Meaningful Music: 5 Songs That Evoke Emotion

I love music and can listen to almost any genre. Of course what I listen to often depends on what I am in the mood for, upbeat and quick for dancing or classical when writing.

Music Is Life, That's Why Our Hearts Have Beat

Meaningful music songs can stand the test of time. They evoke an emotion in the listener. It doesn’t matter if the event is something that personally happened to you. The story in the song makes you feel something — empathy, compassion, longing, or any other feeling.

Here are 5 songs that evoke emotion in the listener

1. In the Ghetto

This song was written by Mac Davis and recorded by Elvis Presley in 1969. The story is the sad truth about social inequity. A child is born into poverty. Society turns its head and ignores the child’s needs. The child grows up on the streets in the ghetto, learning survival through theft and fighting, and that leads to his death as a young man.

Lyric Excerpt:

People don’t you understand
the child needs a helping hand
or he’ll grow to be an angry young man some day
Take a look at you and me,
Are we too blind to see?
Do we simply turn our heads and look the other way?

What hits me is that here we are 50 years later and this inequity still exists today. People in lower income areas are deprived of quality education from the time they are young children.

They experience the harsh realities of gun violence and other crime at an early age. Their outlook on life is not one of opportunity and success, it is one of pure survival. When will the world stop turning its head?

2. Maybe This Time

Released in 1983 and sung by Michael Martin Murphey this song talks of old sweethearts who after years apart meet again. Romantic feelings are rekindled and the relationship is better than it ever was. I’ve known at least two couples who have lived this story. A song that makes you believe in love and romance.

 Lyric Excerpt:             

It’s the same old feeling back again
It’s the one that they had way back when
They were too young to know when love is real
But somehow, some things never change
And even time hasn’t cooled the flame
It’s burnin’ even brighter than it did before
It got another chance, and if they take it….

There are people everywhere who experience relationships long dissolved and they move on in life. Most are for the better, but some come back for the better.

3. The Dance

The Dance has been my favorite song ever since it was recorded in 1990 by Garth Brooks. It says so much about life. People who take the chance and live life to the fullest may suffer a loss when someone dies too soon. To miss the pain of their loss, you would have missed the joy of the dance during their lifetime.

Lyric Excerpt:             

But if I’d only known how the king would fall
Hey who’s to say you know I might have changed it all
And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance

Most adults have had someone in their life that was taken too soon by death. Would you surrender the time you had with them to have not experienced the pain of their loss?  Of course not, because then you would have missed the dance.

4. Cats In the Cradle

A story of a boy growing up with a father who is always busy working and never has time for his son. The song was written and released by Harry Chapin in 1974. As the child grows, he adopts his father’s habits.

As the father ages he looks forward to spending time with his son. The son has grown up and is now too busy to time to spend with his dad. The father realizes that his son has grown up to be just like him.

Lyric Excerpt:             

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say “I’m gonna be like you, dad”
“You now I’m gonna be like you”

There are so many families where this is the way life goes. The parent is busy working and does not take time to spend with their children. One wonders, while there is love, is there true bonding? Sometimes yes, but I think sadly, sometimes no.

5. Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning

This song was written and sung by Alan Jackson in 2002 following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. It speaks of a country united by an attack on its people. The country was unified as it had not been in a long time, bound together for the greater good.

Lyric Excerpt:             

Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset for the first time in ages
And speak to some stranger on the street?
Go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off that violent old movie you’re watchin’
And turn on I Love Lucy reruns?
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangers
Stand in line and give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love?

As Americans banded together following the events there were no political attacks. Some liked the president’s actions, some didn’t, but as a country we were strong. President Bush pushed unity and pride in our country.

Now we are fighting a different kind of war, a battle against Covid-19. Unfortunately, we are no longer a country united. Both the citizens and its President have become hostile, angry, and violent. Instead of supporting each other, the country is at war with itself. We are never going to win against Covid-19 if we cannot stand as one united country waging the same battle in the same manner.

Meaningful Music

There are so many songs with lyrics that make an emotional impact. What songs evoke emotion in you? Comment below.

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Filed under Life is a Melting Pot

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