music journalism, Op-Ed
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The Sound of Empathy: Finding Oneself in Songs – Louder Than War

There is pure rhapsody when we find a bit of ourselves floating in the universe. That moment when, upon completing a Buzzfeed quiz entitled ‘which Game of Thrones Character Are You’ that the answer confirms what we have always known. When our horoscope aligns perfectly. When the vague, haphazard ‘what ifs’ of the universe become specific details to which we go aha, that is me. We seek to find ourselves everywhere but within our own skin. And music is no different. We seek, in each rhyming verse, a kernel of truth about ourselves that makes us feel that we’re not alone. We search for catharsis. Understanding. Empathy. And we find it, by whatever means necessary.

At sixteen, I remember clinging to the pole of the M101 bus, hurling itself up first avenue. I always stood. I had my headphones shoved into my ears and Martha and the Vandellas belted out ‘Dancing In The Streets’ and before I knew it, I was crying. It would be more eleven years before I looked back at this moment with any sort of critical eye. I wonder, now, what it is about songs that bring up in us tears – of joy or sadness or both. The conclusion I’ve come to is this: empathy.

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