Censorship In Music Essay

3207 words - 13 pages

“Wanna copy me and do exactly like I did? Try 'cid and get f***ed up worse that my life is? My brain's dead weight, I'm tryin to get my head straight, but I can't figure out which Spice Girl I want to impregnate.”- Eminem

“Tight hip huggers (low for sure) Shake a little somethin' (on the floor)
I need that, uh, to get me off- Sweat until my clothes come off”- Christina Aguilara

“I said, its gettin hot in here (so hot), So take off all your clothes…
I am gettin so hot, I wanna take my clothes off”- Nelly

Lyrics such as these have flooded the radio stations and MTV since before my time. Even Elvis was a problem and menace to society in the 1950s; they would only show pictures of him from the waist up. Occasionally, parents turn off the radio station because they get offended, or change the channel because Christina Aguilara is stripping on television. While my obsession with pop culture keeps me hooked to MTV, KISS FM, and even the local alternative station, parents are furious with the amount of air time artists get if they have lyrics unfit for children. Radio stations “bleep” out cuss words on the air, but sometimes they get through. Most of the time kids can figure out what artists are saying. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) put together a “Parental Advisory Label” on records that are not “fit” for children under the age of sixteen. This small label is placed on compact disks and cassettes to indicate the use of profanity or lyrics describing harsh topics in the music. Kids who try to buy the CD should be stopped at the cash register. According to the RIAA, the label “lets parents take that responsibility for their families and respects the core American value of freedom of expression that tolerates unpopular speech and frowns upon censorship” (RIAA para. 3). The Parental Advisory Label is no longer useful because it encourages children to acquire music inappropriate for their age and is detrimental for new artists to “make it” in the recording industry.

The problem with the parental advisory label is that artists aren’t getting as much money as they could be, and in return aren’t able to express their “art” to the whole public. Many stores have stopped selling music with explicit lyrics all together, including Wal-Mart, “a family- friendly” store. Small town bands are speaking out against the labels because “legislators are currently considering sales of stickered
CDs to minors” (DesRosiers para. 7). The bands aren’t getting the sales they need because the kids who want to buy their music are underage. While I agree that some music should be labeled to warn parents of offensive content, some small bands that have yet to get big cannot start up with a parental advisory label and hit the air waves. Most people haven’t heard of Something Corporate or Ben Fold’s Five because they are not mainstream pop and do not sell a lot of CDs because of the parental advisory label. When working on an...

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