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A new study analyzed top 40 songs for lyrics related to alcohol. 

Elisabeth Sherman
August 07, 2017

When you’re at a friend’s party or dancing in a nightclub, chances are the song you’re raising a glass to probably also references drinking or getting drunk. But how often do these lyrics appear in mainstream music? A new study has compiled all the references to drinking in popular music for more than a decade.

Better Addition Care (hoping to gain insight into music’s effect on addition) analyzed lyrics from the top 40 charting songs on the Billboard Hot 100 from 2004 to the present using a list of 111 drinking-related terms.

Courtesy of Better Addiction Care

The top five most-used drinking references were “club,” “drink,” “drunk,” “bottle,” and “bar” (in that order). The word club appeared 475 times (counting multiple uses of the same term in one song), compared to the word sober, which appeared in just six songs out the total 2,133 songs analyzed.

Of the 50 songs with the most drinking references (which the researchers ranked by the number of unique drinking references), 28 came from the hip-hop genre, while the rest were split between pop, R&B, and country. However, of those top 50 songs, pop songs contained more unique references to drinking on average than any other genre. 

Courtesy of Better Addiction Care

The songs that reference drinking the most probably won’t be surprising to most people: “Buy You a Drank,” by T-Pain made the list, as did “Love in This Club,” by Usher and “Cheers (Drink to That) by Rihanna. 

Courtesy of Better Addiction Care

One of the most surprising revelations from the team at Better Addiction Care is that the songs that came out in 2004 had the highest number of drinking references, but since then the “average number of drinking references per song is trending down year by year.” That could mean songs about drinking have actually been losing popularity.

Courtesy of Better Addiction Care

However, you won’t be quite as shocked to learn that drinking references in songs sky rocket during the summer, given that it’s the season of vacations, glasses of rosé outdoors, and general drinking-related antics under the sun. Even if we start hearing fewer and fewer lyrics about drinking in the future, those songs will probably never disappear in entirely, especially in those warmer months, when most people are happiest throwing together a party playlist and enjoying a beer on the beach.