Happiness from Angry Music

Does Metal make you mellow?

That is what Andrew Sullivan asks in referencing this article at The Atlantic by Leah Sottile.

In my experience, metal isn’t for angry people. It’s bigger than anger. Better, even. I’ve found most metal musicians and heavy music aficionados aren’t nearly as pissed off and angry as people assume.

And that got me thinking: Is it possible that listening to angry music could make people happier? Do hours and years of loud riffs and screeching vocals pummeling your ear drums actually mellow you out? 

It’s a theory backed up in a recent study conducted by Maya Tamir and Brett Ford, researchers from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In one study, 175 people were asked to participate in role-playing exercises where they had to either confront a person—like a cop interrogating a suspect—or collaborate with someone. But before the role-playing began, the subjects were allowed to choose from a selection of music to aid in evoking the emotions they would need: Anger, happiness, or neutrality. It was up to them to choose what they wanted to hear. “Music is often used as a way to manipulate emotions, I just had people decide how to manipulate their own emotions,” Tamir says.

The subjects were also asked questions about their emotional health, happiness, and feelings of social support.

It’s no novel idea that someone might choose to rev themselves up with aggressive music before a engaging in a tough task: A fourth quarter tie-breaker, a tense salary negotiation. And no surprise, the folks who chose angry music had no problem completing their tasks.

But Tamir also found that the people who chose to be pissed off actually showed a greater sense of well-being overall than the people who avoided feelings of unpleasantness.

I’ve found music to have great healing power…and yes some of my favourites are “angry” songs.


Do you want:

  • Ad-free access?
  • Access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • Access to daily sudoku?
  • Access to Incite Politics magazine articles?
  • Access to podcasts?
  • Access to political polls?

Our subscribers’ financial support is the reason why we have been able to offer our latest service; Audio blogs. 

Click Here  to support us and watch the number of services grow.

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

40%