Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Secret of Sad Songs

There is something therapeutic about sad songs, I have always known that. Once, when I was recovering from a relationship that never took off except in my head, I healed myself with Talat Mahmood's sad songs, a singer I had never before, or after, heard with so much attention. I heard the songs so often that I had memorized the lyrics of each one of them. Even now, I have a soft spot for each of his songs, even though I can't listen to them more than once.

Recently, I met a person who said that he heard only sad songs for over two years after his marriage failed. He couldn't bear to hear any other type of music. Now he has switched back to romantic songs and has no interest in songs that were his friends for years. No rewards for guessing why.

But why are sad songs therapeutic? Of course, one of the reasons is that they resonate with one's state of mind. But I think they do more than that. Grief is one emotion that needs articulation before it can be accepted and absorbed, but it's hard to articulate when you are gasping for breath. Listening to sad songs is like having someone else articulate your grief, someone way more articulate than you. Personally, as someone who reads and writes poetry, it is like finding a poem that tells my story almost as if the poet knew me intimately.

And there is another thing- sad songs allow you to explore your grief from many angles and expose it so much that there is no hidden pain left inside undiscovered, no chance of your being surprised or hurt by a sentiment out of the blue.

Sad songs exhaust your grief. That's their secret, and magic!


  1. When I am sad, I write poetry. To get it all out....

    And I listen to ROCK MUSIC!!!

    1. Yes Gautami. Poets like you write when they are sad and the rest of us heal ourselves reading their poetry or listening to their songs.

  2. spot on! when i'm feeling down i cannot bear to listen to an upbeat song-for the time i was away from my husband all he listened to was "you are so far away from me" by dire straits. so any genre but has to be sad :)about an hour ago. in BIT Ranchi anytime we heard Chaatu music coming out of a room we knew we had to provide some extra TLC to a broken heart! itney chaat gaane sunete the hostel mein By GOD