If you’ve ever been listening to a song and suddenly noticed a physical reaction, you may be one of many people who experience a phenomenon called frisson, (pronounced free-sawn), a French term meaning “aesthetic chills,” and it feels like waves of pleasure running all over your skin. Simply described as goosebumps or more casually as a skin orgasm, it’s the result of your brain’s interpretation of certain sounds.
Musical passages that include unexpected harmonies, sudden changes in volume or the moving entrance of a soloist are particularly common triggers for frisson because they violate listeners’ expectations in a positive way. The number of people who report this sensation varies quite a bit, with researchers estimating that between 55 and 86 percent are more prone to chills.
For some, the frisson experience seems so normal that it’s a surprise to learn that others don’t have the same physical response. Individuals who have never felt goosebumps from listening to music probably think those that do are a little crazy, but recently, experts starting digging into what exactly happens in the brains of people who get frisson.
And while the results aren’t 100 percent conclusive, they do provide some insight into this interesting occurrence.
Music Blends with Science
Published in 2016 in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, a group performed a range of tests to see how frisson affected everyday people. Over 200 individuals in the Boston area were asked to complete a series of questions to determine their emotional responses to music and then were divided into subgroups based on those answers.
After being exposed to music that was more likely to induce chills than others, the participant’s reactions were measured. Not only did some experience goosebumps, but other physical changes including increased pulse, crying, or a sense of losing time were also recorded. While personality traits were factored into this study as well, it was clear that ongoing research was needed to really uncover the roots of frisson.
Your Brain Matters
Another study was conducted by a team of individuals from both Harvard and Wesleyan University in an effort to really see what’s going on in the brains of people who react so strongly to music.
Groups of individuals who reported having frisson before, as well as those who had never encountered the phenomenon, were assessed using a diffusion tensor imaging machine. This equipment gives researchers a visual representation of just how each person’s brain is wired, so to speak.
The results were fascinating; those with frisson had more nerve fibers connecting their auditory cortex to their anterior insular cortex — essentially, the link between how they process sound and how they process emotions is much stronger than in others.
It’s still unclear if these nerve endings developed over time, potentially demonstrating that frisson is a learned behavior, or if some people are just born this way.
Additionally, other studies have connected this concept with something called Openness to Experience. It delves deeper into personality traits and hypothesizes whether the chills caused by music are really due to an emotional reaction, or if the sounds are processed in a more intellectual way. Some experts think that the desire to predict where a song will go, in terms of melody or utilizing mental imagery, leads to the feeling of chills once their expectations were realized.
Ultimately, individuals who, as some might say, “get off” to music are a lucky bunch. It isn’t every day that you can put on a song, have some chills, and feel like you’re transported to another place.
As more research is conducted, perhaps it will be uncovered that frisson is a learned trait, and soon everyone can start feeling their music as much as they can hear it.
‘It Feels Good’: Snoop Dogg Buys Death Row Records
Snoop Dogg is now the owner of Death Row Records. The purchase brings his career full circle, as the legendary rapper now owns the label where his career in the music industry began.
“I am thrilled and appreciative of the opportunity to acquire the iconic and culturally significant Death Row Records brand, which has immense untapped future value,” Snoop Dogg said in a statement. “It feels good to have ownership of the label I was part of at the beginning of my career and as one of the founding members. This is an extremely meaningful moment for me.”
Snoop Dogg added that he was “looking forward to building the next chapter of Death Row Records.”
Blackstone, Inc. BX, -8.15 percent, a private-equity firm that held the remnants of the record label as part of MNRK Music Group, announced the sale on Wednesday. The terms of the agreement were not made public.
In a statement to People, Blackstone’s Senior Managing Director David Kestnbaum said of the deal, “We at Blackstone are strong supporters of the artist and creator community in our entertainment investments. We are excited to put the Death Row Records brand back in the hands of a legend like Snoop Dogg. We wish him success in the years ahead as the brand moves forward under his leadership and vision.”
Dr. Dre and Suge Knight co-founded Death Row Records with record executive Dick Griffey in 1991. Snoop’s debut Doggystyle was released in 1993.
Death Row Records fell on hard feet after a remarkable run in the 1990s. In 2006, the label declared bankruptcy before being purchased by WIDEawake Entertainment Group in 2009. Due to WIDEawake’s insolvency, the label was sold to eOne Music in 2013. Until eOne was purchased by Blackstone in 2021, Death Row Records was a branch of Hasbro.
The Doggfather is set to release his new album B.O.D.R., an acronym for “Bacc On Death Row,” on the 12 February ahead of his appearance alongside Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and Mary J. Blige at this year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show on Sunday. He called “a dream come true” during a recent interview with the Associated Press.
“I’m still thinking I’m in a dream because I can’t believe that they will let a real hip-hop artist grace the stage in an NFL Super Bowl LVI,” the rapper-turned-mogul explained. “We’re just going to wait for that moment and put something together that’s spectacular, and do what we’re known for doing and add on to the legacy.”
Major Record Labels to Become Carbon Neutral by 2050
Three major record labels — Sony, Universal, and Warner — have made a pledge to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, joining a slew of independent labels that have set similar or more aggressive goals. Following the Secretly label group’s pledge last week to be “climate positive” by 2026, the major labels joined indies like Beggars Group, Warp, and Ninja Tune to sign the Music Climate Pact, which addresses activities like touring, vinyl manufacturing, and music streaming that are currently unsustainable in terms of carbon emissions.
Aside from the emissions reductions, the signatories pledge to track and reduce subsidiary emissions related to music listening and fandom, encourage artists to discuss the climate crisis, and collaborate with streaming companies to track and reduce subsidiary emissions related to music listening and fandom.
Beggars Group and Ninja Tune made similar commitments earlier this year, with the latter aiming towards carbon neutrality by the end of 2021. Massive Attack completed a climate analysis in September, recommending “an immediate and major reassembly” of the industry.
Billie Eilish Makes History at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards
A cloud of sadness hung over the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, as news developed of the tragic deaths of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles on January 26. Outside the Staples Center, home of Bryant’s team the Lakers, arrivals took place on the red carpet as mourners gathered outside the arena to pay their respects.
The night kicked off with a solemn Cappella tribute to Bryant of “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” by host Alicia Keys and Boys II Men.
Billie Eilish dominated the night, winning Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album categories. Eilish, 18, is the youngest Album of the Year winner in Grammy history. She is also just the second artist in Grammy history — and the first woman — to take home the Big Four awards.
Lizzo took home the Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Traditional R&B Performance, and Best Urban Contemporary Album trophies.
Lil Nas X picked up two awards for Best Music Video and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
Tyler, the Creator took home his first Grammy award for Best Rap Album.
The late rapper Nipsey Hussle was recognized posthumously with two awards for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap/Sung Performance.
Record of the Year
Billie Eilish, “Bad Guy”
Album of the Year
Billie Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Best New Artist
Song of the Year
Billie Eilish — “Bad Guy”
Best Rap/Sung Performance
DJ Khaled feat Nipsey Hussle & John Legend — “Higher”
Best Rap Album
Tyler, the Creator — Igor
Best Pop/Solo Performance
Lizzo — “Truth Hurts”
Best Pop Vocal Album
Billie Eilish — When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
Elvis Costello & The Imposters — Look Now
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Lil Nas X feat Billy Ray Cyrus — “Old Town Road”
Best R&B Album
Anderson .Paak — Ventura
Best Urban Contemporary Album
Lizzo, Cuz I Love You (Deluxe)
Best R&B Song
PJ Morton feat JoJo — “Say So”
Best Traditional R&B Performance
Lizzo — “Jerome”
Best R&B Performance
Anderson .Paak feat Andre 3000 — “Come Home”
Best Rock Album
Cage The Elephant — Social Cues
Best Rock Song
Gary Clark Jr — “This Land”
Best Rock Performance
Gary Clark Jr — “This Land”
Best Rap Song
21 Savage feat J Cole — “A Lot”
Best Rap Performance
Nipsey Hussle feat Roddy Ricch & Hit-Boy — “Racks in the Middle”
Best Music Film
Beyonce — Homecoming
Best Music Video
Lil Nas X feat Billy Ray Cyrus — “Old Town Road”
Best Country Duo/Group Performance
Dan + Shay — “Speechless”
Best Comedy Album
Dave Chappelle — Sticks & Stones
Best Song Written for Visual Media
Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper— “I’ll Never Love Again”
Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media
Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper — A Star is Born
Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media
Chernobyl — Hildur Guðnadóttir
Best Song Written for Visual Media
“I’ll Never Love Again” (Film Version) — Natalie Hemby, Lady Gaga, Hillary Lindsey & Aaron Raitiere (Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born)
Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling)
Becoming — Michelle Obama
Best Instrumental Composition
“Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Symphonic Suite” — John Williams, composer (John Williams
Best Remixed Recording
“I Rise (Tracy Young’s Pride Intro Radio Remix)— ” Tracy Young (Madonna)
Best Dance Recording
“Got to Keep On” — The Chemical Brothers
Best Dance/Electronic Album
No Geography — The Chemical Brothers
Best Country Solo Performance
“Ride Me Back Home” — Willie Nelson
Best Country Song
“Bring My Flowers Now” — Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth and Tanya Tucker (Tanya Tucker)
Best Country Album
While I’m Livin’ — Tanya Tucker
Best Rap Performance
“Racks in the Middle” — Nipsey Hussle featuring Roddy Ricch & Hit-Boy
Best Rap Song
“A Lot” — Jermaine Cole, Dacoury Natche, 21 Savage & Anthony White, (21 Savage featuring J. Cole
Best Recording Package
Chris Cornell — Barry Ament, Jeff Ament, Jeff Fura & Joe Spix, art directors (Chris Cornell)
Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package
Woodstock: Back To The Garden – The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive — Masaki Koike, art director (Various Artists)
Best Album Notes
Stax ’68: A Memphis Story — Steve Greenberg, album notes writer (Various Artists)
Best Historical Album
Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection — Jeff Place & Robert Santelli, compilation producers; Pete Reiniger, mastering engineer (Pete Seeger)
Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? — Rob Kinelski & Finneas O’Connell, engineers; John Greenham, mastering engineer (Billie Eilish)
Best Immersive Audio Album
Lux — Morten Lindberg, immersive audio engineer; Morten Lindberg, immersive audio mastering engineer; Morten Lindberg, immersive audio producer (Anita Brevik, Trondheimsolistene & Nidarosdomens Jentekor)
Best New Age Album
Wings — Peter Kater
Best Bluegrass Album
Tall Fiddler — Michael Cleveland
Best Traditional Blues Album
Tall, Dark & Handsome — Delbert McClinton & Self-made Men
Best Contemporary Blues Album
This Land — Gary Clark Jr.
Best Folk Album
Patty Griffin — Patty Griffin
Best Regional Roots Music Album
Good Time — Ranky Tanky
Best Reggae Album
Rapture — Koffee
Best Children’s Music Album
Ageless Songs For The Child Archetype — Jon Samson
Best Contemporary Instrumental Album
Mettavolution — Rodrigo y Gabriela
Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella
“Moon River” — Jacob Collier, arranger (Jacob Collier)
Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals
“All Night Long” — Jacob Collier, arranger (Jacob Collier Featuring Jules Buckley, Take 6 & Metropole Orkest)
Best Improvised Jazz Solo
“Sozinho” — Randy Brecker, soloist
Best Jazz Vocal Album
12 Little Spells — Esperanza Spalding
Best Jazz Instrumental Album
Finding Gabriel — Brad Mehldau
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
The Omni-American Book Club – Brian Lynch Big Band
Best Latin Jazz Album
Antidote — Chick Corea & The Spanish Heart Band
Best Gospel Performance/Song
“Love Theory” – Kirk Franklin; Kirk Franklin, Songwriter
Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song
“God Only Knows” — for King & Country & Dolly Parton; Josh Kerr, Jordan Reynolds, Joel Smallbone, Luke Smallbone & Tedd Tjornhom, songwriters
Best Gospel Album
Long Live Love — Kirk Franklin
Best Contemporary Christian Music Album
Burn The Ships — for King & Country
Best Roots Gospel Album
Testimony — Gloria Gaynor
Best Latin Pop Album
#ELDISCO — Alejandro Sanz
Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album
El Mal Querer – Rosalía
Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano)
De Ayer Para Siempre — Mariachi Los Camperos
Best Tropical Latin Album
Opus — Marc Anthony (TIE)
Best Engineered Album, Classical
Riley: Sun Rings — Leslie Ann Jones, engineer; Robert C. Ludwig, mastering engineer (Kronos Quartet)
Producer Of The Year, Classical
Best Orchestral Performance
“Norman: Sustain” — Gustavo Dudamel, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic)
Best Opera Recording
“Picker: Fantastic Mr. Fox” — Gil Rose, conductor; John Brancy, Andrew Craig Brown, Gabriel Preisser, Krista River & Edwin Vega; Gil Rose, producer (Boston Modern Orchestra Project; Boston Children’s Chorus)
Best Choral Performance
“Duruflé: Complete Choral Works” — Robert Simpson, conductor (Ken Cowan; Houston Chamber Choir)
Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance
“Shaw: Orange” — Attacca Quartet
Best Classical Instrumental Solo
“Marsalis: Violin Concerto; Fiddle Dance Suite” — Nicola Benedetti; Cristian Măcelaru, conductor (Philadelphia Orchestra)
Best Classical Solo Vocal Album
Songplay — Joyce Didonato; Chuck Israels, Jimmy Madison, Charlie Porter & Craig Terry, accompanists (Steve Barnett & Lautaro Greco)
Best Classical Compendium
The Poetry Of Places — Nadia Shpachenko; Marina A. Ledin & Victor Ledin, producer
Best Contemporary Classical Composition
Higdon: Harp Concerto — Jennifer Higdon, composer (Yolanda Kondonassis, Ward Stare & The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra)
Best Musical Theater Album
Hadestown — Reeve Carney, André De Shields, Amber Gray, Eva Noblezada & Patrick Page, principal soloists; Mara Isaacs, David Lai, Anaïs Mitchell & Todd Sickafoose, producers (Anaïs Mitchell, composer & lyricist) (Original Broadway Cast)
Best Metal Performance
“7empest” — Tool
Best Alternative Music Album
Father of the Bride — Vampire Weekend
Best World Music Album
Celia — Angelique Kidjo
Best American Roots Performance
“Saint Honesty” — Sara Bareille
Best American Roots Song
“Call My Name” — Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’donovan & Sara Watkins, songwriters (I’m With Her)
Best Americana Album
Oklahoma — Keb’ Mo’