things.
What it's ALSO about: "Self-service" = Masturbation.
8. 'Barbie Girl' - Aqua
Key lyrics: "Kiss me here, touch me there, hanky panky", "Make me walk, make me talk, do whatever you please / I can act like a star, I can beg on my knees"... and just about every verse in the song tbh.
What it's not about: Playing with Barbie dolls.
What it's REALLY about: A subject matter every kid had no business singing about in the '90s. Fun fact - Mattel actually sued the group and their record label for referring to Barbie as a sex object in the song.
9. 'Cake By The Ocean' - DNCE
Key lyrics: I’m going blind from this sweet sweet craving, whoa-oh / Let's lose our minds and go f---ing crazy / Ah ya ya ya ya I keep on hoping / We'll eat cake by the ocean"
What it's not about: Eating cake by the ocean.
What it's REALLY about: Apparently, the song's Swedish producers kept confusing the phrase "sex on the beach" for "cake by the ocean". Nick Jonas - brother of DNCE frontman Joe Jonas - also confirmed that the song is about sex.
10. 'Macarena' - Los del Río
Key lyrics: "Now don't you worry about my boyfriend / The boy whose name is Vitorino" and "Now come on, what was I supposed to do? / He was out of town and his two friends were so fine".
What it's not about: Funky dance moves that everyone learnt in kindergarten.
What it's REALLY about: A girl named Macarena who cheated on her boyfriend with his two friends. At the same time.
11. 'Marvin Gaye' - Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor
Key lyrics: Let's Marvin Gaye and get it on / You got the healing that I want / Just like they say it in the song / Until the dawn, let's Marvin Gaye and get it on"
What it's not about: The iconic soul singer Marvin Gaye.
What it's REALLY about: The iconic soul singer Marvin Gaye's equally iconic song, 'Sexual Healing'. Plus, the music video ends with a prom-wide orgy, so...
12. 'Milkshake' - Kelis
Key lyrics: "My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard / And they're like, it's better than yours"
What it's not about: A truly fantastic recipe for the world's most delicious milkshake.
What it's REALLY about: A certain "female quality" that makes women irresistible to men.
13. 'Work From Home' - Fifth Harmony
Key lyrics: You don't gotta go to work, work, work, work, work, work, work / Let my body do the work, work, work, work, work, work, work / We can work from home, oh, oh, oh-oh
What it's not about: Actual working from home.
What it's REALLY about: Convincing your SO to skip work to stay home and... "work". ;)
14. '3' - Britney Spears
Key lyrics: "1, 2, 3 / Not only you and me / Got one eighty degrees, and I'm caught in between / Counting, 1, 2, 3 / Peter, Paul and Mary / Getting down with 3P / Everybody loves counting".
What it's not about: Counting.
What it's REALLY about: A threesome. Specifically, involving two men and a woman.
15. 'Cool for the Summer' - Demi Lovato
Key lyrics: "Got my mind on your body and your body on my mind / Got a taste for the cherry, I just need to take a bite"
What it's not about: Being hyped for summer (LOL).
What it's REALLY about: Sexually experimenting with a female lover in a summer fling. Kinda like Katy Perry's 'I Kissed a Girl'.
16. 'Genie In A Bottle' - Christina Aguilera
Key lyrics: "If you wanna be with me, baby there's a price to pay / I'm a genie in a bottle, you gotta rub me the right way"
What it's not about: Genies in bottles. Or lamps.
What it's REALLY about: Teenage sexual awakening, with sexual references in the song used to portray self-respect and, in Aguilera's own words, "not giving in to temptation until you're respected".
17. 'Bang Bang' - Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj
Key lyrics: "Bang bang into the room (I know you want it) / Bang bang all over you (I’ll let you have it)"
What it's not about: Gunshots.
What it's REALLY about: Female empowerment and women owning their sexuality. Also, "bang" is slang for having sex with someone.
18. 'Rude Boy' - Rihanna
Key lyrics: "Come here, rude boy, boy; can you get it up? / Come here rude boy, boy; is you big enough?"
What it's not about: Literal rude boys.
What it's REALLY about: How Rihanna likes her men in bed and... d--ks?
19. 'This Love' - Maroon 5
Key lyrics: "I tried my best to feed her appetite / Keep her coming every night".
What it's about: The vicious cycle of an on-again, off-again relationship.
What it's ALSO about: Sex playing a big part in the couple getting back together over and over again.
20. 'Lovegame' - Lady Gaga
Key lyrics: "Let's have some fun, this beat is sick / I wanna take a ride on your disco stick"
What it's about: A game of love with someone the singer may have fallen in love/lust with.
What it's ALSO about: "Disco stick" = a fancy metaphor for penis.
Okay, now please don't hate me if they do end up being taken off air. :p
On a more serious note, do you think the government should be policing the public's consumption of pop culture? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.