Five Musical Brain Orgasms
Yes, yes, yes! We all have “those songs”- the ones that stir your soul and quicken your heartbeat. Here are mine… You’re welcome.
Unless you have been living in a cave you will have heard of ASMR — known colloquially as a brain orgasm. It stands for “autonomous sensory meridian response” and has been described by its devotees as a combination of relaxing and euphoric, giving a sensation like bubbles in a glass of champagne, a shivery feeling down the spine … you get the idea.
The internet is awash with people keen to help you achieve this delicious state by whispering away while running their fingernails along hairbrushes or tapping a piece of plastic or crumpling up some crinkly clothes. If you have a husky voice and access to a paper bag you could do it as a lucrative side hustle, it might bring in more money than writing.
The trend may be new, but the experience is not. Many of us have been getting it from music. In fact, looking back at my key songs over the years, diverse as they are, the common factor is that they evoke exactly this thrilling feeling.
Back in the day, you used to have to buy an entire album in order to access “the song” or wait for hours for it to come on the radio or TV, now you just search on YouTube. I’m not sure if the inconvenience and lack of continuous access enhanced the ASMR effect, but my sense is that it did. There’s something about not always getting what you want when you want it that makes it all the sweeter when it finally arrives.
Often it isn’t the whole song or piece of music that has the orgasmatron effect (not a real word btw) but the chorus, or the introduction, or the piano solo or, or, or…
But that also adds to the impact. The waiting, knowing that any minute IT will happen.
The Big Five
I want to share my top five spine-tinglers, the ones that do it for me. They range in musical type and span the centuries. If you are very impatient and/or a product of the age of instant gratification then I have given the time when the key moment starts, but just like sex, it’s all in the build-up.