It was late summer 2005
. Make Believe
, the fifth album from the rock quartet Weezer
was doing well on the charts, showing great staying power thanks to their most successful single of all-time, "Beverly Hills
." The band had to find a way to follow up the success of "Beverly Hills."
The second single selected was "We Are All On Drugs", a hard-rock tune that was energizing crowds when they played it live. This single selection puzzled some of Weezer's very strong fan base. There were many stronger songs on the new album that would be better as singles. The harshest critics of the song had compared “We Are All on Drugs” to the melody of The Diarrhea Song (long before pitchfork media made the same observation might I add) and considered it to be "shitty cock rock." Regardless, the song was a big hit live. It was incredibly catchy and thus incredibly easy to sing along with and how could even the most jaded of rock fans not smile upon hearing the pre-chorus wail of "Give it to me!" The song was looking to be a big hit.
Things started off pretty good. The song was picking up heat on modern rock radio. Two videos for the song were released, one very amusing clip that was a re-cut version of metal band Grim Reaper’s video for their 1985 hit “Fear No Evil.” The second clip was even more amusing, a Justin Francis directed piece in which front man Rivers Cuomo meanders about in a world entirely on drugs.
Around this time, fans were beginning to wonder what was behind reports of the band doing some sessions in studios both on tour and during off-dates in L.A. Could it be that despite Cuomo’s recent disinterest in songwriting that the band was working on some new material?
No, sadly, that wasn’t the case. Out of pressure from the band’s record label (the pure evil that is Geffen Records) and from MTV, the band was forced to record some new vocals for the song, which despite its satirical nature, was mistaken for a rally cry to drug users across the nation. The result was ”We Are All in Love". Airplay for the song quickly dropped and the video was only given a couple of plays on MTV. Was it the censorship that killed the song? Not entirely, but it definitely didn’t help.
Now, let’s put this in a larger prospective. Here we have MTV, who have shaken in their boots before fearing that the Federal Communications Commission is going to tear their throats out. They’ve done crazy stuff like this before, editing D12’s “Purple Pills” into “Purple Hills,” not playing Public Enemy’s “Gotta Give the Peeps What They Need” due to it’s social nature (which may be rousing, but is not immoral) and editing Weezer’s own “Hash Pipe” only four years prior. But MTV isn’t alone in their censorship. We have overly sensitive officials claiming that a movie about two stoners running around the country is homophobic (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back). We have Hillary Clinton claiming that a mod that only could be accessed by people who understood how to reverse the source code of a popular video game title (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas) is worthy cause to put heavy restrictions on video games. We had a media shit storm that engulfed the nation and shot FCC violation fees through the roof when Janet Jackson had a man tear off a part of her dress to expose a covered breast (that’s right, despite all the Nipplegate monikers, there was no ACTUAL nudity involved). And we have high school’s aren’t allowed to show Schindler’s List because it contains nude scenes and NBC markets pulling an airing of Saving Private Ryan due to language…since we all know that nudity was the biggest atrocity in the Holocaust and profanity was the biggest atrocity in World War II.
Perhaps you think I’m being unfair, tying together a rock and roll single that contains the lyric “and you put on your headphones/and you step into the zone” to many other victims of censorship. Do we really live in a world in which hearing a mid-30s rock star exclaim “We are all on drugs!” is going to make the youth of America run out and buy any drug they can get their hands on? “We Are All in Love” is the poster child of how censorship in America has reached a whole new level of absurdity. Does anybody actually think we are protecting a utopia with such absurd censorship?