Music plays a role in countless human lives. Emotions, memories, and even spirituality can be bound up in music. God is a lover of good songs, too.
Music lovers, particularly country music, blues, and some pop or rock tunes, listen to a steady stream of sad songs with lyrics and melodies about lost love, broken relationships, conditions of poverty, and depression. Love songs are big too, but the plaintive sounds of marital strife, separation, and discord dominate the various genres.
If one considers the real-life situations people find themselves in, is it any wonder people relate to music that tugs at one’s heartstrings? There also seems to be a cultural component involved in the plaintive sounds of a country or Bluegrass fiddle tune that seems to mimic the wail of the bagpipes. Then consider the recurrent theme of blues music, which comes primarily from the African American experience and culture. Whatever their taste in music, people around the world gravitate to their favorite sad songs.
There is the old joke that if you play a country song backwards, you’ll sober up, your spouse will return, and you’ll get your pickup truck back. While this is humorous, it makes the point that these kinds of problems are the theme of much of popular music. Even opera and some classical pieces are based on the foibles of human conduct seen through a dark or mournful lens.
Is this a new phenomenon? No! King David “a man after God’s own heart” experienced low points in his life—some brought on by his own mistakes—and wrote elegant, sad songs. In the Book of Psalms, he wrote, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble; my eye wastes away with grief, yes, my soul and my body! For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. I am a reproach among all my enemies, but especially among my neighbors, and am repulsive to my acquaintances; those who see me outside flee from me. I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel. For I hear the slander of many; fear is on every side; while they take counsel together against me, they scheme to take away my life” (Psalm 31:9–13). In several places, David cried out, “Forsake me not!” (Psalm 38:21). It sounds like the themes from much of the music of today.
Actually, what produces the anguish expressed in these musical pieces should not be a mystery. The cause of these problems is plainly described by our Creator in His instruction book for mankind, the Bible. For example, He stated, “But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes… I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart…. And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins” (Leviticus 26:14–18).
To break God’s commandments brings problems that inspire sad songs. But there is good news! A profound change is coming. The Bible plainly states that the Messiah, Jesus Christ, will return in great power with the blast of a great Trumpet to bring His Kingdom to this earth. The problems caused by disobedience will be solved and a new age of righteousness and prosperity for all will be established. Then the songs people sing will turn from sadness to gladness. Isaiah wrote about this in Isaiah 35:10: “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
Many other Scriptures point to this time of restoration of all things. You can read more about this part of God’s Plan in our free booklet entitled The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like? You, too, can look forward to a time with no more sad songs.