“To me, there are three things everyone should do every day. Number one is laugh. Number two is think — spend some time in thought. Number three, you should have your emotions move you to tears. If you laugh, think and cry, that’s a heck of a day.”
– Jim Valvano, ESPY Speech 1993
Today I want to talk about three things songs can do. This post is inspired by one of my favorite quotes from Jim Valvano(click here for speech). I believe that songs have many different roles, but every great song serves a purpose. In this article, I will be discussing three of those purposes. I believe great songs should make you laugh, make you think, or make you cry.
Songs have been shown to directly affect mood, as studies have shown. So it’s important to listen to songs that bring you joy. Sometimes you’re having a bad day, and a song comes on the radio that turns your day around. Songs can help you escape reality, even if it’s just for a few minutes. They make you smile, they make you laugh, they make life better. One of my best friends here in Nashville Manning Rothrock does an excellent job of this. Manning says he writes for the girl who gave up on her dreams, is clocking out at 5 p.m. on Friday, and just needs a break from life. That is a worthy endeavor. We all need to laugh and enjoy life. Songs can help us do that.
Songs can have a profound impact on how we see the world. Some of the most insightful pieces of art are the songs we listen to. Songs can impact how we interpret life events, view seasons of life, and find meaning in things we may have initially overlooked. So I would encourage each of you to write or listen to songs that make you think. A friend of mine Jakob Miller does this particularly well. He is able to capture the essence of moments and distill them into music that touches not just the heart but the mind as well. If you want to be a deep writer, as well as an educated listener, seek our songs that make you think.
Songs that can make you cry are extraordinarily powerful. One of the most powerful reactions to an event is shedding tears. Tears occur when we encounter something so real, so relatable, that it moves us deeply. Music can make us cry, and remind us that we’re not alone. That other people have experienced our pain, and have shared in our sorrows. Another close friend of mine Joy Beth Taylor writes songs to help people who feel alone. She uses her past and present struggles to help others find hope in their circumstances. Hope and tears are not mutually exclusive, and Country Music shows the link between the two well. Be real, get in touch with your soul, and don’t be afraid of music that makes you weep.
So there you have it. May your days and your songs be full of laughter, thoughts, and tears. What makes you laugh? What makes you think? What makes you cry? Share your opinions in the comments below.