BY LILY BAZIS
Music is undeniably an integral part of everyday life. Whether it is being listened to through a car radio or streamed through a phone, humans are surrounded by music, and are simultaneously being filled with or reminded of emotions as they listen.
Music subconsciously triggers an emotional response in people. From upbeat jams to sorrowful breakup songs, certain tunes just have that ability to take over emotions, whether they are positive or negative.
Many people seek relief and relaxation through music, which can be brought about in several ways, depending on the person. While many find that sad music puts them into a dark place mentally, others argue that it has the ability to provide pleasure and comfort in one’s life.
People also tend to listen to music that reflects their mood at the given time, whatever that mood may be. According to Healthline News, a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that “people tend to prefer sad music when they are experiencing a deep interpersonal loss, like the end of a relationship”.
To these people, the sad music is seen almost as an empathetic friend, someone who knows and understands exactly what they are feeling at that time. When an artist performs a somber song, they are releasing their emotions to the world, knowing that someone can most likely relate to their experiences. Songs tell a story and people tend to relate to those that tell their own story and share similar personal experiences.
A great example of this would be Adele’s “Someone Like You”, in which Adele says goodbye to an old relationship in hopes of finding something just as extraordinary. Anyone who has lost a relationship that was very important to them can relate to Adele when she sings about finding something just as good, and in turn relate it back to their own lives. All of this, to hopefully find peace and closure through the melancholy song.
Though the connection of music and emotion may be very strong, Professor Adrian North, Head of School of Psychology and Speech Pathology at Curtin University, told The Huffington Post Australia that “it’s not so strong you can use it as a way to change your mood. In other words, blasting ‘MmmBop’ at a grumpy person will not cheer them up”.
While this may be true to a certain extent, it cannot be entirely proven that music has no affect on a person’s mood. Freshman Haley Halvorsen believes that music is definitely capable of influencing mood. She mentions that she has “a playlist of upbeat songs that I listen to when I’m upset, angry, or anxious; it helps me feel more positive and relaxed”.
Music is also a form of therapy, with researchers in the World Journal of Psychiatry concluding “that music is a valid therapy to potentially reduce depression and anxiety, as well as to improve mood, self-esteem, and quality of life.”
Music touches everyone in some way. An upbeat road trip playlist, a somber piano ballad and everything in between create moments and connects us with others. Music can be an escape from reality, giving people the power to feel exactly what they want to feel.