"Daddy, this music is not making me feel happy." That's what my four year old daughter said to me as I played my new prized-possession, a limited edition reproduction test pressing of Big Star's Third, an album I've listened to regularly in one form or another since the age of fifteen. It's a pretty sensible statement. Really, what other reaction could a normal four year old have?
You're a wasted face
You're a sad-eyed lieYou're a holocaust
But why should we enjoy (or even listen to) music that doesn't make us happy? Or is it possible that incredibly sad music can--on some level--make us happy under the right circumstances? I don't have any easy answers to those questions, other than to say that as we move past the age of four, some of us learn to embrace music that covers the full spectrum of human emotion (love, happiness and ecstatic joy, yes, but also anger, fear and even depression). Maybe you get to a certain age and you're happy just to still be able to feel anything at all, and sometimes you need art (musical or otherwise) to provoke an emotional response to remind you that you're alive, that you're a human being.
You're eyes are almost dead
Can't get out of bed
And you can't sleep
I didn't try to explain any of this to my daughter. She'll have to find out for herself.