Alcohol references in music are loud and clear for teens
Songs that top music charts in both the UK and the US may be sending a dangerous message to teens about alcohol use, reports a new study published in the Psychology of Music.
"Trends in alcohol portrayal in popular music: A longitudinal analysis of the UK charts," reveals that as many as one in five songs in the UK top ten include alcohol references - a figure that is rising due to US-based music influences, researchers said.
Changes in music over decades
Katherine Hardcastle, of Liverpool John Moores University, and her team examined four different years across four decades, comparing how music changed throughout the years.
In 1981, alcohol references were relatively rare in songs, with the number declining even further in 1991. Come 2001, however, alcohol references were back - prominent in eight percent of popular songs. By 2011, that figure had more than doubled, revealing that 18.5 percent of top 10 songs featured alcohol-related lyrics.
Public health concerns
The researchers noted that alcohol-related songs usually portray drinking in a positive light, linking it to confidence, gregariousness and physical sex appeal. These types of lyrics also tend to glorify wealth, sex and success, frequently leaving out the negative effects of alcohol, the report stated.
Since US and British songs have a global appeal, the team noted, it's likely that the full extent of negative alcohol-related messaging exposure in music is not realized.
"Public health concerns are already focused on the impacts of alcohol advertising on the drinking behaviours of young people, yet the growing reference to alcohol in popular music could mean that alcohol promoting messages are reaching much larger audiences; regardless of restrictions (e.g. age) on direct advertising," Hardcastle said.
Source: Science Daily