music and emotions

music and emotions: expression

Sometimes men who have experienced child sexual abuse can struggle to express emotions. Sometimes men who have experienced sexual assault can feel overwhelmed by emotions or feel ‘comfortably numb’. Music can help us to identify and express emotions. Music can help us feel alive and connected. And sometimes music can be life changing. Music can move us and unite us. And sometimes music can help to change the world.

Information from music therapists is that it can be good to listen to music that fits your mood and music that reflects the mood you would like to be in. See ‘How music can support our well-being’ and check out Tune In Not Out.

Collected on this page are some songs which men who have been sexually abused have found validating and encouraging at different times in their life. We are extremely grateful for their generosity in sharing their insights, thoughts and personal play lists. Due to the wonders of the internet and sites like Spotify, we have been able to create an extended playlist for everyone to listen to.

We invite you to contribute

We invite you to send us your own personal playlist with respect to expressing different emotions, perhaps including commentary about what music or certain songs mean to you. Please send us a message with your contribution to this page.

Craig said

I have cobbled together a list some songs that I have stacked up on my computer, that move me. I have never thought of the music as representing my moods, but can now clearly see that when I was labelling each song with a mood, that I actually do get drawn to these songs according to the mood. For example, when angry, I quickly skip over the lollypop songs.

I only have about 5 moods, or at least 5 categories of music.

Angry – I play these songs when I am angry, but able to still get enjoyment from them. They don’t make me angry (stepping on lego pieces in barefeet does that).

Deep – this is when I am most alert and I get drawn into the words and the music (almost note by note). I go very deep into these songs and they consume me.

Fun – just good fun songs that make me dance (on the inside) or play air guitar.

Sad – same, good sad songs that reflect where I am at the time. Pensive and melancholy.

Wakeup-Grounding – The songs are a great lift up and they ground me. I don’t go deep into them but they keep me on the surface and buoyant. I’ve even slipped in Ravel’s Bolero in that. The Youtube clip of Andre Rieu’s orchestra is a ripper, and condensed into 7 minutes.

This has been a good exercise for me. It was good to catalogue my moods according to music and realise that its not the music that either adds value to the mood, or dampens it. It just reflects it and gives the mood clarity. It’s a very good grounding exercise, as now when I am drawn to the angry songs I realise that I am probably angry. I’m picking on angry a lot at the moment, must be my current comfort-zone.

Peter said

On reflection, my experience of music composition and performance has been a significant protective factor over the last 40+ years. It has been a privilege to occupy this space and the opportunity to work with other musicians and the broader arts community has enriched my inner and outer worlds. I remember watching a doco on a Welsh choir (yes, coal-dusty men) and one of the chaps mustered one of the most splendid observations I’ve ever heard. It went something like this… “Every day you sing, means an extra day you live”. In mainstream Australian culture, where the only opportunities for collective song are confined to awkward renditions of Happy Birthday and Auld Langs Eyne, the case for karaoke becomes strong! Sharing music through smart devices has offered young people greater scope to explore aspects of identity and affiliation. And it is certainly a lot easier to transport into social spaces than the appalling cassette players of my youth.

It is a great idea and I wouldn’t be surprised if the young person in us all grabs the opportunity to communicate something about ourselves through the tracks chosen.

Rob said

Songs for me tend to be a reflection or augmentation to how I’m feeling. So I look for music that matches or enhances/supports/intensify the mood I am in.

B- said

Probably one of the key albums that I used a lot was a compilation called Cafe Del Mar Vol 7. It is definitely non mainstream music and while it does fall under the electronica banner, it is certainly no banging Trance or similar lol. It is a very chilled compilation and I spent many a late night drunk or lightly stoned or…. whatever or combinations thereof heh heh (that’s just where I was at the time), allowing the music to get me into a very contemplative space. It helped me to feel the entire gamut of emotions…

When I am at work or when I am exercising, I get motivation and/or inspiration from Trance or House music. Driving bass, epic synth riffs and huge lofty melodies really energise me. When I am in a fun mood, or NEED to be, lol, sometimes some good old cheesy 70s disco helps :)


Emotion Artist Song Title Youtube Spotify
Raw Harry Nilsson Without You
Pearl Jam Daughter
Bush Glycerine
Happy To the Moon and Back Savage Garden
Your Song (How wonderful life is) Ewan McGregor
Coldplay Paradise
Sad Pink Floyd The Great Gig in the Sky
Gary Jules Mad World
James Taylor Millworker
Ben Harper Amen Omen
The Celtic Angels In the Arms of the Angels
Neil Young The Needle and the Damage Done
Angry Pink Floyd The Happiest Days of our Lives
Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit
A Perfect Circle Judith
The Cure Primary
The Mark of Cain The Contender
Bauhaus Telegram Sam
Deep Boy and Bear Part Time Believer
The Go-Betweens Cattle and Cane
Josh Pyke Memories and Dust
Grounding Canned Heat On the Road Again
The Church The Unguarded Moment
Hunters and Collectors Back on the Breadline
Anxious David Bowie I’m Afraid of Americans
Relaxed Vince Jones Nature of Power
Lonely Robin Trower Bridge of Sighs
The Reels Quasimodo’s Dream
The Smiths The Boy with the Thorn in his Side
Positive/Strong WWIII Reason
Thoughtful New Order All Day Long
REM Mad World

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Fun Eminem I’m Back
Mental as Anything Come Around
Violent Femmes American Music
Destruction Craig David Rise and Fall
Power D-12 Ft. Eminem At 6 in the Morning
Resilience Eminem Soldier
Joyful James Blunt One of the Brightest Stars
Death Britney Spears Everytime
Recovery Coldplay Fix You
Hope REM Everybody Hurts


1 comment

  1. Comment by jordon

    jordon Reply May 1, 2019 at 5:27 am

    i listen to rap because theres diffrent styles i can listen to to calm my moods and make me feel better and posstive it depends on how im feeling and whats going on that day why im feeling that way.

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