Evan Roth – Explicit Content Only

Evan Roth

Inge Records, USA, 2008, English

The “Parental Advisory Explicit Content” logo in black and white stripes, as with all mandatory logos, has been creatively used for ironising a feature which is still very typical of the U.S.: governmental support for parental paranoia. In fact the sticker was pushed by the Parents Music Resource Center (formed by four wives of famous husbands directly connected with the federal government, like Tippy Gore, wife of Al Gore), and from its adoption in middle 80s it has become an icon, sometimes even proudly displayed as a (sic) symbol of transgression. Evan Roth uses it as the central object of his experiment, making the sticker not a warning but a whole description of the content he produces, adding the word “only” to “explicit content”. In fact, it consists in a vinyl containing a version of N.W.A.’s “Straight Outta Compton”, on the A side, and a version of EAZY-E’s “EAZY DUZ IT”, on the B side, where all but the curse words have been removed. It’s a conceptual intervention using the “warned” content as the raw material and shaping it with a simple cutting process, eventually perfectly listenable. It’s a typical artistic strategy (collect all the censored stuff all together), but in this case the vinyl is conceived more as a (limited edition) medium than as a host for content. The tracks are available as free download and so it’s easy to listen to the sequence of curse language. It anesthetizes the listeners’ sensibility, and so “motherfucker” at the nth time becomes only a rounded environmental sound.