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Insult Backfire / Music

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  • Daft Punk got its name from a review of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo's previous band Darlin', which the reviewer called "a bunch of daft punk".
  • After The Yardbirds broke up, Keith Moon told Jimmy Page that his new band was 'going to go down like a lead balloon.' The name of the band alone illustrates how spectacularly that insult failed.
  • Hip hop example: In the song "Second Round K.O.," Canibus included in his disses of LL Cool J, "99% of your fans wear high heels." The intention was to insinuate that LL was not "hard" enough to appeal to men, but the impact is considerably weakened by the fact that the name "LL Cool J" stands for "Ladies Love Cool James." LL Cool J responded in the song "The Ripper Strikes Back" with the following lyric: "Ask Canibus, he ain't understandin' this/'Cause ninety-nine percent of his fans don't exist."
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  • A musical at Six Flags called "Love at First Fright" featuring an evil sorceress who wanted to hero's brain for her creation. At one point all the protagonists chorus, "WITCH!!" This is followed by a long beat, after which she gleefully replies, "Guilty!"
  • Savage by Helloween:
    They just call us savage
    That's what I like to be
  • A lot of critics — including John Lennon, his former writing partner — were fond of sneering that all Paul McCartney ever wrote were 'silly love songs'. In response, he wrote 'Silly Love Songs', which acts as a cheerful affirmation of this:
    Some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs
    And what's wrong with that?
    I'd like to know
    'Cos here I go
  • Insane Clown Posse:
    Call me a psycho schizo freak...
    and I'll call you by your name!
  • Axl Rose once contemptuously referred to the Eagles of Death Metal as the "Pigeons of S*** Metal". The band loved it so much that one of them got the phrase on a tattoo.
  • Those who play "Born in the USA" as anything but the protest song it was meant to be.
    • Not as much of a protest song, but Elton John brings us "Made In England", which many mistake for a pro-English anthem. However, the lyrics betray the negative aspect of England that a gay man growing up in 50s England would have experienced.
  • The song "Yankee Doodle" is thought to have originated from British soldiers in the Colonial Army to mock the colonials. "Doodle" is thought to have originally meant a fool or simpleton. The verse "stuck a feather in his cap and called it Macaroni" mocks a foppish fashion at the time involving feather caps and tall wigs. Essentially the song paints a typical American as a backwoods hick with delusions of sophistication. The insulting meaning was quickly forgotten and it has become perhaps the most classic patriotic song outside of the national anthem.
  • The Canadian-penned song "American Woman" is a criticism of American politics, but many people think it's about the singer's interest in an American woman.
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  • Tom Lehrer's fight song parody "Fight Fiercely, Harvard" is regularly performed by the Harvard marching band at football games. (And Lehrer himself liked to quote negative reviews on his album covers.)
  • The Does Not Understand Sarcasm variant is used in several of the Smothers Brothers' well-known routines.
  • Frank Zappa wrote 1982's "Valley Girl" to mock the titular girls, going so far as to let his teenage daughter, Moon Unit, improvise the spoken word parts to insult schoolmates she didn't like. The song was responsible bringing the name and the slang to the masses, who rather than being insulted or joining the mockery, embraced both for the next decade.
  • In the track "The Wrong Nigga to Fuck Wit", Ice Cube lets out the line: "And you can New Jack Swing on my nuts!" in a diss at the musical style. Two years later, New Jack Swing group Tony! Toni! Tone! would sample the line in the song "If I Had no Loot".
  • A critic attending a Minor Threat concert dismissed the group as "muscle heads", meaning something along the lines of Dumb Jocks. Ian McKaye decided to turn it into a compliment by taking the phrase literally - a "muscle head" as in someone with a strong mind. Thus, he can be heard ad-libbing the lyric "flex your head!" in Minor Threat's cover version of "12XU", and the phrase was also used for a compilation issued by Dischord Records (co-owned by Minor Threat members McKaye and Jeff Nelson)


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