#887: ‘Tits On The Radio’ – Scissor Sisters

Conservatism has long been a problem in media. From the days of the 1980s when Tipper Gore and the Parents Music Resource Center decided that record sleeves had to warn parents about its contents (because it was assumed parents are so blind to the point where they would buy their children a soundtrack to an orgy if they weren’t otherwise informed), even to now, when record sleeves are censored because they’re considered too confronting (a recent example being the ridiculousness of Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy). It’s this growing conservatism that caused Scissor Sisters to come out (no pun intended) with ‘Tits On The Radio’.

For the uninformed, Scissor Sisters are arguably one of the most successful LGBTQ bands in recent years. Formed in the “scuzzy gay nightlife scene of New York”, and adopting a name that was originally a blanket term for lesbians, the group were completely outspoken about their personalities and style of music.

While most of the group’s early fame came from tracks such as ‘Take Your Mama‘, ‘Filthy/Gorgeous‘, or their cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb‘, the group’s fun, glam-rock style shone through in every way, and the group saw a lot of deserved success because of it.

‘Tits On The Radio’, while a fun song, featured more of an underlying political message. While plenty of people chuckled at the concept of seeing breasts on the wireless, the group were becoming outspoken about the growing conservatism in their native New York. Gay culture had always thrived in New York, but Mayor Rudy Guliani’s outdated views saw drag queens and transvestites hidden from view as best as he could. Of course, the culture fought back, and continues to thrive.

While many will view ‘Tits On The Radio’ as a fun, lighthearted song, at the heart of it, it is a song rallying against oppression of ones sexual orientation; something close to the heart of Scissor Sisters.

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