Johnny cash says F..K You

Risqué lyrics in music 300 years Old

Published by on: 17-11-2022

Thinking we were discussing something  relatively new in music, we learn the topic goes back 287 years.


It occurs to me as we sit around here at Bridge Radio discussing what songs we like from the new releases, which ones we should put into heavy rotation, and which of those currently in heavy rotation should come out that the same conversation starts up. Which version should we play? Like many stations, we use music pools to complement the releases we get sent by the labels. In these record pools, we are given a choice of which version we wish to use. The uncensored version – quaintly referred to as the ‘dirty” version- reminds me of school children giggling because they have learned a new swear word. Then there is the radio edit, the extended version, and finally, the short edit version, which are all self-explanatory. Some songs are so ridiculous when comparing the censored and the uncensored versions that they may as well be different songs entirely, which is somewhat the point of our discussion, which evolves into how much is too much?

The debate around explicit lyrics or the gentile parental advisory warnings is supposed to be there to warn the audience that what follows some may find uncomfortable or offensive. But which version is the actual song? As I write this, I am listening to a song that is, in my opinion, overly descriptive of how good the singer’s girlfriend is at oral sex. The song details how and where the sensations he feels are the most exquisite. Now it is true that men and women discuss such things. However, this is usually done in the company of good friends who can be trusted to keep such comments to themselves and, perhaps most importantly, not judge the person regaling them with their latest adventure, which, if my explorations are any judge, are only 50% true at a maximum. So desperate were my group of friends not to be outdone or ‘left behind by our peers.’ Is it possible that the lyrics to songs could be similar? It would be naive to believe the lyricist has experienced first-hand everything they are writing about. After all, few people have been to space, but that doesn’t stop artists from composing songs about being an astronaut.


“If the lyrics were about extolling the views of the Third Reich and how they were just misunderstood, we would turn it off within a matter of seconds.”


Before I get completely off topic, let’s come back to the music I’m currently listening to – personally I find it is too descriptive and too much to hoist onto our listening audience – but haven’t we warned them already? If so, who are we to judge what the audience is upset by? If the lyrics were about extolling the views of the Third Reich and how they were just misunderstood, we would turn it off within a matter of seconds. But swearing, well, some people do find it highly offensive – absolutely, but yet don’t they have the choice not to listen, and this is where we return to our original topic.

We decided to allow uncensored versions to play on-air provided the station carried an explicit warning, which, as you can see here, it does.  

Johnny cash says F..K You

The results were interesting – we witnessed our audience share drop and drop quickly too. We had to think about the knock-on effect for the business and were contemplating returning to standard practice. However, something else even more interesting happened. We began to listen to more songs, much more carefully, and we began to listen to a broader selection of songs.


“If programme schedulers are honest, they will tell you that often a song either grab’s them in the first few seconds or not, and if it doesn’t, it is skipped over, and it’s on to the next song”.


Now though, we had to carefully listen to all the lyrics and compare the different versions. The side effect of this was a realisation that our Hot Hits 100 station, which is loosely based around the pop/mainstream Hot 100 (and if we are feeling completely honest, what’s in the top 20 plus those songs newly released from mainstream artists), hardly changes at all, week after week.

Using our new selection method of listening all the way through to clarify the lyrics, we added a record of 22 new songs into heavy rotation last week, and we are sitting here about to do something similar. This leaves us with a conundrum – does it do what it says on the tin, as in, does the station play the music it says it does? Well, it doesn’t if we play the uncensored versions, and it doesn’t when we listen to a broader selection of songs and add them in regardless, even if only the uncensored version from the same artist(s) and yet isn’t that what we are supposed to do? – give people what they want to hear because they have heard it before and so often that they have gotten used to it and like it?

I went looking around to see what other people think of our ‘conundrum’ and to summarise, the same problem seemed to come up repeatedly.The ‘problem’ is self-perpetuating and was brought up as part of our discussion. By playing the uncensored version of some of the songs in the Top 40, are we or aren’t we playing the Top 40 and given that we are ‘supposed’ to deliver what it says on the tin, are we doing that? Even more, are we not just contributing to the problem and being like 90% of other stations – as you can imagine, there followed an internal discussion about how we weren’t and, in fact, we were different, and we were different because .. blah, blah, blah. I think you get the point.

