Friday, December 9, 2011

Music and emotional resonance

Music is an important influence on people, especially when they are young. It is one of the significant social cues from which men receive the misinformation that impairs their socio-sexual development and sends them on the slow dry train to gammatude. I was thinking about this the other day as a song from the BackStreet Boys came up on the vehicle's iPod mix while I was driving home from the gym.

The choral lyric purports to be from a boy about his feelings concerning a girl.

I don't care who you are
Where you're from
What you did
As long as you love me
Who you are
Where you're from
Don't care what you did
As long as you love me


Now, this does not sound as if it is in any accordance with the relationship realities of Game. As we know, men care very deeply about what a woman did before, so much so that most men will refuse to involve themselves with women on more than a very short-term basis if she has too much experience. What tends to be forgotten here is that although the Backstreet Boys are male, their audience is not. While the common perception is that they are singing to their audience, the emotional reality is that they are singing on behalf of their audience. It may sound like a minor distinction, but the difference actually produces tremendous confusion among men who see what appears to move women and then misapply that information in order to reach exactly the wrong conclusion.

What emotionally moves us is what speaks for us more eloquently than we can speak for ourselves. And therefore, music that we find emotionally compelling can tell others a great deal about our inner selves. For example, once you know that two of the songs I find to be most emotionally resonant are "Do You Hear the People Sing" and "Killing in the Name Of", it doesn't take a genius to figure out that my political commentary is likely to be inclined towards the iconoclastic.

The significant aspect of the emotional resonance of a song isn't the sex of the performer, but rather, its emotional theme. The man who is moved by Fantine isn't so much moved by her sad story and failed dream, but by the way the song reminds him of his own, just as the woman who is moved by Linkin Park is probably one who would really like her partner to just shut up for once and stop bossing her around. This means that a woman who finds the Backstreet Boys' song to be emotionally compelling isn't attracted to a man who will love her unconditionally regardless of her past, she is instead a woman inclined to be attracted to a man regardless of his.

Once you know what music or other forms of entertainment cause a woman to cry or otherwise exhibit signs of strong emotional resonance, you can derive a tremendous amount of useful information from it. Fortunately, women tend to be rather less interested in this form of relationship analysis, otherwise they would be able to draw some similarly informative conclusions from one's own musical tastes.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm curious - how does this work if the person doesn't enjoy music w/ lyrics (classical, techno, instrumental, etc)? I've met at least one woman who was in the same boat as I in this respect.

Also, how does this work if the woman enjoys mainly religious music?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like I'm in trouble. Just been listening to Blaze of Glory (received the CD as an early birthday present earlier today)..brings back memories.

Does this mean I secretly wanted my wife to be the devil's son?

Solo

Vox said...

It's not about what music person likes, but what music is observed to move them emotionally. I absolutely love David Sylvian and listen to him almost every day, but none of his songs effect me emotionally the way certain other songs do, even songs by groups I don't particularly like or listen to such as Rage Against the Machine.

For example, you can tell a lot about a man if you know that he finds "Just the Two of Us" by Will Smith and "Arms Wide Open" by Creed to be moving or if he is emotionally affected by "Days of Swine and Roses" by My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult and Prodigy's "Firestarter".

Needless to say, the first man is the better fatherhood and relationship.

TLM said...

You justify those that died by wearing a badge, they're the chosen whites...

You like this!!! You racisssss!

Daniel said...

Guns of Brixton, Little Palaces, Solsbury Hill, 76 Trombones, Stranded in Iowa and Snoopy vs. The Red Baron II - Snoopy's Christmas.

Well, that's weird.

Anonymous said...

I'm often struck buy the difference between some of the ballady lyrics and the performer's behavior off-stage. Call me cynical but many are out there to make a buck and/or get laid.

SarahsDaughter said...

I just heard "Christmas shoes," the song, I've read the poem prior. The song is cheesy and I think Alabama has cleverly capitalized on this emotional story that was once an email chain letter. That being said, I cried listening to it, couldn't help it...blubbering like an idiot driving down the road. Your analysis is dead on in this situation, I didn't cry because I felt empathy for some little kid that wants to buy these shoes, nor am I the one that gives the kid the money to do so, I was the kid.

