"Which came first?"

Giving My Bones to the Western Lands“What came first, the music or the misery? Did I listen to music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to music? Do all those records turn you into a melancholy person? This quote from Nick Hornby's book "High Fidelity" describes the complex interplay between music and mindset. The quote continues: "People worry about kids playing with guns, and teenagers watching violent videos; we are scared that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands - literally thousands - of songs about broken hearts and pain and misery and loss. The unhappiest people I know, romantically speaking, are the ones who like pop music the most; and I don't know whether pop music has caused this unhappiness, but I do know that they've been listening to the sad songs longer than they've been living the unhappy lives.” Sad songs have been the soundtrack of my life. I have been exposed to an unhealthy dose of miserable music. Probably more than most people can take. This may look like self-harm from the perspective of others, a type of flagellant-style suffering. And furthermore, if the above quote is true for pop music then it must be even more true when it comes to gothic country music, where the suffering is a bottomless pit. I don't take people who like "happy music" seriously. For me, this is a clear indication of a very limited emotional setup and range. But, there is a paradox. Sad song makes you happy, read more here (opens in a new window). It's both compatible and acceptable to walk down the street with a smile on your face humming a murder ballad.  

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