Has a song lyric ever motivated you to try a particular type of alcohol?
If so, research released in August 2013 found that chances are the alcohol in question was one of four brands: Patron tequila, Hennessy cognac, Grey Goose vodka, or Jack Daniel’s whiskey.
The research used Billboard Magazine year-end charts from 2009-2011 to find the most popular songs in Urban, Pop, Country, and Rock. After reviewing 720 songs off the top lists, it was found that 23% included an alcohol mention, and 6.4% included an alcohol brand mention.
According to the study, Urban music had the most lyrics mentioning alcohol.
Overall, messages displayed about alcohol in the songs were positive or neutral.
The glorification of alcohol use in music has been on the rise since the early 2000’s. This has caused concern about the influence of lyrical alcohol references on the music’s youthful audience. Some believe that listening to music which references alcohol leads young people to earlier experimentation with alcoholic beverages.
Around the world, countries have raised concerns about the prevalence of alcohol mentions in music, especially as music from the United States continues to dominate top charts worldwide.
In the UK, recent research found that one in five of the top ten songs in the UK include alcohol-related lyrics. The number of songs containing alcohol references has risen in the past decade in the UK, and the study linked this to the increasing number of popular songs in the country that are American imports.
An article reporting on this research mused, “American singer Katy Perry’s 2011 single Last Friday Night, for example, details excessive drinking and achieved a top 10 position not only in the US and the UK, but also in Australia, Austria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Venezuela.”
Similarly, in Australia, concerns were raised about the product placement of alcohol in music videos accompanying top songs. The fear is, once again, for youth and young children being influenced by music portraying excessive alcohol consumption in a positive light.
If mentions of alcohol in media really do influence underage drinking, or youth drinking habits in general, it will be important to continue tracking trends in lyrical content. Would it be going too far to try and regulate alcohol references to protect youth, like some in Britain are considering?
The newest research on the topic is only as recent as the top songs of 2011. How did 2013 do in terms of lyrics mentioning alcohol?
Here’s my quick analysis based off Spotify’s list of the top 100 Tracks from 2013 worldwide (I used Spotify because of the worldwide factor):
Click the songs to listen on YouTube.
1. Can’t hold us – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (No References)
2. Wake me up – Avicii (No References)
3. Thrift shop – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (No References)
4. Get lucky – Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams (We’ve come too far, To give up who we are, So let’s raise the bar, And our cups to the stars.)
5. Radioactive – Imagine Dragons (No References)
6. Let her go – Passenger (Staring at the bottom of your glass)
7. Blurred lines – Robin Thicke, T.I., Pharrell (Talk about getting blasted)
8. Just give me a reason – Pink, Nate Ruess (You’re holding it in. You’re pouring a drink)
9. Ho hey – The Lumineers (No References)
10. I need your love – Calvin Harris, Ellie Goulding (No References)
11. Mirrors – Justin Timberlake (No References)
12. Don’t you worry child – Swedish House Mafia (No References)
13. Scream and Shout – Will I Am (Hear the beat, now let’s hit the floor. Drink it up and then drink some more)
14. Pompeii – Bastille – (No References)
15. When I was your man – Bruno Mars (No References)
Based on this quick overview, 2013 kept alcohol references going strong, with five out of the top 15 songs worldwide (as listed on Spotify) mentioning alcohol.