I enjoy Adele's music, a lot. However I have no emotional response to her music. I'm not in those shoes, don't want to be, don't miss it.

Stingray said...

SarahsDaughter,

That frickin' song get's me, too.

Every. Single. %&#!*. Time.

Der Hahn said...

SarahsDaughter - I second your feelings about Adele. She's the soundtrack to Kathy Bollick's life.

Markku said...

I'm emotionally most affected by Muse. So much that it always makes me want to kill kill kill.

I don't mean it in a bad way. I'm murderous with them, not at them.

Markku said...

Like these little lines:

War is overdue
The time has come for you
To shoot your leaders down
Join forces underground

Stang said...

Eye of the Tiger and Burning Heart by Survivor from the Rocky soundtracks. My dad also used the Rocky theme song for his radio shows in Los Angeles in the 1980's. I am definitely a child of the 80's.

Eye Of The Tiger hits me at the deepest level because that is what my recently departed father and my platoon sergeant would tell me whenever I faced a challenge in life.

Burning Heart is the standard in my life that I attempt to live up to, but don't always. My failure to live by the line in the song burns my heart almost physically.

In the warrior's heart
there's no surrender
Though his body cries "stop"
His spirit cries never
.

Cheesy, I know, but it hits me deep.

Duke of Earl said...

I like those Survivor songs too.

DaveD said...

Lately, I've been contemplating how listening to female artists is very informative about Game. It's a rare view into the psyche of women via a song written by and for women. "Undo it." That Taylor Swfit song aimed at John Mayer...more if I cared enough to think about it.

For most of my life I was A: a beta at best and B; HATED female singers. I think that's because their songs showed their true selves while I was trying my best to buy the hype and White Knight.

Or maybe I'm just nuts.

DD

SarahsDaughter said...

Love this, we've made it an instructional song for our daughters:

Like My Dog - Billy Currington

He never tells me that he's sick of this house
He never says why don't you get off that couch?
He don't cost me nothin when he wants to go out
I want you to love me like my dog

He never says I need a new attitude
Him and my sister ain't always in a feud
When I leave the seat up he don't think that it's rude
I want you to love me like my dog does Baby

When I come home, I want you to just go crazy
He never looks at me like he might hate me
I want you to love me like my dog

He never acts like he don't care for my friends
He never asks me where in the hell have you been?
He don't play dead when I wanna pet him

I want you to love me like my dog does honey

He never says 'I wish you made more money'
He always thinks that pull my finger is funny
I want you to love me like my dog

He don't get mad at me and throw a major fit
When I say his sister is a b**ch!

I want you to love me like my dog does baby
When I come home, I want you to just go crazy
He never looks at me like he might hate me
I want you to love me like my dog

I want you to love me like my dog does Baby

Yohami said...

This should be "lyrics" and emotional response. Not music. We´re talking backtreetboys here. Then, a guy singing "I dont care what you did" is forgiving the girl and absolving her from responsibility. So that works either way (performing to, and performing on behalf)

I really like that distinction by the way. Singing "on behalf" of the audience. I like. A lot.

JCclimber said...

"Empty Chairs and Empty Tables", hell, at least 4 of the songs in Les Mis get an emotional reaction from me.

Several gospel songs remind me of the debt I owe my savior.

"Scarlet Ribbons", since it is the Christmas season, and I recollect the bare bones Christmas celebrations we had in my childhood.

A recent emotional reaction is to Skillet's "Monster", it makes me reflect of how much evil there still is inside of me waiting for me and Jesus to root out. Violent evil.

But my greatest emotional reaction is the song "America the Beautiful". I usually can't make it all the way through singing along. I choke up as my former love for my country is drowned by the adult realization of the permanent loss of what this country used to represent to the world.

Toby said...

I'm not really into pop songs.

I prefer RnB. Next to that is alternative.

One song that I still love listening is Usher's Nice n Slow.

