Louis Tomlinson and Bebe Rexha released their track ‘Back To You’ in late July, and since Louis’s solo music writing isn’t constricted in the same way it was for One Direction, the song included a few choice F bombs. The chorus goes:
Whoa, you stress me out, you kill me
You drag me down, you fuck me up
We’re on the ground, we’re screaming
I don’t know how to make it stop
I love it, I hate it, and I can’t take it
But I keep on coming back to you
The Federal Communications Commission, of course, doesn’t allow for profanity like that on the radio (Eminem sang “The FCC won’t let me be” for a reason). In many instances today, radio edits of songs simply cut out the swear words rather than inserting an unpleasant beeping sound over them, but in some cases, they change the lyrics altogether.
Artists can choose to record their own “clean” versions of songs, like Britney Spears releasing a version of her track ‘Work Bitch’ with the lyrics changed from “You better work bitch” to “You better work work”. (Doesn’t quite have the same effect, though, does it?)
In Louis’s case, it sounds like he recorded a clean version of ‘Back To You’ but never intended for it to be played on the radio; he only wanted the F words blanked out. Louis first discovered the clean version (which changed “You fuck me up” to “You mess me up”) was on the airwaves when fans on Twitter tweeted him about it.
who played that ? capital ? It should just be blanked out !
— Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson) August 26, 2017
When another fan tweeted at him that “mess me up” sounds better, Louis immediately shot back, “no it doesn’t its not cool to change the lyric . Changes the severity. It’s supposed to feel a little intense.”
I just won't record the lyric change next time 😝
— Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson) August 27, 2017
“Radio Disney won’t play it without nice clean language,” Louis later tweeted when yet another version surfaced on Twitter with the lyric changed, this time to “You make me up”—which is pretty much the opposite of the real lyric and not even one Louis himself recorded.
I get that some radios need to blank it but making up new lyrics is daft 🖕
— Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson) September 2, 2017
A Louis Tomlinson update account on Twitter, @KingLWTPromo, did some intensive digging and let Louis know that “most radios play BOTH the clean and the original version.” The account added, “Most just choose to play the clean version in hours where kids are most likely to be listening – but play the original the rest of the day!”
To which Louis replied, “this isn’t the debate it should just be blanked out as the clean version.”
Louis later cleared the air, tweeting that he meant no offense toward Radio Disney. “to be fair just wanna clear this up ! None of my tweets were aimed at Disney! I get why they need the clean version. Just don’t like people changing it . All the love to Disney.”
So what can fans do to help Louis? Rather than going after radio stations with torches and pitchforks, just make sure you sing the correct lyrics as loud as you can when Louis goes on tour next year.
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