Pop diva Janet Jackson’s latest album may have rocketed up the U.S. charts but fans in Singapore will have to wait as the state censor weighs whether to uphold its ban over her racy lyrics.
Local distributor EMI Singapore voluntarily submitted “All for You” for vetting but launched an appeal after authorities decided the album could not be sold because of “explicit sexual lyrics” in the song “Would You Mind.”
“The appeal is still in process,” a spokeswoman for the Films and Publications Department told Reuters. “We haven’t come to a conclusion yet.”
EMI was not immediately available for comment.
The album was briefly available in some stores before being yanked from shelves or tucked under the counter. Even as censors ponder its fate, fans can head to the star’s official Web site for a two-minute sample of her latest songs.
Jackson’s multi-million selling album “The Velvet Rope,” released in 1997, was also banned in the strait-laced city state for references to domestic abuse and homosexuality. It was eventually released with the objectionable tracks removed.
Of more than 300,000 music titles brought into Singapore every year, importers voluntarily flag about six percent to the censors. About 20 titles are banned every year.
Jackson’s albums have passed uncut in neighboring Malaysia, which is often seen as being more conservative.
The 34-year-old singer’s latest album, which comes after her second divorce and a four-year recording hiatus, is a tribute to sex and the single woman.
“All for You,” launched as a single in March, has spent several weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
“You have to give people more credit,” said Stephen Tan, editor of local music and entertainment magazine BigO. “I don’t think anybody is going to be lead astray or… titillated to such an extent by an album.”
Even with its tight censorship, Singapore uses a Restricted Artistic rating to allow for sexual and violent content in plays and films, but albums do not fall under a similar policy.