Shutterbug said...

Amazing Grace, The Best Day by Taylor Swift, Oh Holy Night, and Indestructible by Disturbed. Hmmmm...

Pablo said...

The Killing Moon by Echo and the Bunnymen. The music and lyrics just seem to capture many of my experiences in the 80's.

Singing on our behalf. Very insightful. Not too far removed from the notion of identifying with a song but it actually describes the phenomenon more aptly.

Nate said...

half-truism the offspring

Papapete said...

I occasionally find myself having trouble singing in our church choir because the anthem affects me so strongly. Other than that, the songs that I react to emotionally tend to be ones tht I associate with significant times in my life.

Koanic said...

In light of this paradigm, perhaps it's time to reevalate the typical female dating advice to "just be yourself" and (more rarely) "be confident".

Perhaps it's how they want to feel and what they want to do. That would make more sense.

Dominic Saltarelli said...

Mushroomhead, all the way.

"Becoming Cold" seems like my theme song most days.

save your faith for the faithless we need it most,
need something to believe in but nothing comes close

Anonymous said...

"I was thinking about this the other day as a song from the BackStreet Boys came up on the vehicle's iPod mix while I was driving home from the gym."

Vox, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask for you to return your balls. Return them at the front counter with the bowling attendant before exiting the building. The bowling shoes you can keep to add to your collection.

Tom B said...

Ok... So here are the songs and lines that get a rise out of me. In no particular order:

Nanci Griffith's So Long Ago: (Now I saw you once in a crowded bar and it was Christmas time/I was frightened by the thunder of our hearts in '69/Because I live my life in whispers now and I choose to live alone/So I slipped back to the avenue and flipped my collar to the cold)

Steely Dan's Deacon Blues: (I'll learn to work the saxophone/
I'll play just what I feel/ Drink Scotch whisky all night long/ And die behind the wheel/They got a name for the winners in the world/
I want a name when I lose/ They call Alabama the Crimson Tide/ Call me Deacon Blues)

Tom T. Hall's Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine: (He said old dogs care about you even when you make mistakes/God bless little children while they're still too young to hate/As he moved away I got my pen and copied down that line/Bout' old dogs and children and watermelon wine)

Third Day's Thief: (And they laugh at Him in mockery/and beat Him till he bleeds/They nail Him to the rugged cross/and raise Him/ they raise Him up/ next to me)

4Him's A Man You Would Write About: (And if the Bible had no closing page/And still was being written to this day)

Andrew Peterson's Nothing to Say (And I don't believe that I
believed in You as deeply as today)


Chris Rice's Face of Christ (See you had no choice which day you would be born/Or the color of your skin/ or what planet you’d be on/Would your mind be strong/would your eyes be blue or brown?/Whether daddy would be rich/ or if momma stuck around at all)

Bruce Hornsby's Mandolin Rain (Listen to the mandolin rain/Listen to the music on the lake/Listen to my heart break/ every time she runs away/Listen to the banjo wind/A sad song drifting low/Listen to the tears roll/Down my face as she turns to go)

Don Williams' Good Ol' Boys Like Me (Nothing makes a sound in the night like the wind does/But you ain't afraid if you're washed in the blood like I was/The smell of cape jasmine thru the window screen/John R. and the Wolfman kept me company/By the light of the radio by my bed/With Thomas Wolfe whispering in my head)

Nicole Nordeman's To Know You (Nicodemus/ Could not understand how You could/ Truly free us/
He struggled with the image of a grown man born again/ We might have been good friends/Cuz sometimes I still question, too)

Don Williams' Maggie's Dream (Maggie's been a waitress here/ most all her life/Thirty years of coffee cups and sore feet/And the mountains around Ashville/ she's never seen the other side/ And closer now to fifty than to forty

And Tim McGraw's Grown Men Don't Cry(Keep having this dream about my old man /I'm 10 years old, and he's holding my hand /We're talkin' on the front porch watchin' the sun go down/
But it was just a dream he was a slave to his job and he couldn't be around/ So many things I wanna say to him/ But I just placed a rose on his grave, and I talk to the wind)

So..... Does that make me an INTJ, or a Beta, or what the Hell am I? lol!

