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Emotion In Music April 16, 2009

Posted by Jordan in Music.
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Monday, I was on Twitter and caught what was, for me, a really thought-provoking post from Chamillionaire, as follows:

“Does music have to capture some kind of emotion to be good? Is it possible for a song to not capture any emotion?”

My reaction, at least to the second question, is that I just don’t think that’s possible. If there is such a song out there – one that is completely devoid of emotion – I certainly haven’t heard it. I mean, that’s what makes music music – it’s the outpouring, expression, and displaying of emotion by way of song. Even songs that might not connect with you or resonate with you in any way can still be powerful and meaningful to others.

What do you think?


1. Nichole - April 16, 2009

I totally agree. I don’t think it is possible for a song to just not evoke anything in someone, good or bad. I’m surprised to see such an insightful tweet come from Chamillionaire though, I must admit haha

❤ n

2. Jordan - April 16, 2009

Haha, yeah – I actually think that Chamillionaire doesn’t get enough credit, because he’s a really smart, well-spoken dude. Some people find it hard to look past songs like “Ridin'” and see that, but he’s a great lyricist.

3. Nichole - April 18, 2009

Yeah, most rap lyrics are deeper than they first appear/sound. My younger brother got me into some rap music and actually found some worth behind most of it.

Off subject, I’m still so glad I found your blog! I love reading your thoughts…haha that sounded creepy, but you know what I mean.

4. Brodie-Ann - April 29, 2009

Hi Jordan,
I would have to agree that I think its impossible for music to not capture a sense of emotion or induce an emotional response from it’s listeners. Granted each person will have a completley individual and personal response to a single piece of music or song but they of course WILL feel something. I tend to think that music is like our senses of smell or taste in that it triggers vivid memories and emotions within us based on our past experiences and perceptions. When im writing a song I can only guess at what others will gather from what I create and I can only strive (as we all do I guess in our own ways) to make myself understood and to connect with others. That’s the magic part; when completely different people fall in love with the same piece of music.

Excuse the music rant from a complete stranger lol, it’s just something Im really passionate about – found you through the LTT girls and have enjoyed reading your blog.


5. Jordan - April 30, 2009

Hi, Brodie-Ann! I’m glad you have enjoyed the blog (stop by anytime!), and thanks for leaving such a fantastic comment! Also – girl, you do not ever, EVER have to feel self-conscious about waxing philosophic on music. ESPECIALLY not on my blog. Trust me on that. I LOVE getting deep about music (among other things), and I loved reading what you had to say! You’re right – sooo much of what we do, and the way we interact with other people (including music), is about wanting to connect and to feel that sense of belonging. We need people to take on this crazy ride with us.

6. Brodie-Ann - April 30, 2009

Tell me your referencing Bill Hicks and we’ll be best pen pals FOREVER.

7. Jordan - April 30, 2009

I know of him and have heard his stuff before, but on that occasion, in my above comment? I actually wasn’t – are you talking about the “crazy ride” quote? I don’t know his material that well – it’s been a while. Sorry for not being in the loop! I’ll still take you up on the pen pals thing, though! lol

8. Brodie-Ann - April 30, 2009

Alright i forgive you…but get on youtube now and check him out

speaking of emotive music – Tool dedicated an album in his memory – very funny, very smart, insightful, political social satire rock star comedian.
I think with your seemingly open mindedness (poor grammar I know) views and love of music you will like him.

9. Jordan - May 3, 2009

Yeah, I like that video – from what I’ve read, it sounds like he went through a lot of stylistic shifts during his career, as far as what kind of vibe he went for with his comedy, so it sounds like there’s a lot to digest. Also, I listened to some Felinedown songs on Myspace and found it really interesting … I heard lots of different things going on. Do you guys ever get compared to Portishead? That’s kind of the vibe I caught, but more electric.

10. Brodie-Ann - May 5, 2009

Im glad you liked the video – his stuff is well worth a look and his commentary on music is fantastic.
I have heard the Portishead comparison before -mainly in relation to my voice at times – which is a huge complement as they are amazing.
We as a band have heaps of really varied influences so the music tends to shift from one song to another; and each song blends alot of styles.
Which makes life interesting 😉 and the writing process really fun.

11. Jordan - May 5, 2009

Yeah, I can definitely see people drawing the Portishead comparison from your voice (and you sound great, BTW) – I haven’t heard tons from Portishead, but I have a few friends who are HUGE fans of theirs. I’ll have to get them to check you guys out!

And that’s great that you have lots of different influences – that keeps the music vibrant. I listen to TONS of different stuff, so I definitely get you on that.

12. Brodie-Ann - May 6, 2009

Why thank you kind sir.

