cover image This Is What It Sounds Like: What the Music You Love Says About You

This Is What It Sounds Like: What the Music You Love Says About You

Susan Rogers and Ogi Ogas. Norton, $28.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-393-54125-0

“Be it records or romantic partners, we fall in love with the ones who make us feel like our best and truest self,” writes music producer and neuroscientist Rogers in this pitch-perfect deep dive into the power of music. Determined to ascertain how and why music resonates so strongly with its listeners, Rogers—the chief engineer for Prince’s Purple Rain—breaks down the emotional and scientific importance of lyrics, melody, rhythm, and timbre. In brainy yet breezy prose, she explores how a song’s melody can actually be more impactful than its lyrics; how audiences crave to hear lyrics they can relate to; and why making music with others facilitates a sense of belonging: “Communal music making bypasses the need to express your musical self as an individual, letting you fuse your identity with something larger than yourself.” Most resonant is Rogers’s fascinating foray into the ways the mind and music connect; because “our auditory circuitry has more varied and direct connections to our emotion circuitry than does our visual circuity,” she writes, “music activates our mind wandering network—and our personal self—more easily and fully than any other art form.” Combining erudite analysis with plenty of soul, this will have music lovers rapt. (Sept.)