Universal Music Group Wants Be Your Own Pet to Sell; Makes Record Safer By Removing ‘Violent’ Songs

Be Your Own Pet's Jemina Pearl (pictured above) sort of resembles Blondie. Which is to say, she fits very snuggly in a certain mold bastardized by cookie-cutter mall punks like Avril Lavigne and imitated by others, including pop-punk sensations like Paramore's Hayley Williams. In other words, she has the potential to bring in big dollars. So, for the domestic release of their sophomore album, Get Awkward (TMT Review), Universal made sure that the spunkiest songs of the bunch -- "Blow Yr Mind," "Becky," and "Black Hole" -- were left off of the record.

After sounding messy and defiant -- shouting "I'm an independent motherfucker and I'm here to take your virginity!" -- on their eponymous 2006 debut for Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace! label, the kids in BYOP have crafted a catchy, accessible, and slightly reined-in effort on their follow-up, Get Awkward. So, when Universal Records -- believing it may have a hit on its hands -- made an agreement with Ecstatic Peace! to release the record in the United States, it wasn't going to let a little bit of teen angst and artistic license hinder their cash flow or ability to create a controversy. God forbid the record not be sold in Wal-Marts everywhere.

When Pearl sings "Let's go and kill someone" on "Black Hole" to describe the boredom faced in a wasteland of a town, her punky shouts are the sound of plummeting profits to the Suits in charge. Just imagine the horror on Minivan Mom's face when her adolescent daughter -- enamored with Pearl's pretty golden locks and wicked sense of style -- pops in the disc and "Becky" blares: "Now I'm going to juvey for teenage homicide!" The local news would have a field day.

So, it was a close one, but Universal Records and its parent company Universal Music Group saved the innocence of our youth, just like they did when they brought us Eminem. Remember when he told Kim, "Bleed, bitch, bleed!" on The Marshall Mathers LP on UMG subsidiary Interscope? Ah, I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning.

Photo: [Leia Jospe]