Yeah I love so many different kinds of music – which is why I thought your cd collection was so impressive! You had so many different bands and styles listed – which is always a good sign.
There is NOTHING worse than a music snob!
I mean my heart lies with music that I would place, if pushed, in the Alternative genre – but Im also a sucker for anything from a well constructed pop tune to country or classical.
You cannot deny the power of a great song regardless of the form it takes!

13. Jordan - May 6, 2009

haha, I’m glad you liked the CD collection – that page took SOOO LONG to put together, OHMIGAWD. I’m a stupid nerd and wanted to include the release year for each album, which took a lot of research for some of them (and for some re-issues I have), so yeah – I worked on that, off and on, probably for a couple of weeks before I had everything catalogued!

I COMPLETELY agree about how much music snobs can suck – with as much aggressive music as I listen to, I know that subculture pretty well, and there’s lots of elitists, unfortunately. It frustrates me to no end. I freely and openly talk about the variety of genres that I enjoy, and I love hearing others do the same.

Have you ever read anything that Tommy Lee (dude that used to be Motley Crue’s drummer) has written? Your last sentence made me think of him – I LOVE reading the parts of the books he has contributed to where he talks about music, because I think it’s just so obvious and up-front, how much he breathes it. I’d love to hang with him someday and just talk about music. In his book, he talks about the experience of being exposed to a great song for the first time, and how he just can’t help himself – he’ll listen to it over and over and over until he’s completely digested it. I’m the exact same way, and I love how much energy he seems to have and how palpable the difference is when he’s writing or talking about music. He gets just as excited as a 10-year old kid, and that’s how I still am!

14. Brodie-Ann - May 6, 2009

Yeah Im exactly the same – and I will listen to the song I fall for over and over again.. which now with the joys of the all powerful Iphone I can do nearly ALL the time. To and from work, while at the gym, while in the car…if I had my way life would have a movie soundtrack. Maybe that’s the next step for Iphone’s. Mine pretty much contains my life at the moment – its surely only a matter of time before they take over the world.
In a perfect world it would sense my thoughts and moods and select the appropriate playlist from Itunes to play inside my head at exactly the right moments.
Though my imagination is doing a pretty good job already.

15. Jordan - May 6, 2009

My friends and I have had discussions before about what life would be like, were it a movie soundtrack. Those discussions usually go downhill fairly quickly, lol, especially when we start talking about a “theme song” that would play, on command, whenever you wanted, no matter where you are. Then it just turns into everyone trying to “out-epic” everyone else, by throwing out suggestions like Europe’s “The Final Countdown”

16. Brodie-Ann - May 6, 2009

Can you imagine the situations a song like that would get you into?
Im sure it would’nt encourage a realistic view of my physical capabilties.

17. Jordan - May 6, 2009

LOL, yeah, no kidding – knowing some of my friends, one of us would probably end up trying to bench-press a Volvo. We would definitely need Edward’s help for that one. (and possibly Emmett’s)

18. Brodie-Ann - May 6, 2009

With my choice in music I’d probably end up in prison or in hospital – so Emmett and Edward’s help would definately be required…although i’d be partial to having the Cullen’s around regardless.

19. Jordan - May 6, 2009

Well, I’m in total agreement with you about having the Cullens around anyway, even if you’re not getting yourself into trouble. By the way, not that it matters or that I care, but I like how we’ve turned the comments on this post into our own chat thread, lol. Are you on Twitter?

20. Brodie-Ann - May 6, 2009

lol. I was just thinking the same thing.
Umm I just started one…


21. Jordan - May 6, 2009

weird – I couldn’t find one under that name. I found one named kittydown – do you use that one? I’m fateofallkinds

22. abnormalex - September 22, 2011


I did some digging to find this thread. Maybe my post will bring this discussion back to life!

I believe that all music does indeed evoke an emotion. Sometimes I wish that it didn’t though. This may make me a music elitist, a term that someone has previously mentioned, but I don’t care. I wish that some of the crappy pop music that is on the radio today didn’t make people feel anything. Emotion is endless, as it lives and breaths in a multiplicity of forms, but I think it should be treated as a sacred resource on the verge of being used up. Crappy music that evokes emotion is a waste of such emotion. This isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy seeing people dance happily and smile, even if they are listening to Miley Cyrus. I love that seeing live emotion. And I think it’s powerful when people feel sad after listening to Evanescene or something sappy and crappy like that. But man, I hate it at the same time.

Emotion is certainly behind every song, but the depth of such emotion is always arguable and subjective. From a humanist perspective, I love seeing people feel things, feel any type of emotion. But when people are feeling emotion evoked by songs that I find shallow, there is a cynical side of me that becomes worried. I wonder, “Is this what moves us nowadays? Is this where we waste our emotion?”

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