Whether a song has emotional complexity is more important to me than whether it's happy or sad. (That's probably why I'm so obsessed with Tori's music; almost none of her songs are fully light or dark.) I love some happy music, as long as it has a subtle tragic lining that gives it depth. Also, I have to find a certain spark or magic/soul-affecting quality in it that elevates it from entertainment to art in my eyes.
Originally Posted by Fun in the Sun
I don't really care for songs that try to make you happy or sad for the sake of the emotion. I just want to feel what they're really feeling and see if I can relate.
I agree - this is why I didn't like most of the "sad" songs (most of them pop ballads) the article mentioned. They're like the musical equivalent of cheesy tearjerker movies.
“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.” - Hermann Hesse
Upbeat moods can have as much weight and intensity as lower ones. IMO anyway, if you want to take them seriously, see them as being as important as any other emotion, and as a function of such consideration communicate them with writing and musicianship that excels. Not many care to. That happy songs can be done as well as any others just makes it more of a shame when they suck in the same ways over and over again.
On my own tastes, music written to cultivate any mood at all, high or low, is hard for me to stomach. The sense of emotional contagion as an artistic goal, that the writer wants me to feel a particular thing, repels me. I prefer to be presented with a story or an atmosphere that isn't full of obvious loaded words and affected crescendoes, toward which I might feel something different every time I listen. Not that it shouldn't have feeling. Absolutely not. The key word is have. Rather than creating a mood, a piece simply has a mood, while I have my own mood, and the experience is about the juxtaposition of and communication between our moods rather than their harmonization.
4w5 6w7 1w2 sx/sp ⏩ ISFP
RLOAX (don't do it) ⏩ Melancholic Hufflepuff
A lonely island where only what is permitted to move moves, becomes an ideal. Jung
To me, the specifics of the mood don't matter as much as the power, inflection, and sense of resolution a song possesses. Don't Worry Be Happy lacks the weight it once held because it sounds like just a simple performance. But if the performer has strong catharsis in the process of recording, then it stands a better chance to overcome technical and artistic follies on the way to becoming popular. Even those without an ear for music can pick up on how contrived a piece is.
In general, I'm more of a sucker for unusual themes, lyrics and arrangements. I like when a song seems to have been born out of a fluid stream of consciousness, and I think the popularity of Radiohead hints at the fact that many people, in some way, share my taste.
I once read that most starting musicians tend to seek out minor scales more often. Don't know if that's true, although as an amateur musician myself, I do have a tendency to go for sad tunes. I sometimes deliberately start off by playing something upbeat to go against that.