an article by Sondos Salama
Music is an artform that has been used for as long as man has existed. Whether it is music without a person singing or a song with lyrics, the combination of sounds and voice has always held a certain power to it. Some songs were passed down from generation to generation even before recording was invented and they still live on to this day. Each culture has a different style of music and even some instruments that are unique to the region. Music is also used as a medium of eliciting a certain emotional response from the listener. Songwriters often like to channel their experiences into their songs and this, in turn, helps the listener develop a stronger connection to the song itself.
It is by relating the song’s premise to the listener’s life that music leaves its biggest impact. For example, when people listen to the song ‘Heather’ by Conan Gray, they might feel very sad and may even cry. This is because the feeling of loving someone and them not loving you back is unfortunately a very common feeling. That is the reason this song triggers such a strong emotional response. At other times, some songs can make you empathize with the character in the song without you having been through the same events. In the song ‘Champagne Problems’, Taylor Swift paints the picture of a person rejecting a marriage proposal that had been prepared by their partner. This rejection doesn’t come from a place of hatred, but rather that they don’t feel the love they used to feel for this person anymore. Now this experience is not very common and yet still also makes the listener feel a very deep sense of sorrow for both parties. You may never have been in the situation, but you can still imagine it.
This is where music and storytelling work hand-in-hand to create vivid images. Through those words and those beats, even people who have never been in love can get a taste of it. People who have never had their heart broken can lay on their bed and stare at their ceiling, imagining scenarios where everything is much grander than it is in reality, where life is a movie, and they are the main character. This is where music goes from being a form of self-expression on the singer’s part, to being a form of escapism on the listener’s. When listening to music, we like to go through the emotion of the song as if we are the singer themselves. Often, people arrange playlists with songs in an order that take them through a journey, much like a musical.
This has been going on for generations but now, young people are seeking more refuge in music to get away from the boredom and redundance of their daily lives especially with the COVID-19 situation and being in quarantine. Why sit down and overthink every aspect of your life that doesn’t really satisfy you when you can easily just put on a playlist and go through an epic journey of love and loss and friendship, all without having to actually see any of it? You can listen to ‘Honeypie’ by JAWNEY and feel like you’re driving down a street with all the windows down and the cool air blowing on you with the one you love. You can listen to ‘Ribs’ by Lorde and pretend like you are making all these memories with friends who you probably haven’t seen in a couple of months. You can listen to “jealousy, jealousy” by Olivia Rodrigo and think about how little you feel compared to all the people who are ‘cooler’ than you. Maybe you can even listen to “Oblivion” by Bastille and just feel empty because anything is better than boredom.
All of this is to say that music has become less of a source of entertainment and more of a place that we can all go to when we feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed by our current lives. Social media is nice and all but sometimes, turning up a song and sitting in your room on your own is enough to go on an adventure.