Unhealthy Relationship Songs (Surprise, Hip Hop and R&B Don’t Do So Well)
I remember loving Guy’s song in the 1990s, “Piece of My Love.” My boyfriend at the time used to shake his head in disbelief when I would sing it and suggest that it was our song. He was like, “you know the song is about a man basically telling one of his side chicks that she can only have part of him.” Of course, I knew the words but hadn’t quite internalized the meaning. Suffice it to say, I never quite enjoyed the song as much after that point.
At least seven of the 10 songs are hip hop and R&B. Usher tops the #1 and #2 most unhealthy relationship ingredients list with Rihanna (two dishonorable mentions), Eminem, Chris Brown, Kesha, and Cee Lo Green rounding out the list. And even teen heartthrob Justin Bieber gets a mention.
So what constitutes unhealthy relationship ingredients?
The list was compiled by members of the BPHC Start Strong Initiative, a program designed to prevent teen abuse. Start Strong members analyzed songs from Billboard’s “Hot 100″ chart (a record of the top 100 songs purchased, played on the radio, and streamed online) and scored the songs using the Sound Relationships Nutritional Label, a tool that helps evaluate how healthy – or unhealthy – songs are. Unhealthy songs contain elements of drama, possession/obsession, disrespect and manipulation in relationships. Healthy songs promote fun, support, respect, equality and trust in relationships.
I wonder how Guy’s “Piece of My Love” would have scored?
To be sure, the BPHC also provides a list of its Top 10 Songs with Healthy Relationship Ingredients. Hip hop and R&B didn’t fare so well.
Music matters. It influences our thinking, especially young impressionable teens looking for a meaning behind the lyrics.
It is easy to dismiss music, and other forms of pop culture, as mere entertainment or art. But when you consider how much media we consume and you factor in other negative images, like the high incidences of sexualized teens on television, or the dearth of strong female role models in Hollywood, it is hard to dismiss the effects it can have on the children who are exposed to it.
Next time, listen to the words.