The reality is most people want to listen to what they already know,


So on a chart-topping station, they want just that the chart-toppers. Fair enough, the songs must be good because they are at the top of the charts. Step back a bit, though and it becomes pretty obvious that the same artists appear again and again – this is not disrespecting to them, they have worked hard for their success and deserve it. However, the same artists keep cropping up. Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, and Eminem – just to name a few – some of these artists have been around for decades – again there is absolutely nothing wrong with these artists; they are all very good.

When Radio stations play it safe.


If an artist is known for hits before, then a new release from a big artist will get a lot of attention so the logic follows it will likely do well and so it deserves to be given the appropriate airplay and so it will go into heavy rotation. However, how do we get to know a new song? By repetition. Without it, the formula breaks down. Radio stations are a business, music streaming services are a business and the formula has worked for a long time so why change it? People want to hear what they like so the process becomes self-fulfilling. Perhaps we are getting sidetracked here – except to say how many songs are left out because of the lyrics – the censored version might get played but is it the same song – if it’s one or two words it can be argued it is, however more than that and suddenly there are multiple lines missing from songs.

Back to our discussion about how wonderful we are and how different we are as a station, except that on closer examination, it turns out we were not so different, and this is what led to the most significant realisation of all. How is new music supposed to get a hearing if not exposed to the broadest possible audience, even if that ‘new’ music is the uncensored or ‘real’ version of the song? Besides, hadn’t uncensored versions of songs been around a long time already and led to parental and advisory warnings now so widely used? Feeling justified by our argument, we decided to do some research to find out how far back the issue went.

Zenger courtroom 1735
Opening of trial Crown vs John Peter Zenger 1735

Not only did the research show us that risqué lyrics have been around a long time – nearly 300 years – it is argued, it contributed to the freedom of America from the yoke of colonialism – see the trial of John Peter Zenger,  -who stood accused of printing lyrics to ballads critical of the British colonial governor. Such importance was placed on the case that it has been called


 “the germ of American freedom, the morning star of that liberty which subsequently revolutionized America”

 (McManus 1999:914) source John R. Vile  


This is heady stuff essentially, it “established the concept that truth cannot be libellous.”

In questioning the legitimacy of whether we should play uncensored lyrics or not. Are we actually being truthful by playing the uncensored version of the song (OK, that’s stretching the point somewhat) and if not, are we just contributing to the fact that it is so hard for new talent to break into the music industry – regardless of genre?  And what about streaming services? Yes, some services will advise you on what music you may like, based on what you already listened to which is, arguably, more of the same. Algorithms are built to predict, but doesn’t this lead to cognitive bias? I like what I like so give me more of what I like … isn’t this part of what causes divisions in society, Algorithms predict what we like based on what we have previously viewed and so us more of the same until we get an ‘unfiltered’ stream of just what we like and don’t hear or see any opposing views, which in turn reinforces our own centric views, that we are right and ‘they’ are wrong.


So, where does this leave us?


Right now, we see our audience is returning, and we note that people are listening for longer, the average time spent listening is up over 30%, which is a healthy indicator that we are doing the right thing – whether we are commercially, or not, remains to be seen. Only the audience will decide in the end. It is comforting to know that we are continuing a tradition that goes back 287 years. So, the next time you hear a song on our station and question why would anyone allow such strong language, ask yourself, does it really reflect how people talk? Then give a thought to John Peter Zenger and how his stand ultimately led to the first amendment in the USA.

Ethan Lai


Related News

Girls With Guitars

Join The Underground for a celebration of girl power and music at ‘Girls with Guitars #11 Sisters are doing it for themselves at the eleventh edition of showcase of inspirational women at The Fringe Club on June 3The Underground is proud to present Girls with Guitars #11, an electrifying night of music from four exceptional […]
Published on: 29-05-2023

A True Legend

Tina Turner was a trailblazer Today, the world is mourning the loss of one of the most iconic and influential singers of all time, Tina Turner. The legendary artist passed away at the age of 83, leaving behind a legacy that will continue to inspire and captivate audiences for generations to come. Throughout her career, […]
Published on: 25-05-2023

