"The songs Susan and Mike just played were pretty happy," said Jerry. "I'm going to play a sad song."
He did—a lovely, wistful breakup tune. When he finished, it was my turn again.
"Like the last song, mine is also a sad tale, filled with regret," I said, and launched into Quicksand.
* * *
It was a running theme. Every time one of the performers played something that wasn't cheerful, they would point it out. As if music is by default happy and upbeat, and anything that deviates from this requires an apology, or at least an explanation.
I'm not sure why. Songs are meant to convey a full range of emotions. Sadness is kind of an important one. And when I'm feeling down, the last thing I want to do is listen to music that tries to convince me all is right with the world. I seek out something that suits my mood. Only after a few sad or angry songs am I ready to consider anything more upbeat.
So why were we defensive about what we'd written?
Do some listeners conflate "sad" with "low energy" and "boring"?
Have we as a society bought into positive thinking to such a degree that we don't want to acknowledge negativity even in our art?
What do you think? Do you avoid sad songs? If yes, why?