Subject: Complaint - Be Your Own Pet Censoring.
Date: 27 March 2008
To Whom It May Concern,
I recently read a news update involving punk band Be Your Own Pet from Nashville, TN, a group that is distributed by Universal through its U.S. label, Ecstatic Peace. The news update (found here: pitchforkmedia) concerned a last-minute censorship of the band's recent album release "Get Awkward" by Universal through the exclusion of three songs ("Black Hole," "Becky," and "Blow Yr Mind") from its Stateside release.
I received an advance copy of the U.K. version of "Get Awkward" for review purposes, and I found no sentiment worthy of censoring in these songs in particular. Although Universal, as the distributor, may hold equal say about what gets released in the agreement with Ecstatic Peace (I have no way of knowing the details), this seems like a very odd, and very unprofessional way of handling business, an issue I addressed in my written review of the album.
Even if that were a way of conducting professional business, it seems that these songs were arbitrarily targeted. I understand what the offending lyrics may be in each song, but I don't understand why Universal censored this artist -- if you will notice, whatever 'violent' implications certain lyrics may hold are immediately offset by other, inoffensive, even jocular lyrics. For example, "We'll wait with knives after class" on "Becky" is offset by cutesy couplets like "I don't regret what I've done / 'cause in the end it was fun" and the whole chanting section of "We don't like Becky anymore". Anyone who takes these lyrics seriously shouldn't be listening to the song or album in the first place -- the rest of the album is laden with curses and weird statements that parents should be in charge of monitoring.
Parents, not labels, should filter music and media through to their children. Useless censorship like this (especially in the era of the Internet, where this news story will break big and just inspire everyone to download these omissions anyway) is downright asinine.
Justin de la Cruz