There is a great song that includes the line ‘I sing because I’m happy,” and I was thinking about that this morning, in a chicken and egg sort of way. Do I sing because I’m happy? Or am I happy because I sing? Music has been used for so many purposes and expressions over the course of human history, that I don’t think there is any one right answer to this question. Music can certainly be an expression of joy, but it can also be restoratively cathartic. Have you ever sung the blues? I mean for real. Have you ever been so down that all you could do was sing about it? I have, and the music helped. I know that at this point the song has almost become something of a one-note go-to joke, but when I was in middle school and R.E.M. released “Automatic for the People,” I will admit to lying on my bed wailing along to “Everybody Hurts” on more than one occasion.
So sometimes I am happier because I have sung. And sometimes I walk down the street, or airport, or crowded public restroom, and I just can’t contain the joyful music within myself. I will just shoo-bee-doo-bee-doo my way through the crowds, sometimes drawing smiles, sometimes drawing strange looks, and most of the time being ignored, and I will just exist in the moment and the music. I do sing because I am happy. And when I’m not happy, I sing anyway until the happiness returns. It works for me.
So what about you? Do you sing? Why? Why not? Do you only sing in the car or the shower, because you think singing is embarrassing? When you do sing, is it because you are happy? Because you are sad? Because you can’t get that damned Taylor Swift song out of your head? All of the above? And if you don’t sing, do you have another way to express the inner workings of your soul? Because for me, I just have to let it out somehow. Since I am bad at everything else, singing is it. But I’d love to hear from the majority of you who do not bebop their way through the supermarket. Why do you sing? And how do you release those things inside of you that need to get out? And what is better, happy singing, or sad singing? Let me know. I’m curious to hear your personal lyrics.