The year is 2020, not 2008, and there's no doubt that the woke level of awareness of the modern generation has changed significantly in recent years. It's even happened in the music world, where Hollywood Undead are among the acts that now have a changed view on some of their early work.

Speaking with Billboard about how the band has evolved to being more socially conscious and self aware of their lyrics than some of the extreme things referenced in their early years, Johnny 3 Tears shares his thoughts on remaining an envelope pushing band while still having some consideration.

“I still disagree with censorship,” says the musician. “But we said things on our first record that, if I had known how upset it would make some people, I definitely would not have said."

He continues, "We were young and angry and didn’t mean what we said to be taken literally. But you have to take into consideration that someone else might take it literally and people might actually get hurt. And I don’t mean offended; I mean hurt. Don’t get me wrong, the envelope still needs to be pushed — but you also shouldn’t go out of your way to [offend] someone. There’s certainly some regret there.”

As we are all aware: Kids can be real idiots, and a lot of Hollywood Undead's early lyrics do a very good job of illustrating that point.

For example, the track "No. 5" from their album Swan Song (which is a platinum selling album, btw) brought us the lyrics, "I'm about to serve it up for all you party-goers / Scene kids, meatheads, alchies, stoners / Dancing around like a bunch of faggots / Funnier than fuck, you can ask Bob Saget."

Then there's "Bullet" from American Tragedy, an oddly upbeat song about committing suicide that features vocals from a child in which the chorus says, "My legs are dangling off the edge / The bottom of the bottle is my only friend / I think I'll slit my wrists again and I'm gone, gone, gone, gone."

These days, Hollywood Undead have a clearer vision of what they want to do, and while some of the extreme lyrics of their first record aren't there on New Empire, Vol. 1, there is a nod to the energy and excitement of those early days.

“In the past, we have built on what we had done on the previous album -- little transitions and little progressions,” says Johnny 3 Tears. “On this album, we tried to pretend we had never made a record before. We made a concerted effort to take it back to ground zero, as if we just got a record contract. Like, what would we write had we never released any music? New Empire is the product of that outlook.”

Now well into the second decade of their career, the band has made sure not to get pigeonholed and have tossed the idea of "rules" of what a Hollywood Undead song can be out the door. The singer adds, “As long as we believe in what we’re doing and feel our music maintains the same level of quality, I guess we’ll just keep going. I don’t want to be in a band that forces out music that isn’t good just to put out albums. If the quality of the songs is 100 percent, who cares how old you are or where you stand in the hierarchy of music?”

New Empire, Vol. 1 arrives today (Feb. 14), with a second volume expected later this year. Catch Hollywood Undead currently on tour in Europe, with North American dates to follow in May. Get ticketing info here.

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