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Album Review

Critics may have dropped bomberloads of rhetorical ordnance on the movie Suicide Squad, but that hardly kept fans of the antihero franchise away from theaters. Many of them are pairing that gritty cinematic experience with an eclectic musical soundtrack (how often do Creedence Clearwater Revival and Skrillex end up on the same album?) that is in some ways even more problematic than the movie that inspired it.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

On "Purple Lamborghini," rapper Rick Ross says, "There's only one God." Another rapper, Ty Dolla $ign, emphasizes faithfulness and duty on "Sucker for Pain" ("Love and the loyalty, that's what we stand for/ … Feeling the world go against us/So we put the world on our shoulders"). Elsewhere in that song, Lil Wayne says of the prospect of death, "And only the Lord knows when I'm coming to the crossroads." Still another hip-hop artist, Keven Gates, emphasizes the importance of perseverance ("Fall down, get back up again/Lose it all right before you win") on "Know Better." Singer Grace roundly rejects being objectified on "You Don't Own Me" ("I'm not just one of your many toys/ … Don't put me on display"). Twenty One Pilots cautions against judging those whom we don't know on "Heathens."

Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" (covered here by Panic! At the Disco) may suggest that a remorseful, fatalistic murderer is now facing justice for his crimes. Lyrics may also imply a war for the man's soul between God and the devil (an interpretation buoyed by some of the things the band has said about the classic tune through the years). War's 1971 song "Slippin' Into Darkness" includes a concerned mother's warning to her son, "Pretty soon, you gonna pay." Creedence Clearwater Revival's Vietnam-era anti-war anthem "Fortunate Son" critiques a two-tiered system in which sons of wealthy, influential families are spared military service even as their poorer peers have no choice in the matter.

Objectionable Content

Violence and vulgarity, sex and drugs, nihilism and hedonism permeate the Suicide Squad soundtrack. Multiple tracks include crude references to the male and female anatomy, as well as explicit lyrics about oral sex, sexting, phone sex, and orgasms. "Standing in the Rain" finds rapper Action Bronson instructing woman to remove her underwear and namechecking a pornographic website. Seven of 14 tracks include harsh profanity, including multiple uses of the f-word (once paired with "mother"), the s-word, misuses of God's name (including one instance of "g--d--n"), "b--ch," "n-gga," "d--n" and "a--."

"Purple Lamborghini" by Skrillex and Rick Ross manages to work almost of all of the above issues into a thoroughly violent narrative: "Pistol on my waist, I might make a mistake/Dead shot, head shot, oh my god, am I crazy/ … Cocaine, white Ferrari, I'm in the fast lane/Every day was life and death, that's when the cash came/Count money, drug residue, even blood on 'em." More self-destructive brutality (and detailed depictions of sex) fills "Sucker for Pain" as Lil Wayne raps, "Might cut my head off right after I slit my throat/Tongue kiss a shark, got jealous b--ches up in the boat/ … I'ma jump from my plane or stand in front of a train/'Cause I'm a sucker for pain." That song's chorus (sung by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds) flirts with violent bondage imagery as well: "I torture you/I'm a slave to your games/ … I wanna chain you up/I wanna tie you down/I'm just a sucker for pain." "Heathens" suggests we may be sitting next to "psychopaths" without even realizing it.

On "Gangsta," female singer Kehlani brags that she's "f---ed up" and "built for it, all the abuse," which she says has left her "black and blue." She also boasts, "My freakiness is on the loose," and implies that she's addicted to reckless, thrill-seeking men ("I need a gangsta/To love me better/That all the others do"). In similar territory, "Medieval Warfare" by female singer Grimes describes a woman who's turned on by a murderous man: "Are you big? Are you ugly?/Can you kill a man with your hands?/Are you hot? Do you want me?/Think I don't understand?" Elsewhere, she says she's "been sleepin' with a rifle."

Violent threats and emotional numbness turn up in Skylar Grey's "Wreak Havoc": "We live fast, we die hard/Go against me, and you'll die hard/ … And if love is real/Maybe I'm just too bad/To remember how good it feels." Apathetic weariness floats to the surface of "Bohemian Rhapsody" too: "Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters/ … Nothing really matters, anyone can see/Nothing really matters/Nothing really matters to me." Lines on Eminem's profanity-strewn "Without Me" combine drugs and alcohol ("A little bit of weed mixed with some hard liquor/Some vodka that'll jump start my heart quicker").

Creedence Clearwater Revival's controversial "Fortunate Son" has often been interpreted as an anti-military, anti-patriotic song.

Summary Advisory

"Devoted to destruction/A full dosage of detrimental dysfuction," Lil Wayne raps on "Sucker for the Pain." It's tempting to end this review with those lines alone, because they succinctly summarize this soundtrack's exceptionally nasty content.

But I need to say something more.

We're (sadly) quite used to hearing male musicians wade into explicit objectification of women. But on this soundtrack, the female singers seem determined to prove that they can be just as foul and vulgar as the "boys."

Finally, the presence here of some bands that have generally been more positive than problematic—such as Twenty One Pilots and Imagine Dragons—means those group's fans may exposed to material they might never have encountered otherwise.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

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