Be Your Own Pet.
This just in: Record labels are stupid. In the case of Be Your Own Pet, Universal Records was doubly stupid in removing the three best songs tracks from BYOP’s sophomore album Get Awkward for dubious reasons, thereby encouraging people to download the original version of the album instead of buying it.
Honest red-blooded record buyers in America are therefore deprived of “Black Hole,” “Blow Yr Mind” and “Becky,” which are apparently too violent for our virgin ears (but not for the rest of the world, apparently, thanks to XL records’ release of the intact album). We’re also deprived of the best punk rock couplet since Johnny Rotten’s “Get pissed/destroy,” when hyperactive frontwoman Jemina Pearl sings “Eating pizza is really great/ so is destroying everything you hate.”
Since the three offending songs (apparently) endorse drug use, murder and irresponsible over-consumption of soft drinks, one wonders why they spared “Zombie Graveyard Party,” which wholeheartedly promotes brain-eating, and “Twisted Nerve,” which gives a shout out to self-mutilation. No amount of self-censorship can keep BYOP down, though — they are by far the most energetic punk rock band in the United States, maybe since, well, forever. They don’t seem to give a crap about anything but rocking out, and they do it so well. This record is relentless, even without the banned tracks, blowing through songs about boys, booze and boredom with bravado that belies their youth (Pearl just turned 20).
Pearl’s blunt cocksuredness is irresistible, both when she’s being coy on “Heart Throb” (“I can see you looking/ and I really really want you to”) and, much more often, when she’s being nihilistic, on “Food Fight” (“Sucks for the janitor!”), “The Beast Within” (“Can’t you tell I don’t give a fuck?”), and, um, pretty much every other song.
Get Awkward is a brilliant record of teenage ambivalence and frustrated anarchy — a document for a time when all that mattered was drinking Dr. Pepper, driving around aimlessly and hating everyone and everything. You know, the best years of our lives.
Note: the “banned” tracks are now available as the Get Damaged EP from XL records, available online and in stores.