Her say… His say…
How do you know if you love – really love – a song? I ask because in the car with a friend the other day, a song came on the radio and she said, “Oh, I love this song so much, it makes my arms itch!”
I was tempted to say: “Are you sure? Perhaps it’s eczema,” but I didn’t because I also have a physical reaction to music that moves me.
In my case, if a song sings to me in a particular way, my knees tingle. In fact, they tingle so much I’m surprised the vibrations aren’t picked up by one of those NASA satellites circling the earth looking for alien life forms.
For example, one of my all-time favourite songs is ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ by INXS, particularly its swooning saxophone solo. Every time I hear it, my knees automatically begin tingling, and they don’t stop until the song’s end.
My friend Belinda says that when she hears a song she loves, she gets goosebumps all over her thighs.
When her husband Colin overheard her telling me this, he said mournfully, “I wish I gave you goosebumps all over your thighs” – but they’ve been married for more than 20 years, so I feel Colin has unrealistic expectations.
Goosebumps seem to be the most common reaction to music, and people get them everywhere – on their arms, their heads and sometimes, if they’re lucky, all over their bodies.
Hairs rising on the backs of the hands are apparently another common reaction to music, presumably among werewolves.
But it was my friend Jessica’s reaction that surprised me most.
Her name isn’t really Jessica, by the way, it’s Susan.
It seems that when Jessica/susan hears the notes of a particular tune she adores – and look, there’s just no really polite way of saying this – her nipples pop out like she’s just been unexpectedly caught in a sudden downpour, or spotted Colin Firth diving into a lake.
Songs can also give us a lump in the throat, or bring tears automatically to our eyes, and all of these physical – and emotional – responses apparently have a base in science, or in the fact that ‘Macarthur Park’ is the saddest song ever written because some fool left the cake out in the rain, and it took so long to bake it.
Not everybody has these responses to music, but those who do are found to have higher levels of neural connections between their brain’s auditory cortex, emotional processing centres and prefrontal cortex.
All of which is a very fancy way of saying, “I’ve got the music in me.”
Do you? Let me know how – and which song – moves you. I’d love to hear. email@example.com
“Every time I hear ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ by INXS my knees begin tingling”