Religiously offensive is the new platinum-selling

In a completely unforeseen, straight-up Orwellian turn of events, the Singapore Parliament has named some of music’s biggest pop hits as religious heresies.

On Apr 1, Workers’ Party MP Chen Show Mao shared a picture of a Parliament handout, allegedly issued as part of Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugan’s Ministerial Statement that day. The excerpt listed Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga and Hozier—with their chart-topping hits God is a Woman, Judas and Take Me To Church respectively—as “illustrations of offensive lyrics”. Shanmugan’s statement prominently addressed the cancellation of Swedish death metal group Watain’s concert last month, a divisive passing that sparked conversation on religion nationwide.

While nothing has been said officially as to whether these songs or artists will be banned in Singapore in the future, it certainly seemed an unnecessary move, especially given the statement’s primary focus being hate speech. Many questioned its validity, being shared on April Fool’s Day. Alas, it was real.

But where there is seeming political collapse, there is music. Various genres have long been tied to political movements and rebellion—rock and roll has its roots in counterculture and civil rights; punk rock speaks to anti-establishment sentiments and socialism; hip-hop and rap may have been diluted over the years, but will never shake the undercurrent of race-based commentary.

So enter the much-needed playlist: Singapore’s Easy Offence Hits curated by none other than Singaporean activist-journalist Kirsten Han. Alongside the initial offending tracks are bangers like Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven Is a Place on Earth, John Lennon’s peace anthem Imagine, and AC/DC’s Highway to Hell. Han has even included some choice tongue-in-cheek singles like make eggs, throw eggs by Californian instrumentalist Amphee and hey you got drugs by Tove Lo—little Easter eggs for if you’ve been keeping up with local news. And of course, our nation’s proudest musical export China Wine makes an appearance too.

Have a bigot of a neighbour you’d love to annoy morning through night? Want to renounce your problematic religion to dramatic effect? Or just need a soundtrack to accompany your picnic in Hong Lim Park? Well now you have the perfect playlist for all occasions.