Frisson is a word that comes from French meaning “a sudden, passing sensation of excitement; a shudder of emotion;” It can often be felt when listening to particularly moving songs, or emotionally fraught moments in movies. Also real life, but it’s hard to link to real life.
Of course, frisson is hard to explain, but easy to demonstrate. For that purpose, here’s a list of 10 songs, in no particular order, that are likely to cause frisson. In fact, if you can get through the whole list without feeling a single shiver of excitement, you might want to get a Voight-Kampff test because you’re a robot, fam.
An ethereal-sounding post-rock band from Iceland, Sigur Ros exemplify why people are rightfully enthralled and terrified by Iceland.
Jeff Buckley recorded this Leonard Cohen cover in 1994. Did you know one of definitions of hallelujah is, “a musical composition wholly or principally based upon the word ‘hallelujah.'” In other words: Hallelujah! Jeff Buckley covered the hallelujah “Hallelujah.”
Steven Sharp Nelson is a cello performer who has recorded a number of popular covers of songs using solely or principally cellos. He has no stated plans to record a “Cello Goodbye” cover.
“What are you tryin’ to tell me here, little man? That you don’t like Zep?” — Brock Samson, fictional character
This piece, composed in 1910, is scored to resemble an organ in sound by dividing the orchestra into three separate sections.
Fake history: One time, Gustav Holst wondered what the planets would sound like if they were music. From 1914-1916, he worked to come up with an unscientific but very entertaining musical work. This is only one piece from the seven-movement piece.
Interesting fact: There are only seven movements because Earth did not get one, and Pluto was getting cold dissed even back then. (Actually, Pluto wasn’t discovered until 1930).
According to legend, Death appears every year at midnight on Halloween, and raises the dead to dance for him until dawn. Danse Macabre is a figurative representation of this: the violin solo is the devil fiddling, the xylophone represents the rattling bones of the dead, and the oboe at the very end is the rooster’s crow signaling dawn.
And you thought classical music was boring.
See: Sigur Ros, in re enthralling / terrifying.
9. Interpol – Hands Away
Interpol is an indie rock band from New York City, a place that might not know salsa, but sure knows music.
Franz Liszt was a 19th century composer, conductor, and piano virtuoso. Which is true, but inaccurate, considering the guy was an absolute rock star.
Bonus Video: Miracle (2004)
U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!