Ever wonder what those teenagers are listening to while wearing those iPod earphones? Maybe you'd rather not know. You will be horrified.
The Culture and Media Institute recently reviewed the top pop songs from May through July. To say that hedonism is in the air is an understatement. Of the 22 songs on the charts, a whopping 64 percent made at least one reference to sex, drugs or alcohol, or contained profanity. All 22 songs had music videos, and 68 percent of them featured sexualized dancing, alcohol, violence, or partying scenes.
The "anthem" of the summer seems to be the song "California Gurls" by Katy Perry, the ex-Christian singer who kick-started her career with the hit "I Kissed a Girl (And I Liked It)" in 2008. She's so "mainstream" this year that she hosted the Teen Choice Awards on Fox.
Her "Gurls" song is catchy and raunchy, starting with the boast that she and her girlfriends are so hot "we'll melt your Popsicle." That phrase is hot slang. Please imagine 7-year-old girls learning and reciting the lyrics to these songs -- because they do. Perry sings about "Sex on the beach / We don't mind sand in our stilettos / We freak in my Jeep" to Snoop Dogg, who also raps on the song. Snoop calls out the men to "kiss her, touch her, squeeze her buns." The boys hang out to "all that ass hangin' out," watching the girls in "bikinis, tankinis, martinis, no weenies."
Shakespeare he is not. Romantic sonnets are not in season. Getting sex quickly seems to be the only aim.
The hottest new star is named Ke$ha, and her song with pop band 3OH!3 (No, I don't understand it either) is called "My First Kiss." It sounds innocent, but innocence isn't allowed. The lyrics include a request for sex: "Lips like licorice, tongue like candy / Excuse me, Miss, but can I get you out of your panties?" Another song, "In My Head," is sung by Jason Derulo and features the lyrics "Instead of talking, let me demonstrate / Yeah / Get down to business, let's skip foreplay."
Would you like more song sheets for the kiddies?
Rihanna is another princess of pop. Her song challenges a boy to make a move: "Come here, rude boy, boy / Can you get it up? / Come here, rude boy, boy / Is you big enough?" She also promises to "give it to you harder" and "turn your body out." The video matches the theme, with Rihanna holding one breast, putting her finger in her mouth and constantly rotating her hips as she asks her beau to "take it, take it, take it." Is this woman a singer or a stripper?
Just one version of this song's video has 90 million plays on YouTube -- just in case you'd think no one really pays attention to these things.
Rihanna also sings in "Rude Boy" that she likes the way "you pull my hair." The most controversial song of the summer is her duet with the rapper Eminem called "Love the Way You Lie." In between Eminem's rapping, Rihanna repeatedly sings, "Just gonna stand there and watch me burn / But that's all right because I like the way it hurts / Just gonna stand there and hear me cry / But that's all right because I love the way you lie."
There is no shame in this industry. Consider that Rihanna was physically abused by fellow pop star Chris Brown. So she milked the attack to pump up her star power. But what message do young people take from this? The Chicago Sun-Times reported the video (starring actors Dominic Monaghan and Megan Fox) shows "an ugly cycle of domestic abuse --- graphically loving, fighting, drinking, shoplifting and ultimately burning down the house."
Burning down the house? That's because Eminem raps, "I just want her back / I know I'm a liar / If she ever tries to f---ing leave again / I'ma tie her to the bed and set the house on fire."
Like most rappers making no attempt at anger management, Eminem loads his songs with profanity and dares the radio programmers to try and bleep them all out. On his first new single "Not Afraid," Eminem used six F-bombs and three S-words in four minutes. That includes an "F-you for Christmas," an "F the world" and an "F the universe." That doesn't include the bonus usages of countless other vulgarities.
It's clear that the major "music" companies, desperate to ring up sales as their market collapses due to technological change, are refusing to exercise any restraint of any kind on these "artists" they sell. It travels way beyond hipster rebellion into a dark, loveless, violent underworld.
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