Tom B said...

Ok... So here are the songs and lines that get a rise out of me. In no particular order:

Nanci Griffith's So Long Ago: (Now I saw you once in a crowded bar and it was Christmas time/I was frightened by the thunder of our hearts in '69/Because I live my life in whispers now and I choose to live alone/So I slipped back to the avenue and flipped my collar to the cold)

Steely Dan's Deacon Blues: (I'll learn to work the saxophone/
I'll play just what I feel/ Drink Scotch whisky all night long/ And die behind the wheel/They got a name for the winners in the world/
I want a name when I lose/ They call Alabama the Crimson Tide/ Call me Deacon Blues)

Tom T. Hall's Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine: (He said old dogs care about you even when you make mistakes/God bless little children while they're still too young to hate/As he moved away I got my pen and copied down that line/Bout' old dogs and children and watermelon wine)

Third Day's Thief: (And they laugh at Him in mockery/and beat Him till he bleeds/They nail Him to the rugged cross/and raise Him/ they raise Him up/ next to me)

4Him's A Man You Would Write About: (And if the Bible had no closing page/And still was being written to this day)

Andrew Peterson's Nothing to Say (And I don't believe that I
believed in You as deeply as today)


Chris Rice's Face of Christ (See you had no choice which day you would be born/Or the color of your skin/ or what planet you’d be on/Would your mind be strong/would your eyes be blue or brown?/Whether daddy would be rich/ or if momma stuck around at all)

Bruce Hornsby's Mandolin Rain (Listen to the mandolin rain/Listen to the music on the lake/Listen to my heart break/ every time she runs away/Listen to the banjo wind/A sad song drifting low/Listen to the tears roll/Down my face as she turns to go)

Don Williams' Good Ol' Boys Like Me (Nothing makes a sound in the night like the wind does/But you ain't afraid if you're washed in the blood like I was/The smell of cape jasmine thru the window screen/John R. and the Wolfman kept me company/By the light of the radio by my bed/With Thomas Wolfe whispering in my head)

Nicole Nordeman's To Know You (Nicodemus/ Could not understand how You could/ Truly free us/
He struggled with the image of a grown man born again/ We might have been good friends/Cuz sometimes I still question, too)

Don Williams' Maggie's Dream (Maggie's been a waitress here/ most all her life/Thirty years of coffee cups and sore feet/And the mountains around Ashville/ she's never seen the other side/ And closer now to fifty than to forty

And Tim McGraw's Grown Men Don't Cry(Keep having this dream about my old man /I'm 10 years old, and he's holding my hand /We're talkin' on the front porch watchin' the sun go down/
But it was just a dream he was a slave to his job and he couldn't be around/ So many things I wanna say to him/ But I just placed a rose on his grave, and I talk to the wind)

So..... Does that make me an INTJ, or a Beta, or what the Hell am I? lol!

kh123 said...

The best song - as well as response - is always subtle.

kh123 said...

...Of course, there's always a more direct way to one's heart via music - poetic lyrics.

Anonymous said...

And so ten centuries solemnly collide
Love failed and I have
Lost my Name

Secrecy hoards the treasure
Coveted most by me
As rainwater collects in barrels
Sleep covers Abuse with Time
Too many dream-haunted hours
Leaves me with seasons swelling and growing
And without welcome, fading
Something makes sense in ripples
Grief is the corpse from which worms feed
Alas, I am not this stricken man
Suspended by sunlight, shadows break
Their silent vigil
As rainwater collects in barrels
Lucifer rose up to kiss the analgesic dawn
While below, Something roll'd the stone away
Something makes sense in ripples
Gradually, I saw Abuse is a Name
And ghosts will seem forever
Less fantastic

Like a kiss, soft, and wild with the delicate steps of petals fallen in a stream
This swirling ballerina turns in faint and sighing grandeur
Across the floor to me.
A monarch plays the violin to a summer's afternoon
Whilst quietly the earthworm adores the soil in winter's sparkling gloom
It breaks away, growing as the flowers do.

