Every so often, scientists divert valuable resources from cold fusion and time-travel research to much lamer studies about, for example, how much sex and drugs are in pop music. In that vein, from the Netherlands today comes the breaking news that children who listen to “unconventional music” — defined here as hip-hop, punk, and trance — are more likely to become delinquents.
After tracking the listening habits of 300 school children aged 12 to 16, the Early Adolescent Music Preferences and Minor Delinquency study found that those who listened to Justin Bieber or high-brow stuff like Beethoven turned out to be model citizens. On the other hand, kids on that Bauhaus and Jay-Z tip were more likely to commit crimes. As the Atlantic notes “kids who liked rock music at age 12 were relatively well-behaved, but were more likely to engage in bad behavior at 16.” According to the study, goth kids and hip-hop heads were also more likely to commit small crimes such as vandalism and shoplifting as opposed to their One Direction-listening classmates.
What’s interesting is that listeners of mainstream pop are more likely to be law-abiding teenagers, yet as seen in the Russian study we alluded to above, most mainstream pop songs are littered with references to sex and drugs. The candy-coated method in which those pop songs are delivered must, then, diffuse their innately deviant messages as opposed to when hip-hop or punk songs espout those same themes via more aggressive sounds. Or maybe all these studies are just loads of bullshit.