In Our Feelings: Escapism Through Music

Morgan Bluma, Web Staffer

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Recently, I asked on social media for anyone to send me songs that they felt enabled powerful emotion. I did not specify what kind of emotion because songs can incite all types of emotion, not just sad or happy. Ideally, all music and songs should evoke intense emotion so I wanted to see what people would immediately think of if asked. I was actually shocked at the amount of people that reached out to me. Music seems to get people talking which I can agree with since I write about it every two weeks. Here are just some of the songs that people reached out to tell me about:

I had one person tell me to listen to “Best Part” by Daniel Caesar featuring H.E.R. They told me they felt this song is so loving and lighthearted that it just makes them want to jam and love others. If you look at the lyrics, it is just that: a very heart felt declaration of love to their significant other. This song essentially is this lovey-dovey type of emotion. The entire song is about how one another are the most important people in each other’s lives. It is quite a romantic song that does more than just make someone feel happy. Rather, the emotion of being wanted and needed in someone else’s life which can be very uplifting.

I had someone else tell me to listen to “Postcard” by Troye Sivan featuring Gordi (keep in mind, I asked this the night Troye Sivan was in DC for a concert). This song is straight from the artists experience of when his boyfriend never received a postcard he had sent him from Tokyo. It’s a very amusing story and honestly humorous. On the other hand, this song depicts what it can be like to be more invested in a relationship than another and how that affects you emotional. That’s an emotion one really cannot simplify. Plenty of people have been in a situation where they are more emotional involved than the other. This can be seen in romantic relationships or friendships.

I had another person tell me to consider “Gods Medicine” by John Mooreland. This person explained the personal attachment they had for this song. The artist talks about falling out of love which is a real problem for this generation where we are in love for about three months and then we just fall out of love for reasons unknown to most. The slow melody and raspiness of this artist’s voice seem to evoke an emotional response from anyone who listens. This person believes that the persona is falling out of love with being alive and then forgetting at times why he did. They related this to how important mental health is. This is a very real situation people who struggle with depression face. This song got this person to intensely reflect on the past years of their life. The song was able to show them the importance of reflection and to realize that it is vital to take a step back from the pressures of everyday life. This song helps anyone who experiences the pressures of life and that panicky feeling one gets when life becomes too overwhelming. We need to remember the moments that make us realize why we love life, moments that help us fall back in love with life.

Someone else recommended the song “Gabriel’s Oboe” by Yo-Yo Ma. This one really stood out to me since there are no lyrics. This is solely instrumental. Personally, I very rarely listen to classical music and, if I do, it tends to come from the score of a film. I listened to this one and I could understand why this individual recommended it to me. They play the instruments beautifully. I’m honestly not sure how to describe that kind of emotion felt through just the instruments. Normally, lyrics help articulate what I am feeling but this is a very different experience. What I do know is that my heart swelled while listening to this. The individual that recommended it swears they cry every time.

Another individual recommended the song “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac. Now, if y’all have read my writings before for WVAU, we all know that I love Fleetwood Mac. The fact that someone recommended it to me, makes me so very happy. I’m sure some individuals see Fleetwood Mac as overrated but if I can only get you to listen to one song, I recommend this one. The individual told me that this song is such an inspirational bop and I agree. For Stevie Nicks, this song was about the relationship between Lindsey Buckingham and herself. The song more generally is about wanting to continue a relationship that the other does not. The song uses a mountain as a metaphor to explain this struggle. It goes back to when someone falls out of love with another and there really is no good way to explain how it happened. The melody of this song stands out to me the most. It is so beautifully done that I believe the melody alone provokes the most emotion from me. I also think the metaphor is outstanding and very creative showcasing Fleetwood Mac’s ability to write poetically.

The song I’ve decided that evokes emotion from me is the song “MJ’ by Now, Now. I highly recommend watching the music video. It is very intriguing and the last two minutes are just memorizing. The song is a bit upbeat compared to the others on this list. The way I know that a song provokes emotion from me is when I have to stop what I am doing to pay closer attention to the song. I also tend to have it on repeat for a few hours. This song is about a girl who the persona had a strong connection with and thought was the one, but ultimately ended up breaking it off. There is this confusion as to why the relationship ended. I can relate to this. Not so much romantically, but with connections I have made with individuals. Sometimes those connections are severed and your left with this confusion as to why. It’s a fun song to jam to and it allows me to reflect back on past connections to the point where I can move forward with no frustration or confusion as to why those connections ended. Again, this relates back to that idea of falling out of love when in romantic relationships. It’s kind of crazy to think of how often this happens in today’s society. To one day be so deeply in love with someone and then the next to have it fade away and then not being able to understand why. It’s seems quite frustrating.

All of these songs rouse some strong emotion for individuals. Notice that all these emotions discussed are different. Music is not about one emotion. Every experience is different. Strong and intense emotion can mean different things for anyone. Our feelings are provoked when we listen to music. I have the belief that the emotions we connect with or experience most often is the music we tend to seek out that provokes those emotions. For some, they experience sadness quite often and the songs that stand out to them are the ones that really hit deep within this emotion based on different experiences. For others, inspiration is an emotion they connect with the most and they seek music that re-inspires this emotion. Music, as I’m sure many know and realize, is our way of escaping from reality. I also think it is a way for us to reflect on our reality. Escapism can be seen negatively and positively but music serves as more than just one way to escape. The artists that write music escape by physically writing their emotions and experiences into melodies while listeners escape by experiencing those melodies. I tend to use music as both a way to escape but also as a way to reflect.