A thunderhead embraces his enraptured lover
And kisses with a gale that also makes the cattails shudder.
His tears cannot, as he proclaims his love, be held with lightning back;
They fondly dance into an open window
And fondly dance with mine.

Our eyelashes weaken with a weight that is sweet and fine,
And this feels like frogs and spiders in the sweet outside.
Tell me why world, unfathomable and good,
The beauty of everything is infinite and cruel.

An airplane, a puppet, an orange, a spoon,
A window, and outside
Stars and the moon.

Anonymous said...

One morning, before the leaves began changing
I caught a piece of summer and poured it into a pitcher;

This I placed in the cellar on a shelf collecting dust .
Autumn, then winter, rose up from the sea, and my
Garden was a garden filled with unbroken snow.

No flower strained its face to the ice giants' whisper,
No life coloured the vision of a newborn Spring babe.
My cellar-water dripping into a pail

And I lifted my piece of summer
Like a piece of memory or a dream

Like these, caught on film
And carried it to the garden floes,
The wind turning drifting stars to madness.

Poured forth gracefully, this ctheric tincture
Lifts winter's coat-of-arms with coaxing aromas and electricity.
Used with vigilance, a Pitcher of Summer stirs a memory into swooning,
And bravely, the flowers of the past will stretch their limbs into the sky
While snow falls quietly all around.

Anonymous said...

It never hurt this much before,
And I feel I'm courting Saturn.
The Twelve-Eyed Secret gazes through a prism,
Staring into raindrops swirling slow
It lifts its horrible heads
With lidless orbs of limitless vision.
I dream with fluid movements in a lake
The ripples cast from skipping stones
We speak below a gushing mind,
Crouching in a corner, hid behind a box
Full of Worms and stalking shadows.
Magnetism draws me to a cone of space;
I sift still through hours of its plasma,
Biding time until the clocks collapse.
Music shattered my spine on the steps outside;
I cannot move; my liquid breathing
Is sculpted with this binding gel.
But come, my love, and rescue me
From failure.
Cover me with an opium sheet,
Embrace me with gossamer;
Kiss the moonstones from my eyes
And brush the cobwebs from my bones.
It all sings beautifully;
With all your strength believe this.
But I know you can't understand

Anonymous said...

Sing to me a romance, sire
That splendid trod the starry roads.
All ye dust-strewn travellers, hasten
To the hearthside!
What seest thou, wayfarer,
Upon thy journey to a citrine sun?

Caves of candlelight with amethyst imbued,
Opal skulls of opal creatures decorating tombs!
Woods of columned water supporting ceilings breathing blue,
Seascapes fill'd with poison, lonely, waiting for the few
Final scarlet denizens to march into the scorching fumes!

Stalks of lapis lazuli groaning against a tired breeze,
Sparkling in the quaint moonlight, and owls' eyes in sapphire trees,
Hooting to one year of moons that hang on petals in the air!
Growing ghosts in silver pots upon a silent windowsill,
Built into the side of nothing built into a nothing hill!

A cage that housed a nightingale was hung upon a shepherd's crook;
He lightly stepp'd across the tide, his statuary effervescing.
Boughs dipped their lovely heads into the lake of one-thousand tiers
To admire an Absinthe floodgate, and a piquant gallery.

Morning, and the dreamers fade
Like lovers' gazes past their hour.
Cannot sunrise wait forever
For its time?

Farewell, starry wayfarer,
I'll bless your name when I dream of you.

Skillet said...

"She Hates Me"
Puddle of Mudd

Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks that's a good song probably subscribes to Game.

Mrs. Pilgrim said...

Well, if we're posting the stuff that elicits the strongest emotional reactions for ourselves:


This.
It needs nothing but that you listen to it to understand why.

Lyrics often spoil it for me. On a more secular note, I prefer stuff like this for a little emotional stir-up.

But I'm weird, so don't use me as a measuring-stick for anything.

Anonymous said...

Do the regulars here have no taste or something?

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