Parental Advisory stickers, don't you just love 'em? The bold design, the contrast between black and white lettering, the loudness of the warning message. I wonder if they ever served their purpose. The diametrical opposite of the comics code, which infantilized the comics industry, the parental advisory freed up music, especially hip hop. In fact, in the case of hip hop, it wasn't just the lewdness and the rudeness, some of that gangsta rap glorified guns and violence, that whole "live fast, die young" ethos, which goes way back to Willard Motley. I don't think hip hop would have been nearly as commercially successful without those stickers. Nothing like forbidden fruit.
But there was a time when music didn't need those stickers. And I don't just mean the risqué lyrics of old jazz and blues songs. All the way up, there's been offensive music which adults could enjoy. I picked up a Millie Jackson CD in thrift today. She never needed any stickers. Remember her "F**k You Symphony"? And loads more like that.
Do talk back
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