In an aritcle about Spotify's new lyric future, an illustration of a smartphone with the app opened to the lyrics of the song "Written in the Stars"
Illustration by Alyssa Tarry, University of Michigan, Stamps School of Art & Design

Spotify’s Lyric Feature Is Its Own Form of Therapy

The music streaming app offers up a lyric feature that includes a range of mental health benefits for listeners.

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In an aritcle about Spotify's new lyric future, an illustration of a smartphone with the app opened to the lyrics of the song "Written in the Stars"
Illustration by Alyssa Tarry, University of Michigan, Stamps School of Art & Design

The music streaming app offers up a lyric feature that includes a range of mental health benefits for listeners.

Gone are the days when you pretend to mouth along with the words to that one song that, no matter how many times you’ve tried, you just don’t know what the singer is saying. And if you’re like me, you’re probably also too lazy to Google the song to find out. Thankfully, that’s a thing of the past — well, mostly. Spotify now has a real-time lyric feature, provided by Musixmatch, that lets users sing along to their favorite songs or learn the words of a brand-new song they just can’t get enough of. The addition of lyrics in the Spotify mobile and desktop apps, most importantly, allows users to relate deeper to a song’s message and experience a boost in their overall mental well-being. Yeah, it’s a whole vibe.

Music therapy focuses on music’s natural properties that help people improve their mental health and quality of life. Since music is known for its benefits for the mind, body and social connectedness, it can encourage a more positive state of mind and renewed mental state. On the flip side, music can also allow people to feel and process any emotion they may be feeling at the time. Lyrics play a big part in this.

Finding a song that deeply resonates with you can make you feel like somebody just gets you. It’s like you know exactly how the artist feels because you’ve either been through it yourself or are still going through it. Lyrics can offer something relatable that makes songs hit home for many people. Why? Because people want to connect with words that make them feel something. Many songs have themes that center on different aspects of a person’s life, whether love, friendship or heartbreak. It is through words alone that people can connect with a song’s true meaning. Plus, lyrics make people feel better about whatever they’re facing and put into words what they may not be able to express themselves.

Lyrics can also refresh one’s memory. Nostalgia is another factor that every music lover is familiar with. Music has the power to transport anyone to different times in their lives. It’s an immersive experience that makes people remember how that period or place felt to them. Today, when I listen to the song “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley, it takes me back to an early morning on Waimanalo Beach, where I felt the waves bring me a sense of peace just ahead of my high school graduation week. The lyrics, “Don’t worry about a thing ‘cause every little thing is gonna be alright,” playing in my earphones calmed me amid my anxieties about my college future. Now, whenever I face a challenge in my life, I always envision that I am right back on the sand, watching those breathtaking waves with the music in my ears. And it works like a charm every single time — pure nostalgia.

Like Bob Marley’s song, lessons can be found in lyrics. Songs have messages that empower listeners or call on them to reflect on certain things in their lives. Although, every listener is different: What you take away from a song can mean something entirely different to another person. It’s in the personal application to one’s life where one feels like a song is significant to them. Many famous artists delivered great advice in their songs back in the day. For example, Tom Petty encouraged fans in his song “I Won’t Back Down” to stay strong and stand up to the haters who try to drag them down. Indeed, the song is a timeless anthem that you can’t help but listen to when life has you down in the dumps. The song’s hook by itself captures the uplifting lesson Petty wanted to teach his listeners.

Song lyrics also tell a story that feeds one’s imagination. Music is one of the most effective daydream launchers and can transport anyone to an entirely new world. It paints a dream-like scenario in one’s mind, no matter how bizarre or unrealistic it may be. If you ask me, this is what makes music fun. If you need an escape from time to time or just want to engage in your limitless creativity, then music is the best outlet. Just let the words guide you to your inner world. When I listen to the late Avicii’s “Heaven,” I envision that I am dancing at his concert at an epic music festival, surrounded by everyone that I love. Only, that music festival is on a tropical beach somewhere above the clouds while his melodic voice sings, “It’s such a view, such a beautiful sight.” Music can be that magical. Just close your eyes, listen to the words and imagine.

Singing out loud makes one feel happier and strengthens bonds with others. Your levels of oxytocin and endorphins will increase as you belt out the words to your favorite song. Spotify’s lyric feature encourages a fun karaoke party with friends or yourself. It’s a fun and interactive experience that makes you feel more connected to the song and the artist. And with Spotify featuring various “mood” playlists, you have a range of playlists to choose from, depending on what you feel at a given moment. So, if you feel like singing along to a playlist called “Life Sucks” on a gloomy morning or jamming out to “Happy Hits” while driving down a highway, don’t worry because Spotify has got you covered. So, sing it loud!

The blend of melody, voice and lyrics make music an incredible gift everyone gets to experience. Song lyrics create a gateway that connects listener and creator in a way that no other art form can replicate. It’s as if you’re given a key into the artist’s mind, feeling every intended emotion that creates an overall lasting impact. It is undeniable where music can take you, and how great it can make you feel. So next time you play a song on Spotify, make sure to follow along with the lyrics. I don’t know about you, but I’m grabbing my friends and singing along to “Mr. Brightside” — for real this time!

Writer Profile

Megan Garcia

Arizona State University
Film and Media Studies

Megan is a film and media studies major at Arizona State University. With a passion for storytelling, she hopes to reach others through her writing, and of course, have fun while doing so.

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