The other day I was listening to NPR and there was a discussion on why certain songs elicit such strong emotion in listeners. Specifically, Adele’s Grammy winning “Someone Like You” and why it’s so heartrending. There’s a musical device called appoggiatura, an ornamental note with a tiny hint of dissonance, that appears repeatedly in the song. Researchers have found that the tension and release generated by this and certain other song features stimulates the brain’s reward centers and releases dopamine.
It’s not sad – just the opposite – but there’s definitely something going on in “Callin’ Baton Rouge” (Garth Brooks’ version at least, which is the one I’m familiar with). Every time I hear this song, it overwhelms my brain with pleasure and I can’t keep from smiling. What musical magic makes this song so ecstatic? And why is the accompanying youtube video anime? I don’t know, but this song makes me really, really happy.