Minor keys are like spice and alcohol?

Only to be enjoyed by adults as they have a slight edge.

I think about some of my all time favourite pieces new(ish) and very old. All the ones I come back to may even be written in a major key, but the angst, pain, edge, realness (sorry for using such a terrible word, but it worked for Shakespeare) always comes to us via the minor (possibly variation) - usually the minor third or sixth depending if you want to go up or down.

Does it take a little personal pain to "get" this, or just an appreciation of the musical make-up?

I have had one recent track which is (fairly) new bring me to tears which although based in E-Major (guitar based) when pushed ends up in C# minor when they are pressing the emotion buttons. And for such a simple song, it reminds me why I love music so much and how I would like to spend more time with it.
Everybody who's every lived has had some hellhounds on their trail at some time. Expressing that musically is about about the tension between the major and the minor.

As an aside, last night I saw a very fine performance by Sanderling/Toledo Symphony of Mahler's 9th. The fourth movement, which I believe was in a major key, was unbelievably emotional. Check out this man's reaction.
As a musician myself, I take pride in your recognition of how music and its modes are able to convey emotion to the listener. It is initally what got me involved in this hobby. I wanted on tap emotion!
Maybe I am misreading your post. I have had similar thoughts into the power of the minor keys. When you look even further, the actual key itself was often chosen for a specific mood. For example, D major is often used for "triumphant" music.
Some minor keys are troubling others are downright depressing.
Anyway, I think it has to do somewhat with how we process experience. Good times, like major keys, are enjoyed, sung along with, danced to. Sour times are scrutinized for lessons and for some relished in as they are often when one feels the most real, thrown upon themselves and their own isolation and individuality. I think that's why music written in minor keys are remembered more deeply and often felt more deeply.
I always return to minor keys and am amazed how often the beauty can bring a tear. Can one feel elated by angst...
or am I just a sicko?
Nice post.
Hey Bigsam2,
I like Surfing with the Alien, Big Bad Moon,
One Big Crush.
Most women like Always With Me, Always With You.

You are hearing exactly what composers want you to hear. :-) The very nature of minor keys allows the composer so many more - musical choices - if you will - simply by the inclusion of alterations within the scalar structure. Major is very restrictive by comparison from a basic structural standpoint.
Congratulations! You really are getting it. :-)