"Explicit Lyrics" warning label useless?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jason Merrick, Feb 25, 2002.

  1. Jason Merrick

    Jason Merrick Supporting Actor

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    Is this label only applied arbitrarily by the record company or is there some sort of board that rates each disk and decides whether it needs the label?

    The reason I ask is this, since I have 4 kids and they are often in the car with me, I generally don't buy cd's that have foul language in them. Now I have bought the occasional disk that I knew had one or two bad words, knowing I could just skip that track when the kids are in the car.

    Recently, I purchased the Nickelback cd because I really like the two songs I have heard on the radio and MTV, only one of which I remember having one bad word (damn). This cd does not have an Explicit Lyrics label on it, but if it doesn't deserve one, I'm not sure what does.

    1st Track includes:

    ass, shit, fuckin

    2nd Track includes:

    damn

    3rd Track includes:

    shit(2x)

    9th Track includes:

    shit(3x)

    10th Track includes:

    shit(3x)

    I wonder why they don't have a graduated rating system like movies and video games? It would sure help some of us make better informed purchasing decisions.

    P.S. On the reverse side of this issue, I was very pleasantly surprised to find a mainstream band like Linkin Park put out a cd with not one profanity on it. Very nice!
     
  2. Iain Lambert

    Iain Lambert Screenwriter

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    It seems to be stuck on by the record label when they feel like it. My personal favorite example is the Nine Inch Nails Broken/Fixed eps. Despite Fixed being a collections of remixes of tracks from Broken, with a fair bit of the most obscene lyrics intact (one track is even renamed to an uncensored version of 'fist f***', only Broken is deemed worthy of the 'explicit lyrics' logo.

    Mind you, anyone expecting there to be no explicit lyrics on an album with song titles like that is clearly naive.
     
  3. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    One thing that amazes me is that Frank Zappa's music never has any warning labels.
     
  4. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    The warning labels are only there for kids' music - it is considered (I believe) that no music should be censored. They are stuck on at the discretion of the record label, normally on releases where they believe they might get complaints from the public due to the content.

    It is in reality used to sell more records. The Outhere Brothers (IIRC) had two number ones in this country. On Top of the Pops you couldn't see a single reason why they were number 1. However it transpired that both singles were very explicit and had their warning stickers. The average age of a single buyer is, I believe, about 13. I bet there were a lot kids thinking they were a real rebel because they were buying a single with rude words.

    Whatever the situation, I doubt you find a single instance where 'damn' was considered offensive enough to mention on a record.
     
  5. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    If you're not playing hip-hop or "nu-metal", they don't put the sticker on, it seems. Makes sense? No, but this label isn't there because it makes sense, it's to cover the industry's ass.

    There was an article about this in Entertainment Weekly a while ago, here it is:

     
  6. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    As that article alludes to, the sticker system is 100% voluntary. There is nothing requiring that an album be rated nor stickered.

    -Vince
     
  7. Jason Merrick

    Jason Merrick Supporting Actor

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    The problem is that by not stickering the albums, they are also going to lose sales from some like me, who will no longer buy an album without knowing the lyrics ahead of time.

    I can understand not wanting to label them if its going to keep you out of a huge marketplace like Walmart, but that seems like all the more motivation to create a grading system with more than one level. The video game system seems to be most appropriate. Then they could convince Walmart to stock at least titles up to a certain rating, yet still have accurate measures for those of us who care.
     
  8. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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  9. Eve T

    Eve T Supporting Actor

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  10. Jason Merrick

    Jason Merrick Supporting Actor

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    Ike,

    I completely understand where you are coming from, and would love to see an alternative that would give consumers the needed information without impeding the artistic license of the musicians. Maybe there could be a central industry website with all lyrics available for viewing?

    To be honest, I would not be as upset with the Nickelback album if all of those profane words were in one or two songs (which I could easily skip), but more than half the songs have bad language in them, making it a cd I can only rarely listen to.

    While your comparison to movie ratings has merit, I still see a rating system similar (or even identical) to the video game rating system as more appropriate. I also don't think there would be nearly as much opportunity for censorship with that format. I may be mistaken, but even Walmart carries Mature rated games - which is the highest level of warning. I would venture to say that stores such as Walmart would be more likely to carry products with explicit content if the labels were more accurate and provided more information to the consumer (e.g. Sexual content, violent content, etc.).

    So to get back to the subject of the thread, if the industry is going to use "Explicit Lyrics" labels, I would just like to see more consistency in the labeling. If more levels of ratings would encourage more accurate and consistent labeling, I am all for it.
     
  11. Eve T

    Eve T Supporting Actor

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  12. Ryan L B

    Ryan L B Supporting Actor

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    Are there any cd's out there that deserve a Parental Advisery, but dosen't have one or a Cd that has one that has almost no language or nothing really offensive.

    My pick would be the Staind album "Break the Cycle". There are only like 3or 4 songs that have any language at all.
     
  13. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

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    Another example that left me scratching my head was the Parental Advisory sticker on the last P.J. Harvey album. Maybe it has a cussword or two but even after reading through the lyrics I could not find anything that would warrent the CD getting stickered.
    Yet there are a ton of Johnny Cash CDs with no warnings and that guys always singing about Killing his woman and doing time in jail. [​IMG]
     

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