“Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art.” – Pablo Picasso
And that’s why, in the words of The Modern Lovers, Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole. Engaging with controversial, confronting, subversive or scintillating art is what causes us to expand our thinking.
This playlist is not a collection of banned songs – although some are here – but a collection of conversations around what is perceived as forbidden and an artist’s response. It could be the fruit that opens up for Molly Lewis, or the forbidden figure that sometimes haunts the dreams of Mary Lattimore.
We can lie down, close our eyes and wonder what Sakamoto and Sylvian’s forbidden colours might be, what Depeche Mode thinks our body would really say when it speaks, and ‘what the flesh requires to keep our heart imprisoned’.
There are always allusions to forbidden lovers in music. Whether it’s an affair on the crookedest street, Warren Zevon’s intoxicated angel in dressed in black, or Chic’s forbidden lover – all genres seem fascinated with the taboo. One can exhale and feel love with the unbridled sexuality of Donna Summer, which was initially deemed too risqué for radio, or imbibe in wine with Smog’s butterflies until, like The Magnetic Fields, you’re too drunk to dream.
If you’re contemplating the forbidden, it is usual to consider forgiveness or repentance, unless your prohibited action transcends into acceptance, of course. Who better to consider repentance than Leonard Cohen in The Future; an obvious choice for this, but an undeniably excellent song. XTC and the Dead Kennedys go for tackling the forbidden, in terms of suffering and fascism, seeking for this to disappear, rather than freeing taboo ideas about love or sex. It would be rude not to have Lou Reed on this playlist, and would any playlist exploring the prohibited ever be complete without our favourite pop provocateur, Serge Gainsbourg? Mais, non.
To experience the Forbidden issue in its entirety, the November edition of RUSSH will be available on newsstands from 16 November and through our shop online. Wanting to purchase the Forbidden issue in person? Find a stockist near you.