Song triggers

There are certain songs that I avoid listening to because they remind me of particularly painful breakups in my life. I don’t have this reaction to movies or books or paintings or poems or pretty much anything else.

But songs have a unique primal power, which distinguishes them from the other arts. The right combination of words and music seems to be able to reach us at some deep emotional level, cutting through all of our defenses and speaking to us where we live.

Why are songs like that? Is this connected to some sort of evolutionary adaptation? Perhaps 200,000 years ago, in the Paleolithic era, some early human heard another human singing, and mysteriously found herself beginning to cry.

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