Car Seat Headrest Albums Recalled Over Unauthorized Ric Ocasek Sample

Car Seat Headrest’s new album Teens Of Denial was supposed to come out next Friday, 5/20. It’ll still be available digitally by then, but the physical release is now being pushed back to later this summer thanks to a legal issue regarding the track “Just What I Wanted/Not Just What I Needed,” which contains elements of the Cars’ song “Just What I Needed.” “Matador had negotiated for a license in good faith months ago,” the label writes in a press release, “only to be told last week that the publisher involved was not authorized to complete the license in the United States, and that Ric Ocasek preferred that his work not be included in the song. Matador regrets that it was not informed of this much earlier, and has made changes to respect Mr. Ocasek’s wishes.” All copies of the album already in circulation are being recalled and destroyed, and the song in question is being altered to remove all elements of “Just What I Needed.” Read Will Toledo’s statement on the matter below.

Life happens and sometimes not in ideal ways. If you’ve heard anything about the new album, then you’re probably aware that one of its songs made use of the Cars song “Just What I Needed.” Now, obviously, when we called the record ‘done’ and sent it off to be printed, we were working in full confidence that we had the legal side of it all worked out. We found out last week that this was not the case. I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty of email chains and invested parties; suffice it to say that Matador (and I) were neither pulling a Banksy nor operating in ignorance of the law, but that we truly believed we had the issue resolved months ago, until last week.

As you may have heard, vinyl is being pulled from stores right now. There’s a total recall out, and all copies with the original version of the song will be destroyed. Nevertheless, Teens Of Denial WILL COME OUT ON MAY 20TH, at least digitally. I spent the last 48 hours working on an alternate cut of the track, which is now called “Not What I Needed.” It’s not merely an edit — it is its own thing, about half a minute longer than the original track, and goes in a much different direction. Honestly, despite the apparent clusterfuck, I had fun doing it, and I think it’s a stronger song now. In any case I’ve grown up accustomed to working on an album right up to its drop date, so this is not a freak-out scenario for me. The album is going to come out on time and it’s going to be good.

The physical release will not come out on time, obviously. We’ll likely see a street date of sometime in July. I’m very sorry to everyone who was anticipating a preorder (it does sound GREAT on vinyl). It will be in your hands eventually. But it was very important to me that we keep the digital release for May. We’ve all been waiting long enough. Most of my music only exists online anyways, so it makes sense that this album should start the same way.

Thanks for your continued support, and I am very excited for this fucking record to come out already.

-Will Toledo aka Car Seat Headrest