I Hate the Song “Rude” and You Should, Too

I despise this song.

Originally, I thought my reaction was visceral, based in the fact that the song is played 4,000 times an hour. I sometimes have a contrarian’s view that rejects certain popular concepts, simply because they’re popular, so this seemed likely at first.

Maybe it’s the singer, Nasri Atweh’s, whiny cadence and squeaky intonation. A quick Wikipedia perusal tells me the band Magic! is “canadian reggae fusion.” I don’t support a single descriptor between those quotes, so that’s definitely part of it.

When I first heard the song, I thought it was kind of catchy and listened to it without really listening. The more I began to hate it the more I paid attention to the lyrics. Backwards, I know. Once I honed in on exactly what the song is saying, that’s when I realized I hated the song. The “meaning” is actually my top reason for hating it.

If, by some miracle, you have escaped listening to “Rude” by Magic! the song has a pretty simple story. A guy is going to ask his girlfriend’s father for permission to marry her and the father says “no.” Pretty straightforward. It’s also not a new concept. Quite a bit of music is about people telling other people they can’t do something and then the people who have been told that express their strong opinions about having been told that (see: Pat Benatar). I get it.

Read these lyrics (or, if you dare, listen to the song) and I will tell you why it makes my blood boil. Hopefully, you’ll get it before I say anything:

Can I have your daughter for the rest of my life?
Say yes, say yes ’cause I need to know
You say I’ll never get your blessing ’til the day I die
Tough luck, my friend, but the answer is ‘No’

Why you gotta be so rude?
Don’t you know I’m human too?
Why you gotta be so rude?
I’m gonna marry her anyway

Marry that girl
Marry her anyway
Marry that girl
Yeah, no matter what you say
Marry that girl
And we’ll be a family
Why you gotta be so

I skipped over the very first lyrics because they don’t bear on my annoyance as much, although in them the guy explains how he “got out of bed” and put on a suit (his “best” one, apparently) to head over to this poor dad’s house. No shower? No deodorant? I’m probably being overly judgmental now.

No, my real problem is that the core concept of the song is endemic of 2014 culture. This guy acknowledges that his girlfriend’s father is “an old fashioned man” who would like to be asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage and, indeed, asks. But when the dad says “no,” his response isn’t “I’m going to prove to you that I’m the guy” or “we deserve to be together.” No, it’s “Why you gotta be so rude?” Essentially, I asked you for permission to do something, you said “no,” and so you’re being rude to me. What? Why did you even ask if the only answer you would accept is “yes?”

This is such a quintessentially 2014 kind of theme and I really hate how this is where our culture is heading. If people say things that we don’t like, it’s “rude” or “offensive” when, in fact, it may not be either of those things (Time Magazine actually has a funny piece about how the father’s reaction doesn’t, definitionally, qualify as “rude”)– but we don’t like it, so we mis-characterize it and label it like some attack upon us personally.

Then, later he says he’s “…gonna marry her anyway…no matter what [dad says]…” I actually don’t have a problem with that concept in of itself. It is 2014 and I generally think that once someone is 18 and living his or her own life, they’re responsible to make decisions regarding who to marry and not marry. But it goes back to the idea that this guy did seek out his girlfriend’s father because he recognized it was something the dad would want and when he gets an answer he doesn’t like, he declares it “rude” and, like a whiny bitch, says “I’m gonna marry her anyway.”

There are plenty of songs about people being told they can’t do something where the singer simply flouts the rules or ignores authority. I have no problem with them. I rather like quite a few of them, like this one. But everything about “Rude” grates on me from the whiny singer’s voice, to the insolent message, and, yes, the incessant overplaying on the radio.

Please join me in hating it because misery loves company. Thank you.

Return to your daily lives and hope you only hear “Rude” three times on the way home from work.

Editor’s Note: I intentionally did not link to the song because I don’t want to foist it upon anyone else or support the musicians that wrote/performed it. Petty? Yes, but I’ve made it quite clear that I hate the song, so don’t be surprised.