I’m a little bit addicted to emo songs about heartbreak and romantic failure. I’ve read all the articles touting the masochistic curative powers of the perfectly executed ballad extolling the virtues of crying constantly and praying for sun, even as the sun burns your skin and birds sing behind you. They may as well be falling out of the sky, dead. How else do you feel an emotion?
There’s a great scene in Immortal Beloved (with Gary Oldman), where Beethoven corrects his ardent admirer regarding the power of music. The gentleman who admires Beethoven declares that music “exalts.”
“No!” Beethoven barks, “Music controls; music tells you how to feel.” This is not exactly what Beethoven says, but I do believe I have the spirit correct, for this is true. There is nothing uplifting about a heartbreak ballad, not even the ones that declare “everything you own in a box to the left.” If one were to pick apart that song, it is quite depressing indeed.
Whatever the aural science, there is an undeniable kinship in hearing a song and realizing that the writer understands, and maybe even the performer too. How else could they write exactly what you are feeling at this moment?!
And thus, you listen to the song over and over and over again, compelled by the downbeat and the plaintive wail of someone so pretty and yet so sad. “Yes,” you think to yourself, “this is suffering.”
At some point, the song you listen to repeatedly becomes merely aural wallpaper, but then you realize the playlist has advanced without you paying attention; you immediately rectify this, slightly anxious until those old familiar notes wash over you. and you realize: you don’t want to feel good.
Regarding Object Writing http://www.spencermichaud.com/2012/10/songwriting-101-writing-from-experience.html#.VCLC4RY2Xct