“What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?”
From the film High Fidelity, based on the novel by Nick Hornby
Of course the misery follows the music, Rob! It’s SISO – sadness in, sadness out. You ingest misery, and you give your brain lots of negative stuff to process.
I used to listen to sad songs and let the melancholy move me – just as I used to read earnest, but usually depressing, books (especially Booker Prize winners and short-listers) and watch serious-minded films with pointlessly tragic endings. And I used to feel very sad. Way sadder than I feel these days with my generally gloom-free diet. There’s a lot of genuine tragedy in the world that should be faced. But for me, I’ll have my pop culture misery-free, thanks.
If you’re looking for a dose of feel good music video, here are my three faves. (You can view them from my vodpod at the bottom of the sidebar.)
No Rain (Blind Melon).
I just love love love how the little tap-dancing outcast finally finds the place where she belongs. How many of us take off the bumble bee outfit and quit dancing instead of enduring the blank stares and persevering in expressing who we are? I totally identify with that little girl. She’s one of my role models.
Digging in the Dirt (Peter Gabriel)
OK, so if you’re halfway through and watching decaying bodies and angry family holidays you may be questioning my sanity about now. But stick it out and you’ll see how the pain of life eventually gives way to something better. The final image [HEAL] is my favourite.
Teenage Dirtbag (Wheatus)
If the third-act turning point of the girl asking the boy to an Iron Maiden concert doesn’t melt your stone-cold heart, then I hope you’ll at least appreciate the subtle wit of using fruit for percussion. A flash of genius, wouldn’t you say?