Many albums are labeled with the “Parental Advisory” sticker, which is basically a warning to the “parents” , given by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It means that the labeled albums feature songs that contain offensive language and/or suggestive references.
These “warnings” rarely stop fans from buying the music. The first albums that “earned” these stickers were in 1985. The albums listed below belong to hip hop, pop & electronic dance genres, rock and metal.
Hip-Hop and Rap
Rapper Snoop Dogg started his solo career with the sticker, as his debut album Doggystyle (from 1993) received one. This didn’t exactly affect his sales however as his album reached number 1 in the US. His 2004 album Rhythm & Gangsta also got the sticker. Again, his sales were not affected. Hip Hop albums usually get this sticker due to lyrics suggesting and/or depicting (gangster) violence.
Actor/rap singer Ice-T‘s also started his music career with a sticker. His debut album Rhyme Pays (from 1987) has had the “honor” of being the first parental-advisory hip-hop record.
Another hip-hopper, Dr. Dre, received the sticker, thanks to his albums The Chronic and The Chronic 2001.
Eminem is notorious for sending any parents or conservatives into a panic attack as his lyrics and videos are never shy of being controversial. Of course, according to him, the violence in his lyrics is a form of therapy and anger management. He also states that there is more mockery and sense of humor than actual promotion of violence. But of course when he makes songs about having killed his wife and a video where him and Dr. Dre persuade a guy to go kill his cheating wife, along with the guy she was cheating with, some people fail to see the humor (the song is called “Guilty Conscience”) .
Well, rappers and rockers/metal artists are typically more notorious when it comes to lyrics and videos that scare and anger some people. But where sex and suggestive language is concerned, pop stars become the target. After all ‘sex sells’, right?
Actress and pop singer Jennifer Lopez released her second studio album J. Lo in 2001 and sold 12,000,000 albums. Yes, it had a sticker.
Janet Jackson got a sticker for her 2001 album All for You, which sold about 9,000,000 albums. Sticker was earned for the sexual content.
Well, we’d all be surprised if the rookie actor/experienced pop star Justin Timberlake wasn’t listed her. The sticker is expected when you are talking about a guy who makes videos that are overly about sex, and releases an album called FutureSex/LoveSounds
And just because a pop star doesn’t take her clothes off, it doesn’t mean her lyrics can’t go a little wild. Lily Allen‘s It’s Not Me, It’s You has the sticker on the CD.
There is no surer way to include a song that features the notorious f-word more than a hundred times to grant yourself this sticker. So Fat Boy Slim‘s You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby earned one for the song “>F***ing in Heaven”.
Rock and Metal Albums
Danzig – Danzig
Heavy metal band Danzig‘s 1988 debut album Danzig also got labeled with the sticker. The band’s lyrics have a fondness for horror movie type creatures or at least implications of them. “Parents” probably didn’t even approve of the album cover, as it shows some sort of monster with huge teeth. As Danzig got more popular, the album names became less and less “parent-friendly” . Some of the album titles are: “Danzig II: Lucifuge Danzig III: How the Gods Kill”, “Blackacidevil”, “6:66 Satan’s Child”, and “I Luciferi”. No need to analyze the lyrics now, is there?
Kid Rock‘s Devil Without a Cause (1998) features a song called “F*** Off / Where You At Rock?” Usually, there seems to be a funny correlation with album sales and the presence of a sticker. The sticker doesn’t really have a negative effect. This album was a huge success for Kid Rock. But note that there is also a clean version of the record.
Marliyn Manson‘s Portrait of an American Family (1994) got one, so did their Antichrist Superstar (1996). This band was never known for their gentle, family-friendly attitude in the first place.
Grunge/metal band Soundgarden‘s second (studio) album, Louder Than Love was released in 1989. Most of the songs were written by the band singer Chris Cornell.
The album features a song called “Full on Kevin’s Mom” and as the title suggests, it is about a friend sleeping with another friend’s mom. The lyrics start with “You don’t get nothing for free Kev & me were two of three, Three brothers to the end, The one went full on Kevin’s mom, Now things have changed” and end with “We were three Kevin’s mom made four, (we don’t come around anymore)” .
Guns N Roses
Well, it is enough to just look at the track and see why RIAA chose to label this Guns’ N Roses album from 1987. Used to Love Her starts with the lyrics describing the guy used to love her girlfriend but later killed her and buried her in his backyard. Ouch. Talk about a bad break-up.
This very popular album from the pop/punk/rock band Blink 182 was released in 2001 and reached number 1 in US, Germany and Canada. It reached number 2 in Australia.
Let’s see: two of the songs are called: “Happy Holidays, You B*st*rd” and “F*** a Dog”. Since Blink 182 members didn’t mind appearing (almost) naked in their videos, it is not a shocker they got labeled.