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The “sad” songs of Green Day, Soundgarden or Foo Fighters would make a car trip happier

This was revealed by a study carried out by the University of New York.

Sad, emotional or melancholic songs, such as “Wake me up when September ends”, by Green Day; "Black Hole Sun", by Soundgarden; and "Mr Brightside", by The Killers, can allow you to start the day with a mood boost that lasts for two hours.

This is one of the conclusions of a new study on the emotional power of music playlists for cars powered by Ford, with Spotify and the New York University. "Back to Black", by Amy Winehouse and "Run" by foo Fighters, would also fall into that category.

What all these songs have in common is both a rhythm that invites you to drive and a feeling of melancholy that, according to the study, is the one that many people choose as the best soundtrack for their daily commutes.

The “sad” songs of Green Day, Soundgarden or Foo Fighters would make a car trip happier"For many drivers, when planning trips it is as important to prepare the music you want to listen to when you visit the family, go to the gym and go or return to work as choosing the best route", assured Marcel brecker, Ford of Europe engineer.


Scientists have identified two key characteristics of music that work together to create mood. The "energy" drives the song. Rhythm, tempo, and "valence" describe the depth, emotion, and feeling of a song. Together, these elements can be a balm that enlivens even the most tedious journey.

For the study, tests were conducted in Germany, Spain, France, Italy and the UK, listening to carefully selected playlists with different combinations of "energy" and "valence."

Drivers' moods were identified through questionnaires filled out immediately before, immediately after, and at hourly intervals after morning commutes.

Songs with a driving beat worked best, but sad songs, or those in a minor key, with "low valence" turned out to be just as popular as happier, "high valence" music.

"Across the board, high-energy music left all of our test participants with 'charged batteries' for the rest of the day." explained Amy Belfi, a cognitive neuroscientist at New York University who is an expert on the effects of music on the brain.

“What was particularly interesting was that instead of being the 'happy' songs that lifted the spirits, the emotional and melancholic songs also had that effect. Of course, 'sad' songs can make us feel good. They can remind us, for example, of difficult experiences that we have overcome and from which we have learned ”.

"For this experiment we focused on how attributes of music such as 'energy' and 'valence' can influence mood throughout the day", says Koppel Verma, from Spotify, who served as an advisor on the research project.

“This study shows that it's not just upbeat, energetic pop tunes that work in the morning. In fact, when we analyzed the data on the playlists on the commutes we realized that many of them contained a large number of songs with a melancholic tone ", Agregó.

“This is significant because previous research has shown us that the morning commute to work is an important transition time; we can now use our data to help set the tone for the day ahead. ", concluded Verma.





Automundo is the blog about news from the automotive industry, motorsport and the culture of the region. Director: Diego Durruty.

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