At this point, even if you have not screamed the opening to Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts,” you have definitely heard it. Although Lizzo is not everyone’s style, her positive messages and uplifting beats undoubtedly raise the spirits in any room. So, when Lizzo or any other lyric-positive song is on your playlist, exactly what happens in between your earbuds? Just how powerful is music?
Music is designed to be memorable. Repetition, rhyme and patterns work perfectly in sync to make a song a success. The knowledge that lyrics are designed to stay in your head provides more thought as to the significance of your playlist.
“We have such a deep connection to music because it is ‘hardwired’ in our brains and bodies. The elements of music – rhythm, melody, etc. – are echoed in our physiology, functioning and being,” Barbara Else, senior advisor of policy and research at the American Music Therapy Association told Medical News Today. “We shop in trendy stores to peppy pop background music and hear playful music in the elevator to help pass the time. Whether we realize it or not, music controls our subconscious.”
The CIA uses music to torture prisoners, playing songs like Queen’s “We are the Champions” on repeat for weeks on end at ear-splitting volume. Binyam Mohamed, who listened to “Slim Shady” by Eminem for 20 days straight said that the torture made many prisoners lose their minds. They would be “screaming and slashing their heads against walls,” he said.
Elena Mannes, who devoted her life to humans’ relationship with music, explored the relationship music has with brain development. One of her studies found that infants respond positively to chords and mimic the basic intervals found in Western music, at just a few weeks old.
“Music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function. [There is] so much potential in music’s power to change the brain and affect the way it works,” Mannes said to National Public Radio .
Mannes sees a future in which music can help stroke or Parkinson’s patients. Known as melodic intonation therapy, this technique uses music to influence portions of the brain to take over for portions that are damaged. It could help some patients regain their ability to speak.
“A stroke patient who has lost verbal function — those verbal functions may be stimulated by music,” said Mannes.
The power music has is capable of great things, and it can be utilized every day. Cloud Cover Music reported a 2013 study with the conclusion that “people who listened to upbeat music improved their moods and happiness, for the long-term, within two weeks.”
Musicians like Lizzo are utilizing the power of music for good, supporting self-love and confidence.
“It’s unfair for us to assume that people know how to love themselves … [corporations have] spent decades telling people they weren’t good enough and selling them an ideal of beauty. All of a sudden you’re selling them self-love? People don’t know how to love themselves,” Lizzo told The Guardian .
With the media constantly broadcasting beauty standards and expectations, it is especially inspiring and refreshing to see positive body-image messages in entertainment.
“Lizzo reminds me to be a strong, independent woman every day and [to] not be afraid of embracing myself and the women around me,” Kayla Hanrahan ’20 said.
Whether you are blasting Lizzo or not, music has a strong influence on our human conscious. Choose the music that makes you happy because it does have the power to do so.
Image courtesy of People