It was not too long ago that I felt almost no motivation to crawl out of my bed in the morning. Relentless thoughts about my school work, personal life, and the uncertainty of my future gave me an overwhelming sense of dread that would sometimes last hours into my day. To complement my feelings of worthlessness, I would only listen to music that would reinforce my already gloomy mood. Tyler, the Creator’s Wolf, xxxTentacion’s 17, and Aesop Rock’s Labor Days were all albums that I would often listen to on a loop to help me get over the gigantic mental walls I was facing. It was my belief that if I chose music that best corresponded with my mood, it would help me cope with my experience. This proved to be a volatile mixture for my psyche because this music only perpetuated my feelings and eventually worsened them.
Not only did the music deteriorate my mood, but the lyrical content did as well, maybe even more so. Though the albums I previously mentioned are still great works of art in my eyes, I am not sure how much Tyler, the Creator telling me “Rest in peace or lie in it/life ain’t got not light in it” helped me through my troubled times. All of those albums have a very similar tone and subject matter which can be described as dark, hopeless or even depressing. I eventually reached a point where I desired to isolate myself and I would often just lie in my room listening to this music until I fell asleep. Looking back, I feel like an idiot for not thinking of simply switching to a more lighthearted playlist. But at the time, the music gave me something I felt I could identify with. It gave me reassurance that someone else understood what I was going through. But after months of experiencing no results, I knew I had to change things.
So one humid Monday morning I spontaneously decided to venture out of my musical comfort zone by listening to the completely opposite of what I was regularly listening to: smooth jazz. I do not know what possessed me to listen to jazz specifically, as it was my understanding that it was federal law that only people over the age of 65 could listen to that genre of music. Unbeknownst to me, the soothing nature of the music acted as a counterbalance to my melancholy or even sometimes angered frame of mind. Soon after picking up this new habit I began to realize that my mood did not choose my music, but rather, my music set my mood. So the next time you are feeling a bit blue, before visiting a therapist, try simply changing the station.