Forgotten Word Ministries
Study Finds American Music Full of References to Drugs and Alcohol
Feb. 6, 2008
What you won't find in Christian and Gospel music
The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine recently released the results of a study of American music in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Researchers broke down the lyrics to 279 of the most popular songs of 2005, (as named by Billboard Magazine) and found that one of every three glorified drugs and alcohol.
The report showed that one-third of the songs (33%) had explicit references to drugs/substance abuse. Another two-thirds of the songs put drugs and alcohol in a "positive light" by associating them with sex, partying and humor, according to the team led by Dr. Brian Primack.
The researchers calculated that with American teens (age 15 to 18) listening to 2.4 hours of music daily, they hear 84 musical references to substance use a day and more than 30,000 a year.
Country, pop, rap, R&B and rock music were all well represented in the songs that were studied, but rap stood out with 77% of their top songs making drugs and booze king. Country music came in second place with 36%. R&B/hip-hop hit 20%, rock came in at 14% and pop brought up the rear at 9%. Alcohol and marijuana were the most common references found over-all.
It seems that popular music lyrics frequently pair up substance use with peer acceptance, partying and sex. The study found the the consequences of drug use were portrayed as more positive than negative in 68% of the songs and more negatively in only 18%. Only four songs (all in the rock genre) contained specific anti-drug use messages, and not a single song just said no to drugs.
Country music seemed to pair the vices more with humor than with blanket acceptance.
She’ll start with kickin’ out of
He's on the dance floor yelling
Don’t have to go home but you
can’t stay here,
Rap music, on the other hand, glamorized drug and alcohol use.
I was sellin rocks when Master P
was sayin "Unnnh"
Tastes like fruit when you hit
Young Jeezy comes at it a little differently, at least acknowledging that he is doing wrong.
I'm knee deep in the game
Christian and gospel music weren't included in the study because, well ... Christian and gospel music don't glorify anything but Jesus!
The Christian and Gospel top songs of 2005 gave us a lot of positive messages.
I remember when I was thirteen
We stand and lift up our hands
Cause in a Blink of an eye that
Dr. Primack said, "It is important to note that this study does not say anything about the relationship between these exposures (to the lyrics) and behavior." He also noted that more research is needed to show whether kids who listen to these lyrics are more likely to drink or use drugs.
As a parent, this one scares me. I know that my own kids listen to music from all over the map (Christian, rock, pop, country, hip/hop). The "parent friendly" stuff is what I hear coming from their MP3 players. But I'm smart enough to know that if they want to listen to music they know I wouldn't approve of, there are plenty of opportunities out there. My fall-back position and saving grace is that I have faith in the way that they are being raised. They know that drugs and alcohol aren't the answer to any of the questions. But what about other kids? What about the kids out there that don't have solid Christian backgrounds and upbringing? What information do they have to weigh against what they're hearing on the radio?
Though I find this article to be true in the sense it was written, I have found some supposed Christian/Gospel music with verses and or videos pertaining to things I do not believe should be there. An example is the latest one I came across. (click here) What are your thoughts on this article?