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Holy Fuck - not as controversial as they try to sound
Leave it to the hype machine that dictates music trends to take the fun out of obscenities. It was kind of scandalous when Holy Fuck made it big and all of a sudden mainstream(ish) media had to start printing the word “Fuck” on their covers and headlines. Of course, now there’s an onslaught of bands with the word fuck in their name. Is it for shock value? I hope not, because it’s given literal meaning to the phrase “boring as fuck”.

Band naming trends have always been a weird phenomenon. There was a small influx of World War I inspired band names a few years back (Kaiser Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand, British Sea Power), later came the wolves (Wolf Parade, Wolf Eyes, Sea Wolf) and more recently, Crystal Stilts, Crystal Castles, Twin Crystals, and Crystal Antlers are all becoming popular in their own niches at the same time. So why haven’t I griped about this before? Actually I have – but it’s hard to pin down exactly what causes these sudden moniker similarities. However, what I will refer to as “the Fuck Phenomenon” distinguishes itself because of its deliberate nature. Basically, it seems like a really conscious choice to call your band Holy Fuck, Fuck the Facts, Fucked Up, Fuck Buttons, or Starfucker. Contrary to the first impression the names might give, only 2 of those bands are remotely hard core, 2 make great electro music, and Starfucker is basically an indie pop band. And these are just a few “fuck” bands that I am personally familiar with.

Because of the time it takes for society to normalize things that were once shocking there are relatively few groups that dared include the word fuck in their band name before the new millenium – the most notable of which was a surprisingly lovely sounding indie rock band signed to Matador in the late 1990’s by the name of, well, Fuck. In the later 90’s and early 00’s, Eminem cleared the way for really explicit content to become mainstream (though Eazy-E and NWA in the 80s were far dirtier – if you don’t believe me just listen to “Gimme That Nutt”). While Eazy-E’s ballsy, filthy songs still make you feel like you should be listening to them on headphones, there are now so many bands called Fuck this or that, that it’s become boring and completely unoriginal.

It’s true that fuck has been working its way off of George Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words” list for a long time now. However, my issue is with the long list of bands that have suddenly become popular but whose names sound totally derivative of each other. If you want a shocking band name that’s fine – just remember that the shock value of any one word wears off pretty quickly with overuse, while the far more creative “Circle Jerks” will continue to sound like a clever name for years to come.
Comments

Alamir

Alamir

2008-10-28 23:39:57

I think Sam was talking to me about this exact same thing the other day.

You know what I still can't get over? It happened right here in Canada too:
Our Lady Peace
I Mother Earth
They both have three words that are so similar: First-Person(s) followed by an Elderly-Female representing a form of unity. Both bands made it big about the same time and had similar styles of music.
It makes me wonder if there's some kind of musical machine putting out band names or if it's just about people asking record dealers for a band like Crystal Castles and not remembering the name so they say "Crystal..something" and end up with Crystal Castles AND Crystal Antlers to listen too. ..Just a childhood theory I had.

NatalieC

NatalieC

2008-10-29 00:05:56

Yeah, I am genuinely curious as to how this comes about. It's really tempting to call it a zeitgeist thing, but, really, what does Crystal have to do with anything?

I hadn't ever thought of the OLP/I mother earth thing before - that's pretty funny.
Also, I wouldn't be entirely surprised if your childhood theory had some truth to it. Although these bands are mostly theoretically 'independent', so who knows?

SAMAEL

SAMAEL

2008-10-29 02:39:56

I like that you spell hardcore as two words. I will say this, aside from Starfuckers (whom i have never heard), all the bands that you've listed with the word Fuck in their name are actually very good.

According to Gene Simmons in the VH1 Television special "When Kiss Ruled the World," Kiss was originally going to name themselves Fuck, however they quickly realized Kiss would be more suitable for the majority of record labels.
REPLIES: Alamir

NatalieC

NatalieC

2008-10-29 02:48:34

If anyone, I think Gene Simmons would have suited a band named Fuck. That Matador band I mentioned seems to have used it... somewhat ironically. Or at least they were trying to juxtapose their music with the first impression they'd give people. (Or maybe the just didn't give a fuck?)

I agree, I like most of the music that they make. Actually, I admittedly can't claim to be a huge fan of the 2 metal bands, but I like the others! I just think that maybe they could use a dictionary...

Alamir

Alamir

2008-10-29 03:55:18

Replying to SAMAEL:
That's interesting because the word kiss is a lot less hardcore than the word "fuck." If anything the word kiss would make me think the band is really sentimental or soft. ..but then again, maybe I don't kiss the way Gene Simmons does. I'd imagine his tongue is quite powerful.

Kastinator

Kastinator

2008-10-29 20:36:50

it's really hard to come up with good band names. i am personally of the opinion that most band names suck. it really does all come down to wanting to stand out but still sound witty. bah.

SAMAEL

SAMAEL

2008-11-16 22:39:09

Would Total Fucking Destructioncount for this Fuck Phenomenon?



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