The Psychology of Breakup Songs
With the Valentine's Day in sight, let's focus on something that ignites even more vehement feelings in one's heart. No, it's not your love for cakes; I am talking about breakups. And just like where there is conflict there are Messi and Ronaldo fans, where there is breakup, there are breakup songs. And for years, people have turned to breakup songs whenever they needed something to sooth their bleeding heart because let's face it, antiseptics weren't useful in that case.
Why do we like breakup songs?
Most breakup songs will make you even more sad, but if something makes us sad then why do we like it? Curious, isn't it?
Why do we take a shower in the rain knowing that it will probably get us sick? At the bottom of it all, it's the feeling of the moment that takes priority in our mind. Just like we enjoy the feeling of rain drops on our skin at that particular moment, we enjoy the songs at that given time because it feels like someone is saying exactly what you are feeling inside. And humans are very prone to like something that they can relate to; whether it is good or bad. This is exactly why you see the face of your girlfriend in the clouds. This is also the reason you feel elated to know that a certain celebrity likes the same brand of cereal that you do even though it has no effect on your life whatsoever.
Why do you think we have this insatiable need of opening a Facebook group for every little thing? It's so we can relate to other people. Similarly, when the breakup song spells out that broken feeling you have inside, it feels like you can relate to it and that's why consciously or unconsciously we adopt a preference to it.
Because of their tones, lyrics and themes, breakup songs are able to engage us emotionally, which is more important than being happy. Sometimes breakup songs can point out directions for improving your current situation if you feel like the singer is singing about your point of view. For many, this can be the turning point.
The effects of breakup songs
Sometimes breakup songs were introduced to you by the very person who broke up with you. Most breakup songs come with a slower tempo, clear vocals with expression in them and a soothing music. All of which are highly appreciated after a breakup. You are already feeling sad and lethargic and the soft music calms you down. Often, they remind you of some memories which forces you to recall the past and face the present and eventually help you to move on. Sometimes, you hear a song years after a breakup and you can still remember the good times you've had with your partner.
Breakup songs to try
If you were to ask someone about their favourite song and why they like it, they will tell you the title of the song and say "you'll know why I like it if you listen to it," which can be quite annoying but true at the same time. Everyone has their own interpretation of the lyrics and that's one of the reasons why breakup songs have such appeal.
You are probably familiar with "Let her go" by Passengers or "We are never ever getting back together" by Taylor Swift. While most breakup songs are soft on the ears, there are those who prefer a little bit more energy in their songs. And if you are angry at your ex (we know how often that happens), a hard rock or gothic rock can speak your mind with their heavy instrumentals and powerful vocals. Bands like Halestorm or In This Moment are well known for such tracks.
Once you find that you are ready to move to the next step after raging (might take a while for some people), Adele can help you with her exquisite voice and deep lyrics. And by the time you are ready to let go, "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye could hit just the right spot in your brain.
Our local music is equally appealing when it comes to breakup songs. From "Ranjana ami ar ashbona" (yes, that's a breakup song whether you want to admit it or not) to "Protikkha" by Warfaze or "Dukkho Bilash" by Artcell.
The frequently played "Ami tomakei bole debo" by Sanjeeb Chowdhury is another great example of our local music rocking the genre. Some of them are played so often that they have become a cliché at this point but that does not take anything away from the fact that they are great songs and like all breakup songs, quite addictive.
Let's face it, breakup songs are a genre of their own and they have some tracks that are so good that you get drawn to them even if you are in a happy relationship. Music has that addictive effect on people and music can help you deal with most kinds of emotional turmoil. Keep that in mind the next time you are feeling down.