Children are taught at a young age by their parents that alcohol can be corruptive and only consumed when you are of the legal age. According to the New York Times, “Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine studied the 279 most popular songs in 2005, contained a reference to drugs or alcohol. The number jumped to 14 percent for rock songs, 20 percent for R&B and hip-hop songs, 36 percent for country songs, and 77 percent for rap songs.” Teens spend significant amounts of time listening to music, with the average teen listening to somewhere between 1.5 to 2.5 hours of music a day. The proliferation of iPods and cell phones means the music is highly portable and many listen to music while doing other things like homework and chores. I believe that the glorification of it in music may be a factor in increasing consumption, because when teenagers are at parties or environments with alcohol, the music might add to the pressure to drink, especially among underage kids.
Overall, 22 percent of songs with alcohol mentions referred to beer or malt liquor, 34 percent to wine or champagne, 36 percent to hard liquor or mixed drinks, and 31 percent to generic terms such as “booze.” A common theme was getting intoxicated or high, although drinking was also associated with wealth and luxury, sexual activity, and crime or violence. Consequences of drinking were mentioned in only 9 percent of the songs with alcohol references, and anti-use messages occurred in only 3 percent (Bonnie para 13). Teenagers, in my opinion, use music as part of their identity formation. According to John Hopkins Children Hospital research, “Children look at their peers or “super peers”, which are movies, television, the Internet, and normalize or incorporate what they see in movies, music, and television into their real lives. If an attractive character on TV drinks or smokes, they are at risk of drinking and smoking, too, even if logic tells them.” Kids who enjoy similar genres of music tend to cluster and share their enjoyment. Music influences adolescents more than at any other period of their lives. Teenagers are going through a phase where they are searching and developing role models. Exposure to such frequent positive portrayals of alcohol use in the absence of negative consequences may increase the likelihood of alcohol use.
Rappers, hip-hop artists and pop musicians have taken to belting out their over-drinking adventures and name-dropping brands like Hennessy and Grey Goose. I believe when teenagers hear alcohol in songs that they listen to it brings their awareness of brands, which makes them want to experience what they are hearing about. According the website “Be the Parents”, Busta Rhymes and P. Diddy's hit "Pass the Courvoisier". Sales jumped up by 18.9% after the song was released in 2002.” LMFAO’s song Shots featuring Lil Jon, has lyrics such as “When I walk in the club all eyes on me. I’m with the party rock crew all drinks are free. We like ciroc. We love patrone. We came to party rock. Everybody it’s on shots, shots, shots, shots, shots. The ladies love us.” According to the website Billboard, the song shots reached the charts in seventy-five in Australia, fifty-
three in Canada, forty seven in South Korea, sixty eight US Billboard Hot 100, and two on Us Billboard Heatseekers Song. LMFAO’s song Shots, glamorizes drinking which seems inescapable for teens who are underage. According to a new study by researchers at Boston University and John Hopkins, more than seventy percent of underage students reported that they