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Song: Date Rape 3

Artist: Sublime

Album: 40 oz. To Freedom

Release date: May 6, 1991

Why this song was chosen: I like Sublime, despite a lot of their questionable lyrics and topics. Their music is fun, upbeat, and frankly reminds me of being a kid. Sublime was everywhere in the 90s. When I was researching this song, I learned it was inspired by joke made in bad taste at a party that the singer, Bradley Nowell, found funny. And, as an organization, we at AVFTI don’t have a clear stance as to how we feel about ‘revenge’ or ‘karma’ when it comes to punishment. We choose to focus on healing those who are hurting rather than pursuing what some may consider harsh punishment for the perpetrators. There are enough people working that angle. So even though this song has some juvenile lyrics and an ending many people would cheer for, where the rapist goes to jail and ends up being raped by a larger inmate, that isn’t what our focus is. Our focus is the fact that a huge band was putting sexual assault in a negative light. So even though the lyrics and trite and the story told in the song is cheesy at best, I think it is still worth including this song on our list. Everyone knew it, and when you clear away all of the nonsense included in this song, it obviously was still speaking out against sexual assault. And it was sung by a band who was on every radio station for nearly a decade, and is still very popular and relevant today. I think there is something to be said for that.

What the artist has to say about the song: Sublime frontman, Bradley Nowell, passed away just a year into Sublime’s huge success. So there aren’t a whole lot of interviews he did, and the ones I was able to find didn’t discuss one topic in particular. I have seen many reports that this song was not meant to be a huge hit for Sublime. In fact, they thought it was their worst song. And it was written based on an ill-timed joke that the singer found humorous. Nowell told Axis magazing in 1995 “We were at a party a long time ago and we were all talking about how bad date rape was. This guy was like, ‘Date rape isn’t so bad if it wasn’t for date rape I’d never get laid.’ Everyone at the party was bummed out about it, but I was cracking up and I wrote a funny song about it.” Maybe it wasn’t written with the most sensitive backstory. And maybe its lyrics make light of a situation that is extremely hard for millions of people to deal with. But it brought the issue to the forefront of pop culture. In a way, the ends justify the means, and I think that’s at least worth discussing. (Source: Axis Magazine)

How do you think this song contributes to the conversation on sex crimes?

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Read the lyrics here.

Possible trigger warning. As with all of the content we post, the songs in the Every Day In May campaign should be listened to at your own discretion. Some may make you feel uplifted and others may make you feel angry, disturbed, or disgusted. The songs should also be considered not safe for work.

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