From the Dave Matthews Band to the Strokes, rock and pop artists are re-examining their music in the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks.
Matthews changed his mind about releasing “When the World Ends” as his band’s next radio single, feeling it would be insensitive given people’s fears after the deadly hijackings, according to the band’s publicist. Instead, the group, which does not put out commercial singles, will ask programmers to play the title track from its latest album, Everyday.
New York band the Strokes, who were set to play last week’s CMJ Marathon in Manhattan before it was postponed, are pulling the song “New York City Cops” from their debut album, Is This It, according to their publicist. The song is a third-person narrative in which a character says, “New York City cops, they ain’t too smart.”
“The band stands by ‘New York City Cops,’ but feels after witnessing the valiant response of the [NYPD] during last week’s tragedy, that timing was wrong to release it during these highly sensitive times,” according to a statement from the band’s publicist. A newly recorded song, “When It Started,” will replace “New York City Cops” on the album, the release of which has been pushed back from September 25 to October 9 to accommodate the change.
The song is still available on international editions of Is This It, which came out earlier this month, and the band will continue on its U.S. tour, the publicist said.
Watching firefighters in New York moved Sheryl Crow so much that she’s reportedly rethinking some of the lyrics she wrote for her upcoming album, which she finished early this summer, according to the Los Angeles Times. One of the songs found her decrying a dearth of heroes in the world — a complaint she said she no longer feels justified making.
“I feel differently about all that now after what we’ve seen,” Crow told the newspaper, adding that she may rewrite the song or drop it from the album. “My home in New York City is right next to a fire station, and I had a lot of good friends and familiar faces in that
department who are missing now.”
Other artists are looking at work they’ve already released and considering how it might be perceived after the horrific events of September 11. Images and words that might have been metaphorical or symbolic are now being considered carefully for the feelings and memories they might evoke. Bush, for instance, changed the title of their new single, “Speed Kills,” to “The People That We Love” (see “Bush Battle Back With Golden New Album” ).
Radio programmers are steering clear of songs that mention jets, and images of the World Trade Center’s twin towers are being excised from movies such as “Spider-Man.” Irish rockers the Cranberries have pulled a video featuring shots of skyscrapers and airplanes, as well as a character walking past the chalk outline of a dead body. The clip for “Analyse,” the first single from the band’s October 23 release, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, had been delivered to video outlets and was available on the band’s Web site.
Other effects on the music industry are more logistical in nature. Mammoth Records’ lower Manhattan headquarters is nine blocks from the World Trade Center, and the label’s staff was unable to get into the office for the week following the attacks. As a result, the label has postponed the release of hard rockers Fu Manchu’s next album, California Crossing, until January.
“Fu Manchu made a great new record, and it will still be great in January,” band manager Dan DeVita said in a statement. “Right now, though, what’s important is for the staff of our label and their city, New York, to have time to sort through all that has happened.”
For more information on and audience reaction to the attacks, including tips on how you can help, see “9.11.01: Moving Forward.”