According to New Study, Musicians Like to Sing About Drugs and Sex

February 5, 2008 11:41 AM ET

According to a new study conducted by medical researchers, thirty-three percent of popular songs contain explicit content and forty-two percent of songs hint at substance abuse. Rap was the most frequent offender, with seventy-seven percent of songs making reference to drugs or sex, with country music a surprising silver medalist with a thirty-six percent explicit content rate. The study also proves the old war cry "sex, drugs and rock n' roll" to be factually incorrect, as only fourteen percent of rock songs contain offending lyrics. So how did the medical researchers come to their conclusion? They analyzed the lyrics of a total of 287 songs from 2005 that encompassed all musical genres. This reminds us of that Russian study that proved heavy metal's subject matter is heavy. To further cement how useless this new study actually is, the researchers failed to draw any conclusions on how hearing all these drug references affects young listeners.

Related Stories:
How Heavy Is Heavy Metal? Pretty Damn Heavy, Says Russian Study
New Study: Rock Shows Cause Global Warming
Ted Nugent Blames Hippies for Divorce, Abortion, Drugs and Crime

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


Lou Reed | 1972

Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

More Song Stories entries »