In September 2015, British pop musical singer Adele released the video for her song “Hello,” and her audiences were quintessentially by it. Kate Hudson admitted to shedding tears after listening to it. The tone of the song, the vocals, and her voice will leave you heartbreaking and hearting at the same time. Often when you feel low and destructed by emotions, you seek solace from tear jerkers like Travis, “Why Does it Always Rain on me” for uplifting.
Open individuals listen to music for sophistication; sad songs have got all to do with empathy. Let’s say you lost a match bet, or maybe your favorite football team did not win. You are then left filled with deep sorrow and the memories refuse to fade away. Maybe a Tobias Jesso Jr. “How Could You” will work out for your pensive state. Elton John stated that “When all hope is gone, sad songs say so much” and over time, research has proven him correct.
A lot of studies took place to examine why people listen to sad music and the reason for its popularity. This article will show some of the reasons as to why people love sad music.
Audiences have a unique way of identifying with a given song. Often, we relate to the emotions or the lyrics of the song and the kind of identification brought out help in relating to the current situations. The kind of connection made, help seek a cognitive appraisal and this in itself is fulfilling. Research has found out that listeners have developed a special way of identifying with their feeling. Sigur Ros, “Staralfur” tears many listeners every time they listen to it play, even though they barely get the lyrics. It is all about the connections. In Van den Tol studies, it was established that the kind of connection they make when listening to sad songs help sort them out.
The kind of message relayed in a song is important in seeking cognitive appraisal for listeners. Adele’s “Someone like you” is one of those songs that leaves the listeners yearning for more. The ability of the song to cut like a blade is mainly drawn from the weight of the message it conveys. Gloria Gaynor love truck “I will survive” hit the airwaves because of the kind of positive message audience derived from it.
- Aesthetic value
Music is often treated as a medicine for a sad situation. It is often used as a source of distraction in low moments or when one is overwhelmed with emotions. Therefore, beautiful music with a high aesthetic value serves as a good prescription. Research done by Van den Tol found out that music with aesthetic value is able to win over the hearts of listeners by letting them concentrate on it while deviating from the prevailing somber state.
Despite aesthetic value of music, studies have shown that too much consumption of sad songs is a way of people trying to avoid reality and this has got the detrimental effects. This is because it can result in poor psychological adjustments. We live in the present and therefore should be ready for it, whether it is good or bad.
- For triggering memory
Sad songs act as a good source for memory trigger. For example, dirges are performed to loved ones to try reviving the memories of good times they shared in the past events. What is important here is the memories and not moods like in the other scenarios.
- The mystery of being moved
Our fascination for sad music is often driven by the curious experience of feeling moved by the song. It is an internal self-felt process that connects with emotions and cannot be justified with any explanation. Therefore, not everyone will experience the feeling. It requires empathy and patient. For example, a pilot study on the Discovery of the Camp song performed by Michael Kamen in the drama ministries, Band of Brothers showed that a majority did not recognize it. This is because either they missed the plot or did not make the connections.
Sad music has been seen as unromantic and full of motions. A research done by students from Tokyo University of the Arts found out that “Music that is perceived as sad actually induces romantic emotion as well as sad emotion. And people, regardless of their musical training, experience this ambivalent emotion to listen to the sad music.” There is always a good feeling we derive from the music. So let us keep listening.