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Blog: Music and Uncomfortable ‘Love’

Updated: Mar 2

Music has always been a huge passion for me, from musicals to folk / indie and pop. I lose myself in the lyrics and listening to music that sounds beautiful, calming, upbeat and feel good (or that I connect with) is so powerful.

I will shake my butt a little moving around my home (!!) when I have it on and will lie in bed chilling and almost sink into it, becoming engrossed and captured by how gorgeous it sounds. Lyrics and meaning have been important to me from a young age and when someone is singing quickly or riffing and every word may not translate clearly to me, I want to search lyrics online and understand what is being said! Especially if I like the song!

Empowering and upbeat tunes are fantastic, as are songs with attitude and feistiness, for me. My favourite songs are quite varied and, often, they remind me of certain times in my life. Listening to music is a form of escapism for me and losing myself in it has always connected to trauma and mental health – which has been largely good, but can also be a bad thing.

There are songs I can relate to that I will listen to if I’m wanting to connect with pain in some way. There is a rabbit hole I now realise I’m starting to go down when it happens.

Most of the time though, music can positively affect my mood and outlook. Dance music makes me happy and when I listen to songs from musicals, I wish I could sing like that! When a singer hits an incredible note and it sounds phenomenal, I am in awe. Kelly Clarkson is an example of this literally ALL THE TIME. Pink I love. Adele, Birdy, Eva Cassidy’s version of ‘Songbird’…. The last couple of days I listened to some songs by Fiona Apple (who I don’t know much about), She and Him, Camila Cabello, Pitbull, Fleetwood Mac, Maggie Lindemann / Cheat Codes, the Vaccines, Nahko… I am not referring to these artists or songs when I mention discomfort.

Sometimes I will listen to pop lyrics and feel unease in my body and soul. I love the voices and artists, think the tunes are catchy, songs well written, great beat, awesome transitions from high to low notes, a softness, a real soul to the voice.. but my feelings still don’t disperse.

There are lots of songs, it seems, about intense and volatile relationships. The feeling that ‘no one will love me like ….’ or ‘no one will love you like I do’. This can be an emotionally abusive and coercive statement used to control.

Abuse is abhorrent and we don’t know the truth on what or who is being written about, if it’s reality, symbolic in some way or if there is a level of sarcasm in statements being made. We don’t always understand the intent.

Lyrics, at times, can feel like poetry – beautiful, thought provoking and open to interpretation. They can also be sending a wider message, but (as a person who tends to over think things) could also not be that deep!

What gives me this unease is the concept of these pleasure / pain ‘relationships’. The idea of living on a knife edge and that relationships don’t mean anything without that level of emotional heat.

This is not love and I wouldn’t want people listening to lyrics and striving for this, at best, nasty push and pull, and, at worst, abuse. The idea that jealousy means he cares and that exhausting on /off relationships are, somehow, healthy.

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