Hello Murray Music Series a Huge Success

The Murray, Hong Kong is celebrating its five-year anniversary. The “Hello Murray” music series, a partnership between the Musicians Foundation and The Murray, Hong Kong, is  a huge success, with guests enjoying the live entertainment at the beautiful al fresco dining venue, Cotton Tree Terrace.  The Murray, Hong Kong, is celebrating its fifth anniversary, and […]
Published on: 14-04-2023

The Top 10 High-Octane Rock Anthems of the 80s

Bridge Radio’s Top 10 High-Octane Rock Songs of the 80s The 80s were a golden age for high-energy rock music, delivering some of the most iconic and unforgettable songs in the genre. Here is Bridge Radio’s list of the top 10 high-octane rock songs of the decade, counting down from number 10 to number 1. […]
Published on: 13-04-2023

VALORANT Game Changers

You have to watch this.
Published on: 25-03-2023

The Underground turns 19

Over 600 bands have performed at The Undergroun Independent live music organisation The Underground HK will celebrate its 19th anniversary supporting original music on April 22, with performances from an eclectic range of Hong Kong’s finest bands. The Underground, which held its first event on April 22, 2004, has since gone on to spotlight 600+ […]
Published on: 22-03-2023

Martin Garrix & JVKE HERO REMIX

Martin Garrix releases two remixes. Both remixes are packed with energetic beats and mesmerizing sounds, adding a fresh twist to the original track. DubVision’s remix is an uplifting track with soaring melodies and euphoric drops. On the other hand, Space Ducks’ remix is a bass-heavy, hard-hitting rendition that takes listeners on a dark and ominous […]
Published on: 10-03-2023

Peach Perfect

It’s about the importance of staying true to yourself
Published on: 10-02-2023

Miley Goes Global

Miley Cyrus is “endlessly thankful” to fans as ‘Flowers’ reigns as the global number-one single for a second week running. Miley has seen a chart resurgence worldwide since the release of her single – which appears to be a veiled swipe at ex-husband Liam Hemsworth, and the ‘Malibu’ singer is loving seeing the song connect […]
Published on: 01-02-2023

“It’s my Journey”- Lola Young

“It’s my journey towards being a woman and figuring out who I am,”.
Published on: 27-01-2023

It’s all but a hymn

“The world revolves around me as I lay in my bed “, Sam Smith Gloria.   The Choir is magnificent on Gloria, and all credit to Sam for their idea to create such a song. They keep coming up with new sounds and new ways to let lose the fighter inside them that is Gloria. […]
Published on: 25-01-2023

It’s offical !

Except it isn’t Wouldn’t it be great if it were true that Sam Smith and Adele are in fact the same person? But wait, they have never been seen together, they never appear at the same events, and they’re Both British Music Icons ( with capital letters and everything). It must be true, except, well, […]
Published on: 24-01-2023

Miley & Flowers ?

And do we care … There is rampant speculation about Flowers and whether it is a message to her ex-husband Liam Hemsworth. Given it was released on his birthday, maybe it is, or masterful P.R. for the song  – not that Cyrus needs to garner attention for anything she does. The Lyrics would hint strongly […]
Published on: 14-01-2023

The Underground Salutes

Take a dazzling trip up and down the fretboard as The Underground salutes all things ROCK! The 2023 edition of Underground Rocks will showcase four Hong Kong bands who will take the audience on an epic and exciting rock ‘n’ roll road trip. Kicking off the show is Whitt’s End, a pop-punk trio, performing high-energy […]
Published on: 04-01-2023

Top 10 Albums of 2022

10. ‘SOS’ (SZA)  After a five-year absence, Dec. 9 marked SZA’s long-awaited return to music with her sophomore project “SOS.” Featuring a whopping 23 tracks, “SOS” is as expansive as it is experimental. Unlike the strictly alt-RnB nature of her critically-acclaimed debut project “Ctrl” — which featured chart-topping classicslike “Drew Barrymore,” “The Weekend,” and “Broken […]
Published on: 31-12-2022

Lizzo responds to critics

‘I feel like y’all don’t understand me, y’all don’t know where I came from…’ In a recent interview, Lizzo stated her music is for everyone and that the colour of your Skin doesn’t matter.   The singer went on to discuss what she see’s as an inherent problem in the world of Pop music and […]
Published on: 14-12-2022

