Decade of Music Project: Miscellany


Hello again, and welcome to my Decade of Music Project Summary Day Three. Today’s going to be a bit different because I want to talk about some miscellaneous aspects to this whole music project – stuff that doesn’t really fit nicely into any of the other summary days but stuff I feel is worth mentioning. The three topics for today will be:

1. The top frisson-inducing moments
2. The top memories associated with songs of this project
3. A list of artists I have come to really enjoy due to this project
4. Miscellaneous songs that deserve mention for various reasons

Let’s get to it!

Item 1: Frisson-Inducing Moments
According to good ol’ Wikipedia, frisson is a psychophysiological response to rewarding auditory and/or visual stimuli that often induces a pleasurable or otherwise positively-valenced affective state and transient skin tingling or chills, sometimes along with goose bumps and pupil dilation. It sounds like not everyone experiences music-induced frisson, but a decent proportion of the population does. I definitely do.

So I wanted to share with you the top five frisson-inducing moments in the songs that I have discovered over the past decade. Here we go! These are ranked from 5th most favorite to top favorite.

5. Lully, Lulla, Lullay by VOCES8 – frisson moment at 3:41

I am super biased towards loving those deep, deep notes, but that woman has such a beautiful soprano voice and those notes at that point in the song are so clear and crisp that they hurt my soul in the best way.

4. “Send Me on My Way (Jesse Bloch Bootleg)” by Rusted Root – frisson moment at 1:33

So most of these frisson-inducing moments have occurred in slower, more “lyrical” songs for me, but that drop is where this remix really departs from the original song and it gets me SO FREAKING EXCITED, holy hell. The energy. I love it.

3. “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap, covered by Dan Wright – frisson moment at 2:49

THAT LOW NOTE NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNF I love it I love it I love it. This dude’s range is insane. Once again, a beautiful chord.

2. The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel, covered by VOCES8 – frisson moment at 2:39

I love this arrangement of The Sound of Silence. It’s so different from the original and, in my opinion, a lot more impactful that way. That addition of the strong bass voices at 2:39 (and the corresponding chord) is so unexpected and heart wrenching that it just makes a good arrangement even better.

1. Air on the G String (Bach) performed on the Whitworth Hall organ – frisson moment at 1:05

That CHORD, oh my GOD. That natural increase in volume from all the additional notes at that point is just so freaking beautiful. You can feel it in your chest if you’ve got your headphones up loud enough (do it, it’s worth it).

Item 2: Memories
So in all honesty, nearly every single one of these songs is connected to a memory of a certain part of my life. Why? Because rather than remembering important things like peoples’ names, directions around the city, or what day it is, my brain dedicates all of its energy to remembering stupid things like the exact date of download for each one of these songs.

…Okay, so maybe not each and every one, but like 70% of them. Because that’s the kind of garbage I remember, ladies and gents.

But I’ve selected a few songs that have some very strong memories associated with them. I don’t know why I’m recording these here, since they don’t mean anything to anyone but me and I probably won’t forget these memories anytime soon, but I said above that there would be a “memory” section and I’ve already typed too much stuff to delete, so LET’S GO!

