Romanticization of serious topics in music

It is hard for some to distinguish the difference between self-expression and romanticization


Courtesy of Creative Commons

Music Talk: People in the music industry create music that touches on difficult topics. Audiences of some music artists found it hard to listen to their music due to some of the themes having the possibility of being glorified. “Some examples would be to glorify depression, self harm, or encourage unhealthy behavior for the human brain,” senior Kendra Griffen said.

Everyone has that song or artist that they always go to for comfort music, right? It’s the best feeling when you have exactly what you’re feeling put into art. Especially when you’re dealing with something exceptionally hard and there is music that cover topics on mental health, abuse, or even suicide. Although it is important to have music written for hard topics, it can sometimes be read the wrong way. There are times when art is written to be relatable or to help someone feel less alone, but there is some art that can be interpreted as glorifying something that shouldn’t be glorified.
There is a huge difference between self expression and romanticization in music. Self expression when writing music allows the artist to connect their elaborate feelings into art and sound. Romanticizing in music may change the way mental health is discussed, change people’s perspective on how real abuse/mental illness occurs and may even encourage someone to take part in something they don’t know much about because they heard it through a song. It is important when listening to music to understand that all audiences are going to interpret it differently.
“Audiences can interpret music in different ways and can see it as romanticizing a certain issue. I feel like specific artists have very unique ways of talking about triggering situations in music, It’s a way for artists to express themselves and talk about things they’ve been through or problems that circulate around the world,” senior Avery Newman said.
Some artists that have been known to inspect topics like mental illness, abuse, or suicide are Billie Eilish, Panic! At The Disco, Pierce the Veil, Logic and Lana Del Rey. There is a song called “Ultraviolence” by Lana Del Rey that is all about being in a physically abusive relationship, the way it affected her and how she felt during that time. A part of the song says, “He hit me and it felt like a kiss.” This part of the song is up for interpretation for any listeners, but also in a way was written for the artist to express how they got through that rough patch; it’s not to portray that abuse is right. Some audiences may have gone through the same thing and can relate to that type of song. Doing so allows them to confront their past or present problems and come out of it stronger.
“The situations that make you feel uncomfortable or terrified to even face, the stuff that you’ve been bottling up are inevitable, and we all have to face our fears. The music we have to listen to changes along with our minds. We just have to listen a little closer,” senior Kendra Griffin said.
Although it may be good to listen to music with hard topics like these, some audiences may not be ready to listen. People listen to the types of music that they want to. We often find ourselves listening to music that we relate to or what makes us feel good. Some people who are going through hard times might not want to be reminded of the things that they are struggling with. Which is why it is important for artists to express themselves, and for the listeners to interpret it the way they want to. Romanticization is always up for interpretation. It is possible for people to have negative feelings when listening to music that analyzes hard topics like depression and abuse.
“I’m not very happy when I see that in music, especially because I’m a big fan of it. There’s a difference between talking about it rather than ‘abuse is attractive’ or ‘depression is a form of attraction’. It really is not, coming from someone who suffers from depression. I don’t find it attractive,” senior Taylor McAllister said.
Music and art should ask the hard questions, it should leave you with strong emotion and allow you to reflect on yourself. It is up to the listeners to decide what music they love and want to listen to. Some may think it is romanticization, while others will see it as something that a lot of people go through, even if it seems like a topic that “shouldn’t” be talked about. “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the uncomfortable.” – Cesar Cruz.