From Wiz Khalifa to Miley Cyrus (whose recent tune We Can't Stop is really about partying until the sun comes up - and not about being half-naked Twitter fodder), you almost can't listen to Top 40 radio without wanting to order a shooter.
I commented on this phenom last year in Pop/Fizz Songs because I had noticed how many pop lyrics were tempting me to drop everything and just have a drink - or ten. Turns out Ms. Functional, ever on the cutting edge of science ;), has been proven right by the lab coats.
David Jernigan from the Center for Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health helped conduct a study of contemporary music from 2009-2011. 720 songs - from urban to country - were analyzed for references to alcohol, drinking or specific brands (i.e. Petron).
Turns out nearly one in four tunes contained some reference to alcohol - and it was always in a fun, positive light. Although rock songs didn't rate, 22% of country songs and 15% of pop songs referenced drinking, with hip-hop winning the crown (royal) at almost 40%. If you're just talking about Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Lion, however, you can probably edge that number a bit closer to 99%. ;)
The lab coats think this is tantamount to marketing alcohol to youngsters and that it's helping contribute to the many problems associated with underage drinking. According to the CAMY, more than 10% of alcohol consumption is by minors and 6.5 million underage kids actually binge drink. Which is sincerely alarming, since early alcohol exposure increases the chance of adult alcoholism by 16%. Having started my own drinking career at 13, I'm living proof that under(under)age drinking can lead to serious problems down the road (so glad that's behind me).
Obviously, alcohol abuse is a complex problem and I sympathize with parents who have to deal with it. However, there are options out there. The Century Council, an organization of distillers fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, claims that good ol' fashioned punishment can prevent minors from drinking again.
For instance, getting into trouble with the law (the big winner) results in a 68% reduction in repeat drinking. Getting grounded and/or losing computer privileges are tied neck and neck at 42%. Even the threat of punishment resulted in 52% of underage kids saying they wouldn't drink again. (Full list here.)
Obviously, no punishment is 100% effective, especially with our most popular artists singing about drinking almost every other song. But it's still good to know parents aren't powerless when it comes to keeping kids safe.
By the way, DrinkAware claims that setting a good example by being a moderate drinker yourself is still the best way to ensure your kids are responsible. So there's more reason than ever to take a cleanse day (or month!) now and again. ;)
Here's the full report on pop music pushing from Time.com. For the detail-minded, here's a compilation of all the songs about drinking. Or almost all of them - i.e. Mr. Khalifa didn't make the list. ;)
And in honor of today's theme, yay! here's Miley Cyrus singing We Can't Stop at the VMA's!
Are you kidding? Would I do that to you? I think we've all seen enough foam fingers and plastic undies for, like, ever. Instead, here's Wiz and Snoop singing (and being) Young, Wild & Free.
btw - the first line of the chorus is "So what, we get drunk?" Which is why I always thought it was mostly about drinking. But having just watched the video, it's more about weed than drinking. But it's still fun to watch.
Of course ... that's the problem. ;)