DRUG References in Pop CuLtUre

We already have the facts, we are a little behind with shop reviews, but I think we finally deserve some entertainment on RC SCENE !

Since we cannot yet build a forum, because there are only few volunteers for managing it and I would neither find the time nor was I ever dreaming of deleting spam, we will try a start with the comment section and music instead.

Usually I would write something about the history of drug references in pop history, something about the The Beatles and their LSD hommage, mentioning Snoop Dogg’s great golfing skills (his advantage: he just knows everything about weed, including how to play on it) – well, this time I will just quote a 12-years-old article from the New York Times:

Under the Influence of…Music?
One in three popular songs contains explicit references to drug or alcohol use, according to a new report (1) (2) (3) in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. That means kids are receiving about 35 references to substance abuse for every hour of music they listen to, the authors determined.

While songs about drugs and excess are nothing new, the issue is getting more attention because so many children now have regular access to music out of the earshot of parents. Nearly 9 out of 10 adolescents and teens have an MP3 player or a compact disc player in their bedrooms. [..]

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine studied the 279 most popular songs from 2005, based on reports from Billboard magazine, which tracks popular music. Whether a song contained a reference to drugs or alcohol varied by genre. Only 9 percent of pop songs had lyrics relating 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.

Notably, smoking references aren’t that common in music today, with only 3 percent of the songs portraying tobacco use. About 14 percent of songs spoke of marijuana use, 24 percent depicted alcohol use, and another 12 percent included reference to other substances. About 4 percent of the songs contained “anti” drug and alcohol messages.

The study authors noted that music represents a pervasive source of exposure to positive images of substance use. The average adolescent is exposed to approximately 84 references to explicit substance use per day and 591 references per week, or 30,732 references per year. The average adolescent listening only to pop would be exposed to 5 references per day, whereas the average adolescent who listens just to rap would be exposed to 251 references per day.

Whether any of this matters remains an open question.
The New York Times: Tara Parker-Pope on February 5, 2008

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Further reads and inspiration:

Let’s play !

If you post links to YouTube videos, to movie scenes, or music clips, in the comment section below the article, these will be automatically be embedded. So this could become like a playlist. Add songs you like. I will try to update a Spotify playlist with your songs and someday maybe re-write this text here, discussing the songs posted, and share thoughts about how recreational drug use is not hidden anymore but has become a standard theme in some music styles, but actually, has it not had been like this forever already?

Also just mentioning movies or songs is okay! I will try to find them to embed them.

Please post the media, add the Name <strong>(band, song, movie)</strong> and please explain where the reference is hidden. Maybe explain it, so that everyone will see the reference. You could also explain why you like this song. I am curious! Language or style do not matter, but in taste we trust 😉

Your songs in the playlist
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14 responses to “DRUG References in Pop CuLtUre”

  1. I am amazed how popular my new favourite section has become. Finally, working on a fun article again, only to learn I am the only one to find it fun 😉

  2. Nirvana – Lithium
    Curt Cobain sings about his mental health, Lithium is medication that a psychiatrist would prescribe. I love the line / I’m so ugly / That’s okay cos so are you /


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