Why Do We Like Sad Songs?

Wilson County has written its fair share of sad songs like Been Away Way Too Long, another single from our upcoming album Bottom Of The Deck. Sadness is an emotion we usually try to avoid so why would anyone listen to sad songs? I would assume that sad songs make you sad, and everyone would rather be happy than sad so it makes no sense that anyone would want to listen. Right? 

Well, believe it or not, there are actually scientific reasons why we like to listen to sad songs! Now I'm not going to go all "scientific" on you here or try to tell you that we consciously based our sad songs in science, but as it turns out, the scientific reasons are things all of us are already somewhat familiar with but probably haven't given much thought.

Sad music can cause intense emotions, yet the type of sadness invoked by sad music also seems pleasing in its own way. Crazy huh? "Why," you ask? Well, a very long time ago this fairly well-known guy named Aristotle famously suggested the idea of catharsis: that by overwhelming us with an undesirable emotion (sad songs) somehow purges us of it. 

The emotional impact of music does not come from imparting particular emotions, but rather from being emotionally engaging in general. Sometimes sad songs do make you feel bad if they revive memories of your own tragic times, but more often they engage your interest because they describe or convey important events in the lives of others. The pleasure of engagement with intense negative emotions can be explained like this. The emotional engagement that the sad song provides usually comes without personal threat.  

We like songs that combine original music (that's us), appropriate lyrics (again, that's Wilson County), and superb performances (definitely Jeff on Been Away Way Too Long )  to evoke intense emotions. What matters is that the song has an emotional impact on the listeners. People are happy to like sad songs.

In light of this enlightening information, I am sure you will find Been Away Way Too Long engaging and as a result, it will have a significant emotional impact. Be looking for the release on February 26th!

Until next time friends, listen to some good tunes (preferably Wilson County), dance a step or two, SMILE, and be kind to everyone you encounter!


P.S. Please don't hesitate to leave your thoughts and/or comments below! ;-)


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