Why do we listen to sad music?

There have been time where I find myself listening to sad music and I’ll suddenly become a little happier or I’ll feel relieved. I don’t know about guys, but I know me and my girls back home would always just listen to sad music randomly. We wouldn’t listen to it necessarily because we were sad, it would just help us release some emotions we hd bottled up without having to take it out in a different way.There are many different reasons as to why people listen to sad music but I want to know why people enjoy it so much if it’s sad.

Researchers did a study to see what emotions the sad music evoked from people. What they found was that sad music had two different results in regards to the emotions it evoked: romantic emotions and unhappy emotions. These are contradictory emotions and it’s very weird to see that one piece of music can evoke such different emotions form one person.


There really isn’t evidence as to why people enjoy listening to sad music so much. I think it’s mainly the release it let’s us experience. When I listen to a sad song and I cry, I feel as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulder and not in the I-got-mad-so-I-took-it-out-on-her kind of way just in the “wow that was relieving” way. Interpreting sad lyrics and learning them and usually being able to relate to the lyrics is also very soothing and relaxing. Sometime it feels nice to know that a song can relate to you so well and you don’t feel as alone. I do believe there is no real scientific explanation behind this (it’s mainly psychological reasonings) or it just hasn’t been found. I will be keeping up on articles and information on this topic because it does interest me as to why people feel good listening to sad songs.

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8 thoughts on “Why do we listen to sad music?

  1. Cole Donald Rogers

    Typically I find myself in the same position. I had never really looked into the reasons to why I felt relived after listening to sad music it was one of those things that happens and in most cases no one challenges it. I enjoyed the premise of the article and I think in its entirety it’s strength was that it is relatable. The title caught my eye and drew me in; making me want to read more of what you had to offer. The notion of not feeling alone and finding the music to be relaxing or soothing could’ve be words I would’ve spoken out of my own mouth. In addition while doing some self research I came across this well expressed article with a factual and logistic response to the question posted. The article is in no means long and simply provides biological & psychological evidence to why we are relived after listening to sad music. Along with that it also holds links to different articles and studies that found this conclusion.
    Here’s why listening to sad music makes you feel better- ScienceAlert:

  2. Darby Helen Smith

    This post is very relatable! If I have had a day full of distress and it is all bottled up, all I want to do is be alone and listen to sad music or watch a sad movie. It allows all your feelings to come to the surface at once and helps you get over the sadness rather than keeping it in for a longer period of time.

  3. Arunima Sthapak

    I too am a fan of listening to music, including sad music. I went through something deeply saddening a couple of weeks ago, and I listened to a lot of sad music. It really helped me express my emotions, and after a while, I felt much better. I think any kind of music has the power to evoke our emotions. I found a link to a page talking in depth on the effects of music on our mood, and it also involves some good studies on the matter. http://www.healthline.com/health-news/mental-listening-to-music-lifts-or-reinforces-mood-051713#4

  4. Kate Billings

    Although there is no evidence that can tell us why people like listening to sad music I think it goes along with the idea that its good to cry every once in awhile. Sometimes people need that emotional release. Listening to sad music probably gives people a release of emotions and they feel good after listening to the sad music. I’m interested in the possible research in the future that could tell us more about why we enjoy sad music. It seems to go against common sense, one would think that we wouldn’t like to listen to sad music because it would make us sad, but clearly thats not true. We like sad music and I’m waiting for the day when scientists can tell us exactly why this is. Interesting post, thanks for sharing!

  5. Colleen Bridget Mcshea

    I totally agree that sad music can give you a sense of relief! I actually just made this point on someone else’s post about how music effects people’s mood. I said that I personally feel that sometimes, yes, sad music can make you sad, but on the other hand, it can do the opposite. For me, sad music has many times been something that I could relate to, and thus express my feelings through the words of the song. This gave me the “release” that you talked about in your post.

    I found this article on why this might be that sad music can improve our mood.

  6. Claudia Lynn Hatch

    What I really l liked about this topic was that you stated at the end your opinion. I am aware it was hard to find more research and come to a solid decision, but that is how science works. Sometimes it takes a long time to fully uncover the truths of a hypothesis. I think you did do a good job of explaining you reasoning and also using the best sources you could find. Try this article about the benefits of listening to sad music.

  7. Matthew Edward Simco

    This is actually very interesting and I could relate to it strongly. For some reason, when I am sad, I often find myself listening to sad music. I never quite understood why, though. One would think that sad people listen to sad music because they want to stay sad, but that is not the case. I think one reason why listening to sad music when being sad makes you happier is because it shows that you are not alone. Many other people are going through what you are going through, and the songs confirm that. The article I have posted below explains just why we listen to sad music when we are sad.

  8. Trae Vann Morgan-White

    Weird, I honestly listen to aggressive music when I’m sad, often rock, R&B, or… Rihanna! Sad music is usually relatable to those who have either gone through a lot of emotional, physical, or mental conflicts, and I haven’t experienced as much, but I definitely like this article.

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