Who said that pop music is happy? The other day, out of pure curiosity I started searching songs with titles where the act of crying appears somehow and I was hardly surprised by the results.
Pop music is truely a weeping man´s world, full of songs about bitter tears and tears of a clown, 96 tears and rosy star tears from heaven, tears for affairs and tears in one´s cup, tears that dry on their own and tears that run rings around the eyes, tears for the man on the moon and black tears, rain and tears and nothing but tears, golden teardrops and and two types of teardrops, crying games and crying times, crying in the chapel and crying one self to sleep, crying in the rain and crying a river, crying to heaven and crying the night away, crying for attention and crying one´s heart, crying for a shadow and crying all the way to the pawnshop, dancing with tears in one´s eyes and doves (& angels) that cry.
Obviously, people have always chosen to sing about emotional outbursts that involve heavy lacrimating. Love may be still pop music´s favourite subject but crying, being one of the side effecs, also rides high in popularity.
When stress levels grow too much, crying is the only way to let off some steam and lighten up. It has been said that through tears and mucosal secretion-remember all those snotty kleenex you leave all around in each outbreak- the body gets rid of a great amounts of hormones accosiated with stress.
Thus we all feel better after a good weeping session . I would also point out that crying, being a violent outburst, makes us feel human like beings, alive and kicking. No wonder that in a stressfull and quite mechanical and antiseptic world there are so many people who go to watch sad movies in order to be able to let go in the darkness of a cinema, people who listen on repeat THAT song that reminds them of THAT moment and can never fail pull their trigger or even people who go to funerals often, even to funerals of peope they do not even know to cry their hearts out. Some might say that those people do not have real problems and need to invent their little tragedies-and maybe this is quite true.
Some might say that all the above are clearly acts of masochism . I would point out that maybe they are acts of hedonism because at the end of the day crying, just like laughter, feels good. And sounds good in songs. And looks good-have you ever looked yourself in the mirror after a good session of sobbing? The eyes have a distinct shine, their colour is brighter, the face looks calm, serene, peaceful. I could fall in love easily with somone who has just burst into tears in front of me. In fact I have.
Furthermore, apart from being a reaction to pain and stress, crying is a sign of helpnessness, a non-verbal and often unconscious cry for help towads the people around us. We are taught to be self sufficient since our youngest days but even the bravest, most proud person can sometimes feel like a scared ugly ducklin who needs to hide below the wings of mother goose and cry itself to sleep.
On the other hand, it is also said that boys don´t cry and big girls neither .The truth is that for a lot of people the pleasure of crying is denied. A friend of mine was telling me the other day that he is totally unable to cry. A question of culture or character? Is crying a guilty pleasure maybe? In the future are there going to be “sobbing shops” like “sex shops” where we will sneak with a slight embarassed expression on our faces just to pay to get into a cabin where they project sad movies and they play tearjerkers?
Could it be that crying is going to be like an illegal drug? Are there going to be crying dens like the opium dens, where people will gather secretly to tell heartbreaking stories and put on the saddest ballads by Patsi Cline or Irma Tomas?
Having said all that, I have to admit I haven´t shed too many tears lately. Maybe at some french movie, one of those where everything is romantic and doomed at the same moment and love can never win. Or maybe listening to some bittersweet song from some indie spanish pop band reminding me of summers long gone. Some could say that the luxury of talking about crying in only for those who don´t really have to cry, for those western-world middle class kids without serious problems, for those who have not been touched by real tragedies…and they are probably true.
But I just love pop music and I am old enough to say that I know all there is to know about the crying game, I had my share of the crying game, first there are kisses, then there are sighs…la la la. Just remember what the Caravelles sang back in 1963…You don´t have to be a baby to cry.