Coming to America

OnlyOneOf unveil dates for 2023 Grand America Tour OnlyOneOf announced  the dates and cities for their impending US tour set to kick off in New Jersey March 2023. Following this  the group will be performing in Chicago on April 2, Minneapolis on April 4, Atlanta on April 6, Dallas on April 7, San Juan on April […]
Published on: 14-12-2022

Martin Garrix & JBL Music Academy (powered by STMPD RCRDS & Studios) has launched a 3-day programme to provide upcoming talent a stage and support on their way to success. This is an opportunity for 40 talented musicians, songwriters, vocalists and producers from across the globe to learn from music industry experts. Designed to take […]
Published on: 07-12-2022

The Three Wise Men

The three wise men of EDM, R3HAB, W&W and Timmy Trumpet, so technically speaking four wise men, but att this time of year why split hairs. Have joined together , again, and the result is the new release “Poison” “Working with my brothers from another mother is always an amazing experience in the studio! This […]
Published on: 06-12-2022

New Hip Hop Show

Introducing our new daily Hip Hop Mix on the Hot 100 We take the best tracks and line them up for you. Artists like YG, Tyga, Jake & Papa, Glorilla, Cardi B, Freddy Gibbs and more. Every weekday at 8 pm on the West Coast and 11 pm on the East Coast. Start Listening Here.
Published on: 01-12-2022


Willow shows, once again, she has what it takes, playing alongside Rock giants Smashing Pumpkins. On stage Billy Corgan (guitarist for Smashing Pumpkins) and Willow bridge the gap between Alt Rock God and rising Rock Star at the final night of the bands “Spirits on Frie Tour ” at the Hollywood Bowl.Smashing Pumpkins were one […]
Published on: 22-11-2022

Anson Lo Fans React

Fans love for Anson’s Voice Anson Lo of Mirror fame has released a new single recently that is quite different from his typical style. While Mirror is known for high Energy, they’re also no strangers to slower songs. However – what fans are reacting to here is the quality of Anson’s voice and how well […]
Published on: 18-11-2022

Can you Tell The Difference?

Rap or Pop? You decide
Published on: 18-11-2022

Missing Nicki

Nicki MInaj has been shut out of the Grammy Awards for 2023
Published on: 18-11-2022

Janette Slack

Today we learned the heartbreaking news that our friend Janette Slack passed away on Sunday, November 13. Whenever we met Janette, she was always bubbly and bright, and her infectious smile was impossible to resist. Many tributes appearing now in media across the industry and from her close friends will no doubt mention her sheer […]
Published on: 16-11-2022


In the last seven years, Zpecial has improved by leaps and bounds and is now signed to a major label.
Published on: 09-11-2022

Remix better than the original?

Sometimes the  Remix brings something much-needed.     Lift me Up by Rhianna. The original version needed something that the Remix helps provide – a direction. The original is an emotional song that never seems to go anywhere. Of course, you may disagree with us completely, which is a good thing – what would the […]
Published on: 05-11-2022

 Do I look like your mommy?

New releases by (G) I-DLE , Dreamcatcher and ITZY , Pictured below from  left to right, give us three indications of where K-Pop is headed “Do I look like your mommy’ from ITZY’s new song “Boys like you” indicates that something is happening in K-Pop. ITZY’s song Boys like you is their first all-English language. […]
Published on: 28-10-2022

Top 10 Britpop songs

Remember when it was ‘Cool Britannia’ ? Let us remind you when Britpop ruled music.
Published on: 25-10-2022

“Fun, excited and sexy”

Between a day job at a flower shop, her dance videos gained traction as TaiAysha built an audience of hundreds of thousands on Instagram. Producer and Icon Music Group founder Steve Morales who’s worked with a wide range of artists such as Beyoncé, Lil Wayne, Eminem, Christina Aguilera and Celine Dion. Morales recognised something in […]
Published on: 23-10-2022

Pretty Girls Walk

Big Boss Vette, whose previous hit “Snatched took over TikTok, delivers an instantly catchy song, opening with the lines. “No matter what the f..k these hoes talking’ ’bout Just you know you a bad bitch”.
Published on: 20-10-2022


