Musical Effects

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At The Chronicle, Mark Edmundson, English professor at University of Virginia, explains the emotional importance of pop music, as it “suggests, by its easy, pleasurable repetitions,” that our “static inside” makes sense, as “we can pretend, for the duration of a song, that there is harmony in our lives.”

“The sadness in a Leonard Cohen song or the Beatles’ ‘Norwegian Wood’ was different from the sadness that inhabited my spirit. The musical sadness was melodious: It had a shape, it made sense, it flowed along almost predictable lines.”


Charley Locke reports on education technology and reform. You can find her journalism on EdSurge, her tweets @charley_locke, and her drawings on her parents’ fridge. You can also sometimes spot Charley imperiously making book recommendations while managing the McSweeney’s Pop-Up Shops. More from this author →