News Flash: Sad Songs Make You Sadder.

I don’t like sad songs. Listening to them is like messing withyour heart and that thing already has a s**tload of work to do. I’ve never been comfortable with them. And it’s not because I’m afraid of feeling. Believe me, I could do with a day or two of not feeling. Feeling is exhausting, people. It’s the idea that you’re letting something make you sadder than you already are. There’s plenty of stuff in the world to make you sad – for example, a Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins franchise at 11pm. Point is, I don’t really need a depressing whipped cream topping on that miserable, fat sundae. And that’s exactly what sad songs are to me.

I don’t know when my dislike for depressing songs started, but I’m guessing it was somewhere in the developmental stage – what age that is or what that even means is beyond me, but it makes me sound like I might know something, so let’s go with it. I remember one of the first songs that made me really upset was Debbie Gibson’s break-up ballad, ‘Foolish Beat’.  Now keep in mind, at the time I had no reference for anything being said in the song. My romantic experiences up until that point were non-existent because at that age I had the sex appeal of a Tupperware container. There was next to zero contact with boys. The only boy in my life was my 16-year-old neighbor, who I lovingly referred to as “Gay Charlie” (because he was gay and his name was Charlie). He talked to me a lot about heartache and loved that song. Charlie would play it on his yellow Sony Walkman, hand me one side of his headphones, and cry in front of me. Just cry and cry while I quietly sat in his room waiting for him to get tired of crying so that he’d go with me to the deli to buy a Snickers bar and a Coke… It was a pretty popular place where a lot of the kids hung out and I wasn’t about to walk in there and purchase said items alone – doing that seemed sadder than anything Debbie Gibson had whined about.

What stuck with me years later, besides acne, was the idea of Gay Charlie making himself sad with music. I never understood it. As I grew older and shed all that fructose syrup off my ass, I finally had the opportunity to date a boy or two and, consequently, understand ‘Foolish Beat’. Here’s what I realized: there’s way too much saxophone in the song. Seriously. It’s about 90% saxophone. I challenge any teen singer today to add that much “jazz sax” to their Top 40 hit.

The other, more important realization is that I enjoy music that makes me happy.  Listening to sad things when I’m already sad seems pointless, like eating when I’m full or explaining iPads to my mom. Instead, I choose to listen to really upbeat tunes to help me forget I’m upset, or at least help me repress the issue until I’m seemingly less miserable. So, if you ever see me walking down the street with ‘Rock Lobster’ blaring from my headphones, chances are something really s***ty happened and you should probably buy me a Snickers bar.