JACQUES: Sad music has a time and place but if you’re in that mood, artists like Rod Wave…
And Kid Cudi’s somber hums are there to lift you up.
JACQUES: But why do we listen to sad songs when we’re down?
DR. LIILA TARUFFI: They are allowed to express their own emotions so they experience a sort
of catharsis or venting of the negative emotional experience through music.
JACQUES: That’s Dr. Liila Taruffi, a music researcher at Durham University in the UK.
She is the co-author of a 2014 study, "The Paradox of Music-Evoked Sadness: An Online
Survey," where she found that quote.
JACQUES: Dr. Taruffi’s research showed that
people seek out sad music for obvious situations.
DR. LIILA TARUFFI: For most of the people they tend to seek sad music when they are feeling
some sort of emotional distress.
When they’re going through a break up, loss of a person as well as the death of a
person as well as stress at work.
JACQUES: And it can make us feel happier.
DR. LIILA TARUFFI: People get a sort of comfort from the music as if it were a surrogate from
an emphatic friend.
People feel like they’re sharing their negative emotional experience with someone else.
JACQUES: But I wanted a real world take on this so I pinged a few colleagues to see what
*Laugh* MIKEY: * “Sir!
BRIANA: Do I look at the camera or look at you?
JACQUES: Look at me BRIANA: Hey!
JACQUES: When do you listen to sad music?
MATT: I listen to sad music all the time.
BRIANA: When I’m in my feels I’m feeling sad. In a way, yeah, it does sorta make me feel better.
MIKEY: On gloomy days the first thing I’m putting on is like quote unquote sad music.
DELISA: It makes me feel seen and like I’m not alone.
JACQUES: Dr. Taruffi says feeling ‘seen’ is called ‘emotional communion.’
DR. TARUFFI: When a person feels they can share their emotional experience with an author
of a song and this idea that somebody else in the world is having the same life circumstances
or emotional experience seems to be a great source of comfort.
JACQUES: And my colleagues agreed.
BRI: I feel better because I’m connecting with whoever is singing the sad song and I’m
like, ‘Man, we’re just sad together.’
MATT: My friends have always been like if you’re sad, why do you listen to sad music?
I’m like it’s an experience you just gotta go through it.
DELISA: A song when I’m going through any type of break up. ‘Nobody’
by Mitski is probably like top 2 and it’s not 2.
BRI: Lately when I’m feeling down, I just
want to relish that feeling lately I’ve been listening to “Cellophane” by FKA Twigs.
MATT: “Real Love” by Beach House.
MATT: When I was going through some love problems back in college,
I always go back to that one.
JACQUES: But Dr. Taruffi says one person's sad song can be another's happy song.
DR. TARUFFI: What you made of that song, what that song represented for you in your life,
that counts more at the end of the day.
JACQUES: But apparently listening to a song after a break up is not always the best idea.
GUY WINCH: If you’re trying to get over someone, do you want to evoke all those feelings
and associations or not is a question you should be asking yourself.
JACQUES: That’s Guy Winch, author of “How To Fix A Broken Heart.”
He told us that a tough break up affects us in the brain.
GUY: The withdrawals of romantic love is the same as the withdrawal of opioids for an addict.
You are jonesing for a fix, nothing matters to you more than getting a fix of that person.
JACQUES: With that context, it’s easy to understand why so many lyrics about heartbreak
deal with a feeling of being near death - like Ali Gatie’s “Losing You.”
And Kanye West’s “Heartless.”
JACQUES: And why people could grow callous
towards love - as explained on Rod Wave’s 2016 cut “Heartbreak Hotel.”
JACQUES: Guy believes music after a break up
could be either good thing...
GUY: You’re using it as a way to say goodbye to the person separating and really coming
to terms with the fact that it’s over it can be useful.
JACQUES: Or a bad thing...
GUY: But if you’re listening to that song a month later and you’re still associating it with
the person who broke your heart,
it’sgoing to be painful and it's really going to set you back.
JACQUES: But all in all, time heals all wounds - best explained by Lil Uzi Vert.
I’m Jacques Morel with Genius News,
bringing you the meaning and the knowledge behind the music.