Book Review: This Is What It Sounds Like

Posted November 11, 2022 by geograph in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from Booksweet, Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: This Is What It Sounds LikeThis Is What It Sounds Like: What the Music You Love Says About You by Susan Rogers, Ogi Ogas
Published by W. W. Norton & Company on September 20, 2022
Genres: Music / History & Criticism, Music / Instruction & Study / Appreciation, Psychology / Cognitive Psychology & Cognition, Technology & Engineering / Acoustics & Sound
Pages: 288
Format: ARC, eBook, Paperback
Source: Booksweet, Netgalley
Booksweet link.

Named one of the Most Anticipated Books of 2022 by Boston Globe and Literary Hub

A legendary record producer–turned–brain scientist explains why you fall in love with music.

This Is What It Sounds Like is a journey into the science and soul of music that reveals the secrets of why your favorite songs move you. But it’s also a story of a musical trailblazer who began as a humble audio tech in Los Angeles to became Prince’s chief engineer for Purple Rain, and then create other No. 1 hits (including Barenaked Ladies' "One Week") as one of the most successful female record producers of all time.

Now an award-winning professor of cognitive neuroscience, Susan Rogers leads readers to musical self-awareness. She explains that we each possess a unique “listener profile” based on our brain’s natural response to seven key dimensions of any song. Are you someone who prefers lyrics or melody? Do you like music “above the neck” (intellectually stimulating), or “below the neck” (instinctual and rhythmic)? Whether your taste is esoteric or mainstream, Rogers guides readers to recognize their musical personality, and offers language to describe one's own unique taste. Like most of us, Rogers is not a musician, but she shows that all of us can be musical—simply by being an active, passionate listener.

While exploring the science of music and the brain, Rogers also takes us behind the scenes of record-making, using her insider’s ear to illuminate the music of Prince, Frank Sinatra, Kanye West, Lana Del Rey, and many others. She shares records that changed her life, contrasts them with those that appeal to her coauthor and students, and encourages you to think about the records that define your own identity.

Told in a lively and inclusive style, This Is What It Sounds Like will refresh your playlists, deepen your connection to your favorite artists, and change the way you listen to music.

This book is incredible, and I find myself wanting to reference it all the time. I loved finding out all about what makes a person tick with regards to music, and these two authors are conversational and include anecdotes as well as serious science and studies. The result is a book that’s approachable, really cool, and seriously interesting. I do recommend keeping an open musical mind and your phone with you to look up the songs referenced. Four and a half stars, rounded up.


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