Home News Why We Like Sad Songs – Simon McCarthy-Jones

Why We Like Sad Songs – Simon McCarthy-Jones

by admin

November 27, 2021 8:51 AM

On November 19th it came out 30, the new album by Adele. Last month hundreds of millions of people had streamed her first single, Easy on me. This song evokes feelings that are not easy to put into words. But we can perhaps agree that this is a sad song.

It is not a given that we like this kind of music. Sadness is usually a feeling we try to avoid, this kind of music should be depressing and unpleasant to our ears. Instead it attracts us and cheers us up. But why does listening to sad music make us feel so good?

Let’s start with biological theories. When we experience loss firsthand or empathize with the pain of others, our body releases hormones such as prolactin and oxytocin that help us cope with emptiness and pain, because they make us feel calm, comforted and supported.

Perceiving Adele’s pain, or remembering ours, can trigger these chemical reactions within us. Clicking on an Adele song is like clicking on a metaphorical morphine drip.

But on this the verdict is not unanimous. According to a study, there is no evidence that sad music causes prolactin levels to rise. Other research, on the other hand, suggests that prolactin and oxytocin help make sad music give us a feeling of well-being.

The psychology of sad music
One of the main reasons we love sad songs is that they “move” us deeply. This experience is sometimes called kama muta, a Sanskrit term that means “moved by love”. Being moved can involve chills, goosebumps, a flood of emotions (including romantic ones), heat in the chest and euphoria.

See also  Baoji Municipal People's Government Portal Website Hotspot Concerns High-tech Zone Emergency Tracing Announcement

But why are we moved? The American writer James Baldwin came to this conclusion: “The things that tormented me most were the very things that united me with all the people who were alive, and all those who had been.” Likewise, commotion can come from suddenly feeling closer to others.

This may be why the people most likely to be moved by sad music are also those who have a high level of empathy. Indeed, after listening 30 we could search online for gods reaction video – videos released online showing how people react to TV series, movies, songs – to see how other listeners feel. This allows us to share an emotional experience, and sharing a feeling with a community of people increases the emotion and triggers a sense of belonging and comfort.

A suggestion somehow related to this reasoning is that Adele’s sad music can function as a friend and act as a social surrogate. Sad music can be an imaginary friend who supports and empathizes with us after a loss.

The emotion can also be triggered by the memory of important moments in our life. Adele’s songs are very nostalgic. So in reality it could be nostalgia, and not sadness, the emotion that makes us feel good.

In fact, only 25 percent of people who listen to this genre of music say they feel sad. Others experience different emotions, often related, and most of the time nostalgia: a feeling that contributes to the growth of our sense of social connection, to mitigate the feeling that things do not make sense and to reduce anxiety.

A completely different kind of psychological theory holds that songs like Adele’s are emotional training grounds, safe and controlled spaces where we can explore a simulation of sadness. In short, the emotional equivalent of Neo training with Morpheus in the film Matrix.

Simulated sadness allows us to experience and learn. We can improve our empathy, learn to see things better from the perspective of others, and try to react to sadness, so that we can be a little more prepared when we find ourselves facing a difficult time in our life. These instructive experiences may have evolved to be enjoyable and easier to use.

It is also possible that Adele’s songs are not liked because they are sad or nostalgic, but simply because they are beautiful. Sadness could therefore coincide with beauty. There are those who argue that witnessing virtuous actions or something beautiful can touch us, move us and inspire us.

And then we can take into consideration the cultural aspect: Adele in her songs talks about difficult experiences and helps us to get over it. That’s exactly what tragic art does: it takes the pain, suffering and sadness of the world and gives them meaning. As the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said: “Who has a because to live can endure almost any come”.

commercial break

In short, Adele’s songs can have a different meaning for each of us. We listen to sad music when we want to reflect, feel part of a community or relax. We listen to it to experience beauty, to receive comfort or to abandon ourselves to memories.

But what Adele’s songs tell everyone is: you are not alone in your pain. They allow us to feel his pain, to share our suffering and to connect with other people from the past and present. And beauty is contained in the sharing of our humanity.

(Translation by Davide Musso)


You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy