Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Album Review

Once upon a time, breaking into the music business required trekking from Dayton or Des Moines to Los Angeles or Nashville, paying your dues, living in squalor on a bus boy's tips, playing myriad gigs in dilapidated dives and hoping beyond hope that someone would take notice of just how talented you really were.

Then came the Internet.

A would-be superstar's odds of making it big arguably aren't much better today than they were back in the day. But the process, if you're really lucky, isn't nearly as tortured. Just record some creative covers of popular songs, upload them to YouTube and wait for critical cultural mass. That's the strategy Justin Bieber used. And it's the one 18-year-old Austin Mahone has employed too. "I would go on the iTunes chart and see the hottest songs, then I'd cover them," Mahone told Details last year. "People would go on YouTube and search for those songs. That's how I got my views."

It didn't hurt, of course, that Mahone sported a decidedly Bieber-esque hairdo. And a flair for the romantic. The comparisons don't end there. Like Bieber, Mahone was raised by a devoted single mom (after his father died). Like Bieber, Mahone comes from a family that values faith (he and his mom are regular attenders at their Catholic church in San Antonio, Tex.). Like Bieber, Mahone's growing YouTube presence eventually netted him a music contract (on Chase Records, a subsidiary of Universal Republic).

Like Bieber, Mahone's presence is often greeted by throngs of screaming young female fans—fans who are no doubt thrilled to finally be able to hear his big Secret.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

"Next to You" vows commitment while sweet-talking a would-be girlfriend ("Hey girl, you're one of a kind/Perfect as one can be/ … You'll never be alone, believe me/I will, I will/I will be next to you"). Loads more over-the-top romantic declarations fill "Can't Fight This Love," "All I Ever Need" and "The One I've Waited For." We hear lines like "Girl, I'm hooked for sure/I can't hide what I feel/ … Can't fight this love," "Believe me, you're everything/That just makes my world complete/ … You're all I ever need/Baby, you're amazing," and "It may be you and me for eternity/'Cause you are the one I've waited for/With this love, this love, this love."

On "Till I Find You," a young man says he's OK with letting his guard down and even abandoning his well-cultivated public image for the sake of a muse who mesmerized him, then disappeared ("Every minute I'm without you, I lose/'Cause an angel touched my heart and took my cool/Every second burns like fire/I'm doomed/ … Till I find you").

Objectionable Content

Several songs value young women just for their sultry looks. On "Next to You," for instance, Mahone croons, "Hey, girl, just look at you/So beautiful and drop-dead hot." Next up is "Mmm Yeah": "When I saw her/Walking down the street/She looked so fine." Elsewhere on that song, guest  Pitbull mentors Austin in the "fine" art of leering ("Mmm, mmm, yeah, yeah/She look so good but she bad, bad/You can see that back from the front, front/Booty like Kris Kross, jump, jump"). Meanwhile, several lines on "All I Ever Need" could be construed as a sexual come on when Mahone tells the object of his attention, "We can do anything you like/I know we both can get it right tonight/ … I can tell by looking in your eyes." That track compares a woman's influence to an intoxicating substance ("Baby, I'm addicted/You're like a drug, no rehab can fix it").

Mild rebellion creeps into "All I Ever Need" as Austin articulates his version of the no limits, no rules rock cliché: "Rock 'n' Roll one time, we'll make it up as we go/ … We can do whatever we want/When she walks past me, I say, hey, hey, hey." "Secret" flirts with naughtiness, too, as Mahone initiates a party in an abandoned house ("OK, we found this empty house/Hit the sirens, call 'em out/Get the homies round and round/Get loud") and suggestively tells a girl, "Yeah, there is nothing to hide/Tell me all your secrets tonight/ … Let the music free your mind, yeah."

Summary Advisory

The Secret serves as an unintentionally ironic title for Austin Mahone's second EP. After all, when it comes to teen heartthrobs, it's no secret at all what they'll sing about: doves and love and all that snuggly stuff. Sure enough, Mahone sighs and pines over the girl(s) of his dreams throughout these eight songs. Most of the content flows within the established banks of teenage twitterpation. Occasionally, however, youthful lust splashes over the boundaries, with Pitbull's shameless ogling representing the album's lowest lyrical level.

Austin Mahone still sees himself as a role model at this stage of his nascent career, of course, and he's talked about his responsibility to young fans not to push the envelope too far. "I get it," Austin told Details. "My fans are, like, from 2 to 21. I definitely want to please the parents." And after Austin posted a shirtless selfie of himself on Instagram last year, his mother, Michele (who co-manages his career) made him take it down. She said, "As a mom, I can't help but worry about what other moms would think when their daughters saw that picture. Austin's fans are so young."

But if it feels like you've heard all of this before, it's because you have. More times than you've wanted to. It's impossible not to recall similar things being said early on by the likes of Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus (right along with their parents) as their stars first zipped into the stratosphere. And we all know what happened next.

It pains me to end this review of mostly fluffy filler by sounding so serious about where Austin may be heading. But, sadly, there are enough clues in his tunes to justify it.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!