Well made music stirs emotion. Music can encompass or traverse genre. Emotion? Maybe it is patriotic. Maybe it’s passionate. Maybe it’s funny. Maybe it’s emo and shoe gaze-y. Maybe it’s a lot of things and you can’t quite figure it out because you’re too busy being emotional because of that well made music.
My Achilles’ Heel, musically, is Chumbawamba’s 1997 irritatingly hopeful and delightfully disjointed British pub anthem, Tubthumping. It makes me want to cry every time I hear it. I used to actually cry every time I heard it. Why?
Part of my emotional release is right there in the chorus for all to hear — I get knocked down / but I get up again / y’ain’t never gonna keep me down — over and over again, Sisyphean in its repetition, and significant.
I did that, taking the knock down and getting up again, but not always in a healthy way for me. I made poor decisions based on false equivalence and self sacrifice for things not quite hope shaped. There’s a fatalism there, too, that I tend toward.
The other part my emotional release is in a lyrical bit — Don’t cry for me next door neighbor.
I do not understand why that bit gets me like it does. I expect it’s because I want my emotional process — illness or depression or whatnot — to be mine and not have someone close to me weigh in because that’s how I do it (for better and worse). Granted, in such a case the closeness would be geographical. I further expect I also didn’t want pity, but to have someone to whom I’m only geographically close to expel tears on my behalf would be too much.
Songs that people think should trigger an emotional response? Harry Chapin’s “Cat in the Cradle”, Elton John’s “Rocketman”, maybe the gawdawful “American Pie” by Don McLean. None of those rank in my book.
Throw a “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot at me, a song about sacrifice and circumstance, and we can talk about a tear jerking song.