Number 118 / September 1994:
ANGRY EYES.... From Pantera to M.C. Eiht, a lot of records in the Top Ten this year have been filled with anger. While the instinctive response of the targets of this anger (e.g. the police) is to kill the messenger, cooler heads may simply ask: Why?
Give or take Neil Young, the angry voices in pop music are young, often speaking to an even younger audience. Shortly after a June 20 Los Angeles United Way report which revealed juvenile arrests and gang deaths down significantly, the National Law Journal released a study of Americaís juvenile judges in which 40% of the men in black called for the death penalty for offenders as young as 12 or 13. Bill Clintonís response to the jobless, disease-ridden future America offers its children was to fulfill the judgesí wish for lethal injections for seventh graders. His crime bill also offers boot camps for those who survive. In this climate, even the small details are worthy of Kafka. The city of St. Paul has closed nine rec centers, while Minneapolis has removed the basketball hoops from seven rec centers and three playgrounds due to, among other things, loud music being played during games.
All this is enough to make anyone angry except, it seems, the major record companies. The what-me- worry response of the music industry is typified by Epic Records affixing a special warning sticker to M.C. Eihtís We Come Strapped that says: "The lyrical content contained on this album solely expresses the views of the artist."
While Epicís invitation to censorship is portrayed in the press as a maneuver to avoid lawsuits, the fact is that Epic is helping to bankroll Bill Clinton & Co. in their assault on youth. From Clintonís nomination until March 1994, Epicís parent company, Sony, gave Bill Clinton $175,650 as part of an orgy of corporate giving far greater than George Bush ever received. Time Warner topped the list of corporate contributors with $508,333; followed by MCA with $250,000; David Geffen $220,000; Jerry Moss of A&M $50,000; and Atlantic Records $40,000.
The long-run implications of a reactionary government funded by the music industry are more angry music and more in-house censorship.
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