Does This Song Trigger Your ASMR?

Illustrated by Gabriela Alford.
Holly Herndon's brand new album, Platform, is "not music by a machine or for a machine ­— it's music as a machine itself," according to NPR. We're definitely captivated. But, one song in particular caught our ears' attention; it may trigger some listeners' autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR). ASMR refers to a relaxing or tingling feeling some people experience when listening to particular sounds or seeing specific images. Those who have ASMR have found comfort online, with communities rising up around YouTube videos made specifically to trigger ASMR. Although people's individual triggers may vary, there are some common characteristics, most notably the "gentle whisper." And, while there hasn't been a ton of research surrounding ASMR, a recent study did show that stress-relief and insomnia were some of the top reasons people seek out the sounds and videos. The song in question, "Lonely At The Top," consists of a characteristic whispering voice — that of "ASMRtist" Claire Tolan — layered over other common ASMR triggers, such as clicking and the rustling of fabric.  As someone who definitely does not have ASMR, I found the track to be pretty freakin' creepy. So, to find out if it actually works, we caught up with R29's own Kelsey Miller. "This triggered me a little bit, but it wasn't super effective," Kelsey told me. "Her voice is ideal, but I don't find the tapping and water sounds as triggering." And, without the relaxing visual element of ASMR videos, the effects here may be limited. So, while it wasn't necessarily created specifically