Is any music actually happy?

A while ago I was having a conversation about music (which isn’t all that surprising) when I suddenly thought about the difference between happy and sad music. Happy music we naturally associate with upbeat pop-like songs that put us in a good mood and make us feel like we can power through the day. Sad songs are thought of as having slow and acoustic melodies with deep and meaningful lyrics. However, it suddenly occurred to me that couldn’t this all just be false? Couldn’t all music be melancholic since that’s what causes people to write and sing in the first place?

I strongly believe that a lot of people write, sing or go into this kind of industry because they’ve dealt with a lot of powerful emotions and experiences. It’s actually the case with a lot of writers and singers – that they’ve dealt with either mental health issues or a tough past or some sort of struggle where they’ve had to be like, hey, I need somewhere to channel this energy in a way that isn’t me just taking it out on everyone. And I think it’s admirable because it’s hard to share these sorts of things through something as vulnerable as music.

I admit that sometimes I dismiss certain types/genres of music because it seemingly has no meaning to it. I listen to it on a base level, to just have fun, but I don’t really connect to it (and hence stick to my main taste in music). However, just because a song’s lyrics aren’t advanced, doesn’t mean the song itself doesn’t come from a hard place. It can be the happiest song in existence but perhaps it was channeled through a destructive mind. And this is so much like us as humans. Some humans act happy, like happy songs, when they’re actually struggling, and some humans embrace that struggling and acknowledge themselves, similar to sad songs. And when you think of it like that, all songs are worth something. They all have some origin to them that none of us could even try to understand. Just because a song is happy doesn’t mean it is happy.

So when we get joy out of ‘happy’ songs, is it even real? Is it just us embracing that music exists because we all feel and hurt too much? Maybe. But is there even anything wrong with this? If all music is sad, then does it make us bad people? Or are we just better at accepting ourselves?

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