Q

Composer Nicole Lizée takes aim at PMRC's 'Filthy 15' list of offensive songs

Lizée discusses her latest work, The Filthy Fifteen, which explores music censorship and the list of "offensive songs" the PMRC published in the mid-1980s.
Juno-nominated composer Nicole Lizée discusses her latest work, The Filthy Fifteen, which explores music censorship and the list of "offensive songs" the PMRC published in the mid-80s. (Murray Lightburn)

At one point in time in the mid-1980s, Madonna's song Dress You Up was considered one of the most offensive songs on the planet. That's when the Parents Music Resource Center added it to their "Filthy 15" list.

The PMRC was a committee led by wives of U.S. politicians, including former second lady Mary "Tipper" Gore and Susan Baker, wife of Treasury Secretary James Baker. The group was also behind the "Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics" warnings on potentially offensive records.

One of their first orders of business was drafting a list of songs that they felt were unsuitable for young people to hear, the so-called Filthy 15. Along with Madonna, that list included Prince, Cyndi Lauper and a lot of heavy metal. This angered many young music fans, including a pre-teen metal head from Saskatchewan, named Nicole Lizée. She grew up to become a world-renowned contemporary composer.

Now, Lizée is getting her revenge on the PMRC. She just premiered her latest musical work called The Filthy Fifteen​, which takes aim at the PMRC and their attempt at censorship. Lizée joined Tom Power from a studio in Montreal to walk through some of this new music she's made and the "offensive" songs she's refused to let go of from 30 years ago.

Produced by Ben Edwards

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now