On 22nd October 2022, we will be conducting an afternoon of TedX-style talks focusing on raising awareness on performers and mental health.
Published on: 19-10-2022

Blink 182 Tour dates and new release

Blink 182 reunion. For the first time in almost ten years, blink-182 has released a new track with formerly estranged singer and guitarist Tom DeLonge. The original lineup of  Mark Hoppus on bass, Travis Barker on drums and DeLonge, on guitar,  haven’t worked together since the Dogs Eating Dogs EP was released in 2012. The […]
Published on: 17-10-2022

When I see you

Willow Rocks out on Saturday Night Live with a raucous song about the pain of Love
Published on: 11-10-2022

The best Chinese songs of 2022 so far

We choose the best songs released in 2022
Published on: 07-10-2022

Man Who Laughs

I am a massive fan of the Piano accompanied by a unique voice.   This is highly likely influenced by the fact I play the piano, and I am not blessed with a voice to match. However, my own bias to one side, when I hear a song start with just notes on a piano, I know […]
Published on: 24-08-2022

Goodbye Sandy

Goodbye Sandy, In 1978 Grease exploded onto popular culture and turned musicals into things that were cool to watch and be a part of. Although initially reluctant to take the role, Olivia Newton-John was a perfect choice. As has been written about her again and again, she personified summer and brought warmth into people’s lives. […]
Published on: 09-08-2022

Dire Straits Unfairly Blamed

80s Rock Band Dire Straits Blamed for Demise of Music OK, that’s unfair and a blatant crack at Video’s effect on the then music scene, some would say – but it depends upon your point of view. MTV Europe was launched on August 1st 1987, with the very first song played being, in fact, Money […]
Published on: 01-08-2022

New Jeans: All about kpop’s latest rookie girl group

Kpop rookie girl group New Jeans, set to officially debut in early August, has recently dropped music videos to three of their four debut tracks on Youtube. The five-member group under ADOR- a subsidiary label branched from HYBE (Home to global sensation BTS), has been at hot issue in the Kpop industry even before their […]
Published on: 26-07-2022

We want one of these

Check this out for a unique Gaming experience.
Published on: 20-07-2022

It’s all about the Ice Cream

It’s summer, and as things do, our thoughts turned to Ice Cream and it being the subject of discussion; one of the team in the Studio said who can name ten songs about Ice Cream. Did you know there were 10 Songs about Ice cream? No? Neither did we, but there are! OK, so w […]
Published on: 15-07-2022

Legends Combine for One-off Performance

Hollywood hearth throbs and Rock Royalty create magic. With a  creative effort that must have taken massive amounts of patience, editing, going back and re-editing and painstakingly matching frames and sourcing content. RetroVideo has combined Hollywood Heartthrobs Rita Hayworth & Fred Astaire with Led Zeppelin’s Anthem track Rock’n’Roll into something that’s a joy to watch. […]
Published on: 08-07-2022

Love life and Music

Published on: 01-06-2022

Love life and Gabriella

Published on: 17-05-2022

[Exclusive Interview] Mondo Grosso

Since forming in Kyoto in the 1990s as an acid-jazz band and later becoming the solo project of Japan’s leading DJ/produce,r Shinichi Osawa, better known by his stage name Mondo Grosso, is almost a cult-like existence for some of his fans with his innovative music style. We had the privileged to ask him a few […]
Published on: 26-04-2022

Joyce Cheng – BBBB: Big Boobs Bubble Butt

The queen is back! And in true queen fashion, Joyce brings us- reminiscent of Todrick Hall’s TikTok queen coronation-theme of choice, “Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels”, a new single named “Big Boobs Bubble Butt”. All of which we know she possesses. Feminist topics are no strange venture for queen Joyce, from her hit ballad “女神” (Literal translation: Goddess) […]
Published on: 31-03-2022

[Exclusive Interview] Nicky Jam

One of the most prolific artists in reggaeton and Latin trap, Nicky Jam is a charting, award-winning singer and songwriter who has collaborated with a long list of performers, including superstars such as Daddy Yankee, Farruko, J Balvin, and dozens of others. Upon the release of his newest single “Ojos Rojos”, we got an oppurunity […]
Published on: 16-02-2022

