Lyrics & Your Brain
The psychological implication of words is enormous.
Words we hear in the morning can subconsciously guide our behavior throughout the rest of the day.
Happy song = good mood.
Sad song = bad mood.
Songs about anger, cheating, drinking, or drugs can take us somewhere we weren’t aware of, and probably don’t want to go.
Science & Stuff
Did you know that if you just looked at a list of negative words, it can dramatically affect your blood pressure and mood? It can increase anxiety, deepen depression, and release stress hormones in to not only your brain, but to the person speaking the words as well?
50% of you are saying, “oh wow.”
The other 50% are saying, “bulls***!”
Your brain can’t “not” think of something. When you are discussing things like: poverty, sadness, death, illness, they all cause our brains to react in a negative way. Just think about when you see a sad movie. Nothing happened to you, but you don’t feel great afterwards do you? No one walked out of Schindler’s List skipping and smiling (I hope).
Why does that happen? Because what we ingest with our eyes, and ears, the things we let come out of our mouths, have a huge impact on us.
If you are about to take a test, or have a big interview, you will do worse if you tell yourself to not fail, don’t screw it up, don’t be an idiot. Why? Because how does your brain interpret not failing? Not screwing up? Not being an idiot? It doesn’t! It locks in on: failing, screwing up, and idiocy. Guess what? You just f***ed up that meeting or test!
Now that we have some background, let’s get to the point.
It’s important to know what you are taking in. From food to music. Good in, good out.
I absolutely believe we can change the outcomes of our days by what we take in. I am going to focus on music because it is such a huge part of our lives.
Can what we listen to truly affect us?
If so, what are we listening to? What is our music setting us up for?
Let’s find out.
I am going to look up the top 5 songs on iTunes for today (9/19/16) and I am going to pull out the “power” words from the lyrics. Let’s see how they will be guiding our brains after listening to them.
Disclaimer: This is no reflection on the lyrics themselves. Most of these have beautiful words and wording. This is just about thoughts and reactions.
5. I Hate You, I Love You by gnash. This song is about cheating. When you listen to it, you are going to be put in to a cycle of thoughts about people you shouldn’t have messed around with and did, people you shouldn’t be messing around with and are, or people you haven’t messed around with but want to. How do you think that’s is going to go for you? Starting the day thinking about cheating? Or, thinking about being cheated on? All the pain that comes from that. Hell, that can get you worked up whether or not you have ever been cheated on. There is nothing beautiful about cheating. It’s ugly. Done in the dark, on the low, out of the light, ugliness.
You take what you hear, and what you see, and your body and mind react. Is this what you want to react to? Cheating? Destroying trust? Breaking hearts? Turmoil? Pain?
4. Gold by Kiiara. Full disclaimer, I had to look these lyrics up. I had no idea what the hell she was saying. And even “fuller” disclaimer, I read the lyrics and I still don’t really know what the hell she is talking about. Anyhoo, I have the general idea, I think. She is going out with an a**hole. What does that do for you? Makes you think about all the a**holes you went out with. It might get you angry all over again. You might look at your current relationship and think they are an a**hole! Maybe they would tell you if the “roof was burning,” but maybe they didn’t tell you something else. Now you are mad. Gold teeth? Tasting like money? I don’t know, but it sounds tacky and ugly, so now you are thinking about tacky ugly stuff. Let’s not skip the fact that she humped the dudes’ brother. He was a “good replacement for you.” Now you are listening to a cheater, in a bad relationship, and she can’t let him go. Have a good day!!
We have only done two songs, and both are talking about being in s*** relationships and sticking with them. Empowering? Uplifting? Me thinks no.
3. My Way, by Calvin Harris. “You were the one thing in my way.” This sounds empowering. He uses the word “were,” as in, not any more. But, he says that he made his move, it was all about the other person, and now he is far removed from everything. That’s no bueno. We are now 3 for 3 on love being stupid. Loving the wrong person, love not working out, etc. Is there any wonder why the divorce rate is so high? The first 3 songs are about s*** relationships. 2 of them involving cheating. Yikes!!
These are all seeds being planted in our brains. Whether you know it or not, these are affecting your relationships. They are digging up old, painful memories. Honestly, there are no good memories or imagery that can come from any of these songs. Calvin’s is close, but he is basically saying following his heart F’ed him over.
What are we doing to ourselves?
2. Heathens, by twenty one pilots. I just imagine someone listening to this on the subway, on the way to work in the morning. “You’ll never know the freakshow/psycholpath/murderer next to you.” What a great way to say good morning!! Paranoia! Being wary of groups that you don’t belong to. With all the attacks by groups around the world, this isn’t exactly reassuring. This song creates feelings of tension, anxiety and fear. I am sure it would be great with your buddies on Friday, but this is a F everyone else kind of song when you are by yourself. Everyone is the enemy. Everyone is suspicious. I am dangerous. I am not to be f’ed with. And all of this, with your morning coffee. Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays.
- Closer, by The Chainsmokers. You don’t need the girl. She spends more than she makes, which means she is superficial and focused on her image. She is a thief, she is an ex, but they still bang. Again, bad relationship. People being used. People taking themselves too lightly, lacking values. People living with a general disrespect of themselves, and you are taking it all in. Their words, their thoughts, become your thoughts, potentially your words, and your actions.
Each time your hear something bad, you become more and more immune to it. It can be drinking, cheating, drugs, anything. You hear it and become desensitized to it. If you are desensitized hearing it, you are desensitized seeing it, then thinking it, then sooner or later you are doing it. You are what you consume, who you are around, the things you take in through your eyes and ears. Think about that. It’s time to listen with more of a purpose.
What Does This All Mean?
I don’t think that any of you reading this are like any of the people in these songs. That being said, these songs inject the thought process of these people, who are not like you, in to your head. That’s where I see the issue arising.
The scariest part is it’s cyclical.
If you are sad and you listen to Counting Crows (circa 1994), there is no way you will feel better. Again, amazing lyrics, beautiful songs, but you are not coming out of that funk with Mr. Duritz and company. Hell, even if you aren’t sad, CC is bringing you down. You feed your brain what it eventually produces. It hears and sees sad, it produces sad. Make sense?
I am white as f***. But when I was riding around in 1998 listening to DMX, you would have thought I was a damn Ruff Rider. Saying crazy s***. Doing crazy s***. I was an idiot. Talking tougher than I was. Repping my “hood” like I wasn’t from the damn suburbs in Silicon Valley. It was ridiculous looking back on it. Just to be clear, I was not one of those white boys that dropped the N word because I listened to DMX, Busta Rhymes or Andre Nickatina. Always hated those idiots that did that. But I was still an idiot. The words came in, they looked around, made themselves and home, and settled down.
Music Has So Much Power
What we take in through our eyes and ears has so much influence over us.
It’s a vicious cycle if we allow it.
We take it in, we think about it, and before we know it, it is coming out of our mouths, it is seeping through our actions. We are it and it is us.
Think about your music. Rap, country, pop, whatever. What are they talking about? What are they putting in your brain? What are you allowing to put in your brain? Drugs? Drug dealing? Drinking? Cheating? Good relationships? Bad relationships? Violence? Fear?
You are what you eat.
You are what you watch.
You are what you listen to.
It’s time to do all of those things with purpose. So we can become who we want.