Music Changes Moods : The Psychological Side Of Listening To Music

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I think we’re all aware of it, but we don’t really say it. Or at least, I haven’t said it, until now. Music has a correlation to our feelings and really can change our moods over time. Music has more of impact on us then we lead ourselves to believe. We listen to music, we enjoy what we listen to, but we don’t really think of the impact the music has on us. Now, I wanted to see if this truly was the case for me, so I went and listened to different types of artists and after, I was done, I realized that its crazy startling true.

Now, I started this by listening to every upbeat Michael Jackson song, I could think of. I wanted to start this feeling happy, so I picked the King Of Pop. Automatically, I was feeling joyful and happy. Automatically, I felt like dancing from the production of the songs. Yes, I felt like dancing. Some of the songs that brightened me up were Wanna Be Starting Something, The Way You Make Me Feel, Remember The Time and Billie Jean. Of course, many more songs made me feel like dancing, but these songs in particular.

Yes, if you’ve read some of my other posts, I am a huge Michael Jackson fan and It’s not shocking that, I was instantly happy  from his discography, but its crazy that the music I listen to, has an actual correlation to my own feelings. I mean, why does listening to Wanna Be Startin’ Something make me happy? I don’t really know the answer to that, but it does. Now the odd thing is that, I can listen to Michael Jackson’s sad songs, but still feel happy too.

Some people do listen to sad music when they’re sad to feel better because the music relates to their feelings, but for me it’s more that in Michael Jackson sad songs, I don’t go into it and listen to it when, I feel sad. I go into these songs because I appreciate the vocals and production more than I care for the lyrics of the song. So, when I listen to songs like All I Need, You Are Not Alone and She’s Out Of My Life, I’m taking more of an appreciation in the vocals than taking in the content of the song. And when, I’m listening to his upbeat tracks. I take in the production and vocals more than the lyrics which makes me feel like dancing.


Now since, I was on a happy, upbeat natural high from listening to Michael Jackson’s upbeat tracks from his discography, I wanted to dramatically change things by listening to Nirvana. I thought about which song, I wanted to listen to first and I finally decided on the song Dumb. Instantly, I felt like I was on a bus looking out the window like, I was in a movie scene.


I think that, I went from dancing to wanting to reflect on my life because of the emotions, production and lyrics in the song Dumb. Every time, I heard the violin being played in the song, I felt more and more somber and gloomy and of course because of Kurt Cobains vocals.

And with lyrics like, I think, I’m dumb, maybe just happy and I’m not like them, I can pretend, It just made me think. Like, what do these lyrics even mean? And what did Kurt Cobain mean by them? And why do, I feel somber from this? And why is this having an effect on my feelings? Now after, I listened to Dumb, I listened to Come As You Are and Rape Me and my feelings stayed somber and reflective, but I wanted to take things a step further on the emotional scale.

So, I then listened to two Smith songs, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out and How Soon Is Now, Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart and Bush’s Glycerine. I picked these songs because their emotional, broody tracks that are slow and unhappy. My feelings after listening to this songs went from somber to complete melancholy. When, I started listening to The Smiths, Joy Division and Bush, I just wanted to lay down, listen to the music and just think. I felt joyless, but in a weird relaxing way where it just made me want to think.


I wanted to just lay down and think because the songs were a lot more somber and I was taking in the lyrics in the song more than the production, opposite of what, I was doing with Michael Jackson. As well, in the song Glycerine by Bush, there is a violin being played in the background, just like in Nirvana’s dumb creating a more emotional aura. Now, when it comes to emotions, Joy Division and The Smiths take the cake.

Morrissey, who was the lead singer of The Smiths and Ian Curtis, who was the lead singer of Joy Division both have vocals that just emotionally connect with you. Just like how Kurt Cobain’s vocals connected with me on Dumb, Come As You Are and Rape Me. Deep meaningful lyrics, mixed with strong vocals and somber production just makes me think. I don’t usually feel sad when, I listen to sad music, I just think more. I don’t think about sad thoughts, sometimes, I do, but usually it’s just thoughts about life and what these lyrics mean to me. Thinking makes me understand that there’s something deeper in the music than just what’s on the surface.

So from listening to Michael Jackson and feeling like, I want to dance, to listening to The Smiths and just wanting to lay down and think, I realized that listening to music really does have a correlation to our feelings and really can change our moods.

Now since this truly is the case, if you listen to somber music over and over again and you aren’t really sad, can the music change you’re actually mood to actually being sad over time? Considering the difference between a feeling and mood is that a feeling doesn’t last very long, but a mood does. Then again, there’s always that part that doesn’t seem to make complete sense to me. People can listen to sad music, but feel happy and vis versa. Just like, how I don’t really feel like sad listening to Michael Jackson’s sad emotional songs.

This because music will always be subjective, but if all you do is listen to happy music, overtime the feelings of happiness from the songs you listen to should keep your mood at happy. And if you listen to somber music, overtime the feelings of gloominess will be your overall mood. Which, wouldn’t be really healthy for your mental health, but just like things in life only you can be the judge of that, but there most definitely is a psychological side to listening to music and if you don’t know, now you know.


From The 6ix,With Love

Thank You For Reading

Sincerely, Kid From The 6ix

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