Best Game Soundtracks To Relax To

In an era where almost everyone is a gamer, the amount of effort games put into having a good soundtrack can almost justify “gaming sountrack” as whole new music genre. Minecraft, Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing are a few games with famous soundtracks, but we want to shine a light on newer games with soundtracks that […]
Published on: 11-02-2022

[Exclusive Interview] Ultra Nate- Supernatural

Ultra Naté is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, DJ and promoter who has achieved success on the pop charts with songs such as “Free”, “If You Could Read My Mind” (as part of Stars on 54), and “Automatic”. Virtually all of her singles have reached the Top 10 of the US Hot Dance Club […]
Published on: 07-02-2022

Tiesto and Ava Max – The Motto

EDM star Tiësto has teamed up with pop singer Ava Max for the new single “The Motto.” ‘The Motto’ by Tiesto is a party anthem that will guarantee to help you dance into 2022!” Ava Max adds, “When Tiësto shared this record with me, I fell in love and couldn’t stop playing it. ‘The Motto’ […]
Published on: 06-01-2022

Jake $ing debut EP《Ups & Downs》

Shanghai-born, 626-raised emerging pop artist JAKE $ING, who signed to Sony Music in just a year after his debut, continues to position himself as a new voice for Asian-American Gen Z with the release of his very first EP “ups & downs”. “ups & downs” follows the success of his three most recent previous singles, […]
Published on: 04-01-2022

BamBam- Who Are You (Feat. Seulgi of Red Velvet)

Ever since the group left their own management JYPE, GOT7’s Thai member BamBam has been working diligently as a solo artist, even releasing riBBon- his first solo mini album, earlier this year. BamBam recently excited fans of both fandoms by releasing a collaboration with Seulgi, a member of SM’s powerhouse girl group Red Velvet. The […]
Published on: 30-12-2021

JEON SOMI (전소미) – ‘Anymore’

Released as a holiday gift for fans, the Canadian-Dutch-Korean Kpop Idol JEON SOMI recently released a new music video for ‘Anymore’, a B-side and also her first full English single from the album ‘XOXO’. Often portrayed as the girl next door, this new solo track is  bound to be a slam dunk success Now based […]
Published on: 29-12-2021

Chillin Jazz Fest 2021 Takes place at Hong Kong Gold Coast

A celebration of jazz, the first Chillin Jazz Fest 2021 successfully took place at Gold Coast Piazza in Hong Kong on November 13 and 14, 2021, attracting over 1,000 music fans who enjoyed a wide range of jazz performances by established bands across two stages. Organised by Musicians Foundation and Hong Kong Gold Coast, the […]
Published on: 02-12-2021

Twice- The Feels

Kpop mega girl group Twice English Debut “The Feels” Kpop has been taking the world over by storm since over a decade ago, with the western market slowly normalising “K” pop stars to just plain world wide pop stars.JYP’s girl group Twice is certainly not an unknown name to anyone who takes interest in […]
Published on: 05-10-2021

keshi- beside you

keshi (born casey luong) found his muse at age 12 from his grandfather, who possessed a “fat classical guitar” and a music book in vietnamese. he taught himself to play and developed a deep passion for music, “sitting in front of the computer for hours on end every day and soaking it all up.” influences ranged from […]
Published on: 05-10-2021

Exclusive Interview with JP Saxe

Published on: 05-10-2021

Billie Eilish Starts new musical era with “Lost Cause”

Billie Ellish’s latest single Lost Cause released on June 2, 2021, produced by Billie Eilish and her brother- singer/ prodcuer FINNEAS.   Known as the icon gen Z “bad girl”, Billie’s unruliness can not only be seen with her fashion sense, but also the style of her music. Her music breaks down the borders of […]
Published on: 04-10-2021

Audrey Nuna heals your soul with latest release “Space “

While people of this day and age might be craving closeness and intimacy,  new R&B singer Audrey Nuna begs for more space. From her debut album “ a liquid breakfast “ the latest release “ Space” sings out her need of “ I just need some space .” Being part of the first generation of Asian […]
Published on: 04-10-2021