Music. For many, is the purist form of escapism. For me however, it is entirely and inescapably intertwined with my emotional stability. Entangled with emotion, they take centre stage together. Every fight, every flash of weakness, every sleepless night; and especially moments of love, heartbreak and grief. Music has been my calling point. I do not express my feelings to others all too frequently. Instead, I walk with my music when times get truly difficult. I rely on its essentiality to break me down; to leave me shattered and broken. But it isn’t always entirely negative. It is crucial pillar for me to lean on, rebuild, and move on. It’s truly a delicate balance.
“Music can provide access to life. It is not a luxury, but a necessity.” – Oliver Sacks
Relying on music rather than talking to loved ones should never be something that you immediately and consistently turn to, however. Nevertheless, it can be an exceptional tool when it comes to helping those who bottle up their emotions. The correct song can be a catalyst to help us laugh, scream or cry. Yet, it is easy for someone feeling depressed to sit on a playlist of songs which support their own negativity – allowing it to almost take over, and at times, this can cloud an individual’s judgment. When I was 16, following my first ever serious breakup, I listened to the same 4 negative songs on repeat. At first it was great, because they were the only thing that helped me cry and absorb what was happening. But instead of moving on, I relied on the music so much that I sat for months contemplating my own worth. Since one person had treated me so negatively, my self-assumption of uselessness and self-reflection aligning everything to be primarily my fault (despite the fact it clearly wasn’t) entirely took over. I lost months of my life, simply because I focused on negativity.
The use of music to fight through emotional turmoil… it’s a double-edged sword.
This is why I want to use my previous mistakes to potentially help others. Even now, as I write this, I use music for inspiration (Sleeping At Last – Saturn), but also to reflect on days gone past. The emotional power behind music is absolutely astonishing. Unless you listen to DJ Khalid, obviously. It has a fundamental ability to make you cry, but also to help you smile; this is what I want to take advantage of here.
What I advise is, when under times of difficulty, have two playlists available. The initial playlist, should consist of songs to evoke your negative emotions: sadness, anger, fear, anguish, or whatever else may be priming you. The entire purpose of this is to bring them to the surface; to allow you to truly feel them, rather than bottling them up for an explosive episode at a later date. Once released, their levels usually deminish, hopefully with relief that you have enabled yourself to truly express, in some way, how you feel.
The second playlist however, is more important. Excessively relying solely on negative songs, despite their ability to allow you to convey emotions you otherwise keep under lock and key, can lead to you being dragged into a negative abyss. The consequences of this are sometimes catastrophic. Instead, the second playlist – employed after the initial has been utilised – should focus on the use of songs which evoke joy, happiness and laugher. Perhaps they are interlinked with positive memories of significant importance – a friend and/or loved one or trip/activity, for example. Whatever they may be, their exploitation will hopefully allow you to come through despair, and promote optimism and hope on the other side.
Music is a piece of art that goes in the ears straight to the heart.
So, here are my own personal playlists, to perhaps give you some inspiration. The first should never consist of too many. 10 songs or so is plentiful. However, the second can consist of as many songs as you like. The more the merrier, actually.
(Promote the initial negative emotions)
- Ed Sheeran – Supermarket Flowers
- City & Colour – Sensible Heart
- Coldplay – The Scientist
- Coldplay – Fix You
- The Classic Crime – Who Needs Air (Acoustic)
- The Cinematic Orchestra – To Build A Home
- Dawn Golden – All I Want
- Sleeping At Last – Saturn
- Moose Blood – Shimmer
- Moose Blood – Spring
- Birdy – Wings
- London Metropolitan Orchestra – Arrival of the Birds
- Bob Marley – Three Little Birds
- Bruno Mars – Treasure
- Bruno Mars – Perm
- Lenno vs. Cookin’ On 3 Burners – Mind Made Up
- Metrik – Cadence
- The Hunna – Bonfire
- Our Last Night – Road To The Throne
- AC/DC – Back In Black
- TIEKS – Sunshine
- Showtek & Brooks – On Our Own
- Coasts – Golden City
- Calvin Harris – Rain