I was listening to 6 Music a few mornings ago (as I usually do when driving) when: “We Can Do What We Want” by Drenge came on and snapped me to attention. I’d heard the track several times before but this time it grabbed me by the lapels and screamed in my face and the message seemed to be: attack! The volume level went up and my foot went down and for the next four minutes or so, I drove too fast while dementedly banging my fist on the steering wheel. The music made me behave badly and feel good at the same time. In fact it made me feel that being bad was good.
It may have been the combination of the snarly vocal, punchy lyrics and aggressive pace that had woken a dormant spirit of rebellion and brought out the old Punk in me. Whatever it was, it felt like a demand for action, a call to arms. This made me think that that the trigger for this response could be something that goes back further than my formative years and that perhaps something more primal was stirred.
It’s not by chance that soldiers and warriors have, throughout history, gone into battle accompanied by music. From ancient rhythmic chants through to modern day soldiers blasting out rock and rap: music has been used to raise spirits and levels of aggression.
Fortunately I didn’t attack the road or the steering wheel without some restraint but the feeling of raised aggression and energy (the buzz) stayed with me in a positive way, giving me a bit of extra drive for the whole day.
We take it for granted that music can affect mood and behavior but often forget just how profound the effect can be.