By Riley Cable
High school is filled with a whirlwind of emotions. It’s extremely easy to be so happy one minute and so sad the next. Being sad is a totally normal feeling, and given how 2020 has played out, it’s okay if you’re feeling on the down side. However, why do people continue to make themselves feel even sadder? Why do people put on their “Feelings Playlist” and drive around in the rain? Why don’t people turn on their favorite, happy song in hopes of lifting their spirits? This provokes the question of do people like to stay upset or is a reason for playing sad music?
For some, listening to sad songs can actually make them feel better. Hearing others singing about issues even worse than their own allows them to realize they’re okay. It’s easy to think that your issues are the worst things going on in the world, and it’s even hard to imagine that anyone else is going through anything remotely close. Comparing your situation to others can really help you feel better about yourself, and it puts things into perspective that things will get better over time.
“Listening to sad music makes me feel better because singing along and really listening to the lyrics puts me in a better mood,” junior Molly Russel said. “Sometimes it does make me sad thinking about the people singing about their own problems though.”
Rather than sad music helping some feel better about themselves, some use these low energy songs to connect and feel less alone. If you’re sad with a heartbreak, it might be helpful to hear someone else going through the same thing. Despite our world being so social and connected, teens can feel even more alone than ever. With music at your fingertips, there is ample opportunity to connect with someone without actually talking about what’s going on. Psychology Today explains that maybe people don’t want to stay sad, but actually allowing themselves to feel their emotions and go through the experiences with someone else can help in their attempt to get better over time. Sadness is an entirely healthy emotion, and sometimes it is completely necessary to have a good cry on the journey to happiness.
“When I’m sad, I tend to listen to happy music to raise my mood a bit and make the energy better,” senior Vanessa Soltysek said. “Sadness isn’t a pleasant emotion, so if I have an opportunity to change my mood, then I’ll try. However, if I do listen to sad music, it sometimes can also make me feel better because the artist portrays my emotions when I can’t.”
Sometimes listening to sad music isn’t even meant to be a bad experience, but rather it invokes emotions and brings out nostalgia. Nostalgia is a bittersweet feeling. It can be a positive thing to think about the good times, and allows you to reflect on the past. Being nostalgic gives a person time to regulate their emotions, and it may take away some of the initial pain and anger. Overtime, it may inspire empathy and peace within a particular situation.
Although it is much harder to turn on an upbeat song when you’re down, that might be what is necessary. In a study done by The Conversation, the participants, even those who were highly depressed, who listened to a song that made them happy felt much better afterwards. Finding a song that specifically caters to what is making you sad could also be beneficial. If you’re struggling with body image, maybe listen to “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction, or if you’re trying to get over a relationship, listen to “We Are Never Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift. There are so many songs out there that can make you happier in times of sadness; the hardest step is just to actually press play, but it’ll be worth it when you do.
“I feel like my mood reflects on my music because music is a language as it is, and when we find one fluent in our current language, we bond,” senior Jordan Castro said. “Sad music is a very broad term on the spectrum of music, but to answer, yes. I find when I’m feeling a certain way, the reflecting music that I play helps!”
Whether you need to wallow, or you want to skip ahead to the good times again, music is there. Lucky for you, there is so much music out there, and there are so many artists going through similar things to you. It’s important to feel your emotions, and music is a great way to feel things- both good and bad. It’s okay if you need to take a moment to just cry in your room before getting back to normal, but also remember, it’s okay to talk to people, and you don’t need to handle life alone.