  • Dancer by Woodhands (February 20, 2010). This song reminds me of when I went back to visit Moscow while Vancouver was hosting the 2010 Olympics. I got to hang out with all my old friends, go to a drag show, and have parties in my dad’s basement. Super fun.
  • Yours To Keep by Teddybears (July 1, 2010). My second visit to Moscow during that summer. I had childish fantasies of running away with someone and I was convinced that they’d say yes if I asked them to. This was my brain’s way of trying to get out of going back to Vancouver, I’m sure.
  • What the Hell by Avril Lavigne (January 14, 2011). I heard this in an HMV on one of my walks in downtown Vancouver. This was before I had a smartphone and thus couldn’t look up the song right away to figure out what it was, so I remember frantically typing out in the “Notes” app on my iPod whatever lyrics I could make out so I could search for it when I got home. This song just reminds me of downtown Van.
  • Check It Out by will.i.am & Nicki Minaj (May 8, 2011). Hey, it’s my “thesis” song! I would listen to this on repeat for hours while I was procrastinating finishing my thesis, I’m not even kidding.
  • Corrente by Karl Jenkins (June 30, 2011). Hey, it’s my “my thesis is finally over and I’m free but now I have to leave the country because I didn’t apply for the PhD program!” song.
  • Good Life by OneRepublic (July 28, 2011). I found this song right before I moved to London, Ontario and I took it as a sign that moving would be a way to “restart” my life and get it back on track. I was, uh, very wrong.
  • Paradise by Coldplay (October 19, 2011). I found this song right before I moved back to Moscow from London, Ontario. This was my song of hope for 2011, because everything was going so, so wrong. I remember I would stop at Rotary Park in Moscow on my way home from my walks and just swing on the swing set, listen to this song on repeat, and look up at the stars, hoping for some guidance.
    (2011 was a really bad year.)
  • This Is So Good (Radio Edit) by Ehrenchrona (April 10, 2012). At this point I was working at Pima Community College in Tucson doing alternative learning tech stuff. I worked from noon until 9 and would always be one of the last people leaving campus at night. I would BLAST THIS SONG in the car on my way home every single night.
  • One O Six (A.N.D.Y. Remix) by Jupiter (April 7, 2013). I’m back in Moscow and working on my math degree/teaching stats by this point. I would always listen to this song three or four times in the morning before catching the bus to campus.
  • Metropolis by Owl City (May 17, 2014). I would listen to this in my office and daydream about going to grad school for stats.
  • Let It Go, Vivaldi’s Winter by The Piano Guys (November 26, 2014). I listened to this a LOT in my old place here in Calgary. This was also right around the time I started talking to Nate over OK Cupid, so there was a lot of daydreaming, haha.
  • Gold (Thomas Jack Radio Edit) by Gabriel Rios (May 14, 2015). This song reminds me of the road trip across the western US that Nate and I took that summer. There were, of course, other songs downloaded during that long trip, but this was the one that was a Five Star for quite a while.
  • Tilted by Christine and the Queens (December 29, 2016). I didn’t go back to Moscow that winter because I had a really bad feeling like something bad was going to happen to Nate if I did, so I stayed in Calgary. But it was super cold and snowy and I missed my mom, so I felt like garbage through like the entire end of the year. I listened to this song a lot during that time.
  • Run for Cover by The Killers (July 31, 2017). 2017 was my major walking year. I found this song right before Leg Injury 2017, which put a stop to my 30-mile days and TANKED my speed for quite some time after the injury happened. I remember identifying with the yearning sound of this song lot during that time.
  • Light Up the Night by The Protomen (November 25, 2017). This was one of many songs Nate and I played a lot when we got Rock Band that winter, but this song also came up a lot on shuffle when I’d walk home from campus, so it reminds me of that as well that winter.
  • Pressure (feat. the UCLA Bruin Marching Band) by Muse (November 15, 2018). I had a really good teaching schedule this semester (three classes in a row in the mornings on Tuesday/Thursday, no classes M/W/F) and this song reminds me of my Thursday afternoon/evening walks up to Westbrook Mall, from which I would take the bus home and spend all day at home on Friday. Good times.
  • Take on Me (Milkshakes Remix) by A-HA (June 14, 2019). My mom was able to come up to Calgary for the whole month of June and she and I would drive all around Calgary and the surrounding area (mainly Cochrane) on Thursday nights. This was one of the songs I blasted in the van.

There are probably a lot more prominent memory-recalling songs, but I just picked these out by quickly scrolling through my Excel pages with all the songs listed on them. If there are any glaring omissions I find, I will add them later. As if anyone cares.

Item 3: Artists
Here’s a list of bands and artists that I have either 1) discovered through this project and have grown to really enjoy, or 2) knew of but only had like one or two songs prior to this project, but the project led me to more songs from the artist/band more than I would have otherwise found

Technically there are a lot of bands/artists that qualify for this, but these are the big ones (and are vaguely ranked by how much I’ve grown to love them):

  • Coldplay
  • The Piano Guys
  • VOCES8
  • OK Go
  • Pentatonix
  • Muse
  • The Killers
  • WALK THE MOON
  • A R I Z O N A

Item 4: Miscellany
There are some songs that I’ve come across during this decade-long project that are worth mentioning but, for one reason or another, don’t really fit into any of the song/genre/feeling categories that I’ve mentioned so far or will mention in the next few days. So I wanted to just mention those songs right now. I guess this is the miscellaneous of the miscellaneous, haha. These are in absolutely no order.

Dildo by Interactive
I don’t know how I found this song (probably just random YouTube surfing), but oh my god. What an…odd topic for a song. Gotta appreciate the minimalism, though.
PUT IT IN PUT IT IN PUT IT IN PUT IT IN!!

Agnes by Glass Animals
It might just be me, but this is the most anxiety-producing song I’ve ever heard. There’s something about the build-up to the chorus plus those spinny-like noises that just makes me feel so incredibly anxious. It’s distressing. But it’s also a good song, so…

O Superman by Laurie Anderson
This is the most ominous, fear-filled song that I’ve found throughout this whole project. It’s anxiety-producing like Agnes, but produces a different kind of anxiety. Agnes just gives “general anxiety” feels, whereas this song, at least to me, produces that kind of anxiety you feel as you anticipate something really bad happening. It’s a stunning, haunting song.

Nessun Dorma performed by Pavarotti
I was going to put this in tomorrow’s “Music Videos” section, but it’s not technically a music video. I was going to put this in today’s “frisson” section, but that’s not quite what it is, either. This performance – the one linked to above – is the best live performance of a song that I’ve found this decade, and it’s because of how you can see the meaning of the song in Pavarotti’s performance, especially from 2:35 or so until the end. 2:46 is magical.

Sunshine (Adagio in D Minor) by John Murphy
I’m mentioning this one in this section because I think it wins out as the best soundtrack song that I found over the course of the decade. I almost made a “best soundtrack songs” section, but what I consider to be the best soundtrack songs change depending on how I’m feeling. But this song is just so emotionally charged and so beautiful that it wins out over everything else. Plus, of course, it occurs during my favorite scene of my favorite movie, so it’s got that going for it, too.

Tomorrow: music videos!
(I’m excited)

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