Youth Culture Window

Cool for the Summer

Dynamic ImageAn ex-Disney star releasing a sexually explicit song: surprising… or expected?

Demi Lovato’s music has always been fun and family-friendly. The former Disney star has even worked positive and encouraging messages into her songs from time to time. But her latest tune offers none of those qualities.

Hey, anything goes when “song of the summer” is on the line…. 

Melting Morals?
Demi Lovato knows what it’s like to be at the very top…and the very bottom. The super-talented actress/singer got her start on the Disney Channel sitcom, Sonny with a Chance and then went on to star in their Camp Rockfilms. Along the way, Lovato released music of her own and built a huge teen following, most of which were young girls.

But in late 2010, Lovato entered treatment for eating disorders, self-injury, drug abuse, and more. Sadly, her fall was a very public one and brought about the end of her relationship with Disney. But Lovato’s a fighter, and after a successful stint in rehab, she emerged stronger and released a great song entitled Skyscraper that talked about rising from the ashes. (We liked the song so much we developed a resource for our MUSIC DISCUSSIONS page using the tune as a great jump starter for one of Jesus’ most important teachings.)

Since then, Lovato has kept a fairly low profile. But her newest song, Cool for the Summer, will put her back in the spotlight…and crosshairs.

Here’s the first verse of her new song:

Tell me what you want, what you like
It’s okay I’m a little curious too
Tell me if it’s wrong if it’s right, I don’t care
I can keep a secret could you?

At first glance, it seems like she’s talking about a summer fling with that special someone – a very popular topic for today’s music. But as she moves into the chorus, she gets much more graphic in her description of desire:

Got my mind on your body and your body on my mind
Got a taste for the cherry I just need to take a bite
Don’t tell your mother kiss one another
Die for each other
We’re cool for the summer
Take me down into your paradise
Don’t be scared cause I’m your body type
Just something that we wanna try
Cause you and I
We’re cool for the summer

Regardless what you think of homosexual activity, you might be concerned about Lovato’s graphic sexual imagery (“Got a taste for the cherry… take me down into your paradise”), her lack of concern for any morality (“Tell me if it’s wrong if it’s right, I don’t care”), and her desire for secrecy (“I can keep a secret could you? …Don’t tell your mother”).

For those who missed the fact that she is describing “girl on girl”, there is no doubt. The teaser music video shows suggestive images and two bikini tops being thrown into a pool. On top of that, some music fans have accused Lovato of ripping off Katy Perry’s I Kissed a Girl, a song about a same-sex attraction. And when Lovato responded to those accusations, she didn’t deny the song’s meaning, she simply claimed that “more than one female artist can kiss a girl and like it.”

But homosexuality is still a highly controversial subject in the minds of many Americans. How will Lovato handle the repercussions of her musical (and sexual) decisions?

Actually, she tells us in the second verse:

Even if they judge
F**k it, I’ll do the time
I just wanna have some fun with you


Yeah, I hope we don’t catch this song/video playing on Disney Radio (it’s already in the top 20 of iTunes).

So, what happened to Demi? Did the summer heat get to her? Is this just a clever use of shock to try and regain relevance in the entertainment industry?

Or is this just another example of melting morals?

Perfect Timing…and Parents’ Responsibility
Lovato’s timing couldn’t be better…and I’m not talking about her rhythm. Her pro-homosexual tune comes on the heels of the historic ruling by the SCOTUS to legalize gay marriage in all fifty states. But it’s not just legislators who support gay marriage; according to a Gallup Poll, 55% of all Americans (and 78% of young Americans) also believe same-sex marriage should exist for members of the LGBT community. In other words, Demi has her finger on the nation’s pulse…and she’s synced her music to its desires.

That means parents and youth workers have their work cut out for them in communicating biblical truth in a “do what feels good” culture. Much could be said about this subject, but here are just a couple quick and practical suggestions for handling songs like Cool for the Summer.


  1. Always research what your kids are listening to. It takes about 6 minutes to read a song’s lyrics (on Google) and watch its accompanying music video (on YouTube). This is time well spent on behalf of your kids. Demi’s song is proof that artists can change more than just their tune. You can’t make any assumptions about a singer’s present based on their past. No matter how well you think you know an artist, and no matter what their track record has been, always take the time to investigate what messages they’re offering your kids.
  2. Engage your kids in biblically-based discussions about their response. Relax; you don’t have to be a theologian to have a faith-based conversation with your kids about “what the Bible says about homosexuality” (or any other subject). Simply look at how the topic intersects your kids’ lives and ask questions that lead them to discover truth on their own. Here are a few ideas for this particular song:
    • What do you think Demi’s song is about?
    • How does this song make you feel about Demi’s choices and morals?
    • In the song’s lyrics, Demi says, “Don’t tell your mother.” Is it a good thing to exclude parents from important decisions? Why?
    • Do you think that Demi is genuinely interested in another girl…or is she just trying to fit in with our culture’s new embrace of homosexuality?
    • What do you think God would say to Demi?
    • How would God have us pray for Demi?

In her latest song, Demi Lovato talks about staying “cool for the summer.” If we’re not careful, our children will turn into “fools for the summer.” Let’s not let that happen. Let’s inject ourselves into the conversation for the sake of our kids.


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for parents on his website Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.


  1. Elizabeth S.
    July 13, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    I very much appreciate your articles about the culture that our young people are immersed in. I am wondering if perhaps you could make it optional to read the lyrics etc. I believe your point could be made just as well without necessarily having to expose us to the most debased material I have ever come across. I frequently want to unsubscribe from your column because of this issue, and yet I want to know what is going on for the sake of our kids. Thank you for considering this.

  2. Jonathan McKee
    July 21, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Thanks for the comment Elizabeth. I appreciate your encouragement about our articles- I’m glad they are a help. I also applaud the fact that these lyrics disturb you. When the Apostle Paul saw all the idols in Acts 17:16,17, he was “distressed” with what he saw. I am frequently distressed with the lies the world believes. It’s even more difficult when we see today’s young people clinging on to these lies. I’m sure you would agree- our world is full of these distractions. It’s hard to even buy groceries without seeing promiscuous imagery and headlines on the magazines in plain view. It’s a tough course. We never want to lead people astray or introduce them to distractions, but at the same time, we want to be able to help them navigate the tumultuous waters they face each day. It’s a tension I discussed in my book, MORE THAN JUST THE TALK. Parents especially feel torn. They don’t want to tell “too much”, so… sadly… they end up telling “too little.” My hope is that we, as caring adults, can demonstrate an example where we aren’t entertained by those lyrics in our personal lives, but at the same time, we aren’t afraid to discuss them and point to truth (Read that entire Acts 17 passage, you’ll see Apostle Paul do that well). When our kids are engaging in discussions in their college dorms… I assure you those discussions will be far more explicit. It would be nice to prepare them to navigate these discussions in search of truth. We try to be very careful about what we post and link. We want to keep our readers informed, but at the same time we don’t want to cause them to stumble. This is a difficult balance… we appreciate your prayers as we walk that line. Our goal is to equip parents and youth workers with tools they can use to teach young people truth from the power of God’s Word. Thanks again for your feedback.

  3. Brandon
    July 21, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Another teen idol trying to prove she’s not a kid anymore. So sad. I wonder if they realize how many young kids– their fans– they are influencing?

  4. Jonathan McKee
    July 21, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    It’s a interesting question, Brandon. You do wonder if they ever ponder the influence they have. I can’t help but think of Matthew 18:6 in my own life with the decisions I make.

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