Can I tell you a secret? I write a lot of sad songs (sorry if you were expecting a juicier secret!). I’m even working on an album called “Quarter-Life Crisis” to showcase some of the harder things I have been working through over the past few years (for me, a lot of it has been related to my experiences in motherhood). And though I have never personally been diagnosed with depression or anything like that, I have always been a person with a lot of feelings, and making music out of these less happy experiences and thoughts, has been an incredible journey for me personally. And because I love writing sad songs…I would like to make a case for why sad songs are so important. I recognize that this isn’t a controversial topic by any means, and there is not an active anti-sad song movement for me to rebel against with this statement...Nevertheless,
I want to share some of my thoughts on why sad songs matter.
1. Sad songs provide a space for your own sadness.
Sometimes you just need to fully feel the feeling(s) that you are in. And music can help you do that. Music can give your sadness a space. A place to sit for a while, while you process whatever it is that you are going through. Blasting out a song about loss or heartache that resonates with what you are feeling (or have felt) can be extremely cathartic, and help to carry some of that emotional heaviness. Is there anything worse than hearing an over-the-top happy song when you are sad? When something is hard, you are not ready to have musical sunshine shoved down your ears. Sad songs show us that we as human beings have depth, and are not just one thing. Sad songs can sort of give you permission to be exactly where you are, whatever emotional state that is.
2. Sad songs help you know you are not alone.
There’s a reason that support groups are a thing! When you know you are not the only one that has ever gone through what you are going through, or felt the way you have felt, this plugs you into your humanity, and brings an important sense of connection. The fact that other people create art that echos feelings you feel yourself means that there are other people that understand. And for some reason, that fact alone can be like a giant hug of healing. Other people thought the same (or similar) topic was worth singing about, validating that what you are going through is real, and matters. Sad songs say we all face hard things. We all cry. We all feel something more through the act of just being alive.
3. Sad songs show that something beautiful can be made out of something difficult.
Sad songs are an incredible symbol of beauty from the ashes. People took their pain and turned it into music. Something ugly, something hard, was transformed into something bigger. It doesn’t mean the sadness necessarily goes away all together, but there is a hope in seeing pain pointed in purpose, becoming something more, something profound beyond a difficult thing stuck in your way. On a subconscious level, I think when we hear sad songs we can recognize that we can create something meaningful out of the difficult things that we experience. That although life will always have its ups and downs, and things that we cannot control, we do have some say in what we do with the chaos and heartache thrown our way. We can choose to see beauty, learn something, create meaning.