Let’s Talk About: Music and Emotion

Many people argue that music is slowly losing it’s substance, losing it’s punch as if there is no emotion behind many of the tracks which we hear day to day. However, similarly to yesterday’s article this claim is false. It is arguable that if you only look at much of today’s chart then the music which features will lack personality and truth but blanketing the entirety of released music with this claim, that music is lacking substance, just shows that we aren’t looking or listening to the right artists.

There have been many releases which contradict this statement of their being music which lacks substance and emotion. Similarly to yesterday’s release it is necessary to first address a major label release which is not only packed full of personality but also emotional substance. This is Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion Side B. Similarly to that full length album Emotion B Side finds Jepsen singing in raw detail about a wealth of feelings regarding love and many other things. However, it is also on this EP that the music that carries Carly Rae Jepsen’s voice acts as some form of personification or reflection of her feelings toward certain situations, this is especially clear on Fever. Where the emotional and environmental, at one point, become this thick and powerful bass drum which are encoded with part of her emotional response to this moment. Especially when her vocals kick back in to bring home this point.

However, the argument can still be present that this album, similarly to many mainstream artist releases, lack the punch that more independent or lesser known names and their releases present. This to some extent is true, as it is seen time and again that artists will occasionally break from a label due to the restrictions on their creative ability, but, this is an issue for another time. When looking in to these more independent artists though it becomes clear very quickly just how powerful and emotional their releases can be, not only working as some form of release but also as some form of coping mechanism or personal account on moments that affect them personally.

Whether it be Sorority Noise’s It Kindly Stopped For Me, where the band speak about the loss of friends and the reality of death in a very short but melancholy release in which the track Fource is simply a stream of consciousnesses during a panic attack. Or it be Noname’s (Fatimah Warner) mix-tape from last years Telefone which sees the hip-hop artist rap and sing with this soothing voice that talks about how bleak life can be and about the notion of profound loss. Especially when the tape reaches the track Bye Bye Baby which is this heartbreaking yet honest cut from this mixtape.

Alongside these two and the music that comes from the beautifully orchestrated album Sprained Ankle by Julien Baker is what is possibly the most harrowing album of this year, which truly debunks the claim that there is no good new music.

This album is Mount Eerie’s A Crow Looked At Me, an album which is not only a coping mechanism for Phil Elverum but also is a heartbreaking and difficult listen. The album accounts the loss of his wife, mentioning specific dates and moments after the fact, all whilst coming to the realisation that she is gone. It is hard to put in to words just why this album not only debunks this statement but also is an album I would recommend everyone listens to at once. Maybe it is because of the way in which the pain is so apparent through the vocal performance that you can’t help but connect to Mount Eerie and the story he tells. But it is clear in this album that emotion and substance is not gone from music but also that as an audience we are able to feel the emotion and empathise without possibly never having to experience what they have.




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