When Music Punches You in the Emotion Sack

I won’t keep you folks very long tonight. I just wanted to write something quick.

As is the case with most people, I love music. I like all kinds of music. I was talking about Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West on Twitter just a while ago. But then a song came on that changed my mood a bit, and it’s one of those songs that triggers an emotional response. It’s the second time today that I’ve heard this particular song.

I’ve been drinking vodka, so bare with me.

On the way to work this morning, I heard this song–“All I Want” by Kodaline. It’s a great song by itself, but the video is absolutely gorgeous.

I would like for you to do your best to just listen to that song, though. The first little bit of the song moves along as the band builds toward the musical climax. The first three minutes of the song really just plod along at a nice, pretty pace. Then, just after the three-minute mark, there is this short chord played by an electric instrument. To me, that is the moment when the emotion starts to build. I have a physically recognizable emotional response to that moment.

Here, I have another example.

This is a song by Atlanta-native Rebecca Loebe. I won’t tell you the story behind the song, but I’d like for you to listen to it once now.

Okay. Now, listen to just the chorus of the song–the first one kicks up right around forty seconds in.

That moment in the song is when I have that same physically detectable emotional reaction to the song. What I mean by that, in both cases, is my heart rate changes, my body tingles, my eyes water, and I smile.

So these are two songs that trigger this kind of reaction in me. I wonder if you have similar reactions to music. What do you think it is? Is is a particular chord? Is it a note? Or am I just a vodka-drunk loser listening to sad-bastard music and trying to rationalize my thoughts?

Drop your thoughts in the comments, and until next time,



12 thoughts on “When Music Punches You in the Emotion Sack

  1. Though the song or the particular moment in a song varies from person to person, I understand this fully. Even the Vodka part, though my choice is wine. Vodka is a Ft. Lauderdale, Florida story that I won’t even go into here… Uh-hem… But I did listen to each song to completion (the first one twice). I post a lot of music on my site. Music just has the bat cave entrance to the deepest parts of me. And, yes, wine is often a part of that shamanic process. The alchemy of sound becomes emotion. / I’ve always, from a very young age, been profoundly moved by music. Often it’s just the essence of a song, a particular energy, and I don’t even know what it is exactly that reaches so deep within me. Sometimes I’ll experience a kind of emotional convulsion and the tears will actually leap from my eyes. In those moments I feel the most real; the most myself. In touch with something. And the BEST is when you share that with someone and you see them react in a similar way. I don’t even have words for moments like that. And, with music in mind, maybe the best moments are, in fact, beyond words. / If you want to check out such a moment within a song for me, see this post and listen from the 4:50 point. http://ghostinthewalls.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/michael-hedges-menage-a-troi/ Another great post, Shane! ~ Bill

  2. Vodka induced bliss or not these are both beautiful and moving songs. The moment when you connect with a song, whether its the music note, tone, lyric, it awakens something within you. It may be all of those things or just one. Sometimes the sheer serenity of a moment like that can take hold of your emotions. Perhaps that is the real reward bestowed upon us by a talented musician.

  3. I can completely relate to this. When I listen to my favorite songs, I could swear that my cells are vibrating at a higher energy level. It’s the same feeling I get when I drive up to a point on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and mountain ridges stretch into the distance to meet the sky. I think it’s the feeling of being truly alive. I know some writers say that they need complete silence when they’re working, but I write my most powerful stuff listening to my favorite music. And I absolutely loved the first video! (No surprise there, considering my latest blog post. 🙂 ) It complements the song perfectly. The second song has a soul-aching, beautiful sound to it. (And what is it about vodka that makes us so pensive and sentimental? If tequila makes our clothes come off, vodka makes us cry.) Great post, Shane! Thanks for sharing these lovely songs.

    • I agree with so much of this! I write my best when I’m listening to my favorite music, too. My favorite music to write to is Explosions in the Sky’s stuff. Thanks for stopping by the blog!

  4. It’s not the vodka. I listened to both these songs perfectly sober and had a similar reaction. It’s what great music does – it touches us in the depths of something in our souls we would never otherwise be able to find. That’s what music is there for, I think – to remind us from time to time that we are, in fact, human.

  5. Pingback: The Art of Drowning | Virtual Napkins

  6. I almost didn’t get to listen to these because of stupid GEMA rules. But wow, just beautiful. I love your posts about music. You put into words exactly how I feel sometimes. Music can elicit so many memories and emotions. I like the other commenters who said it’s the real reward bestowed upon us from the musician and the one that says music reminds us we are human. Such beautiful sentiments! Almost any song that I love is capable of doing this to me. It’s why I love music so much; the sounds, the emotions, the inspiration. I’m not doing a great job explaining this because the only word that comes to mind is ecstasy. Music is spiritual.

  7. Pingback: When a Thousand Voices Sing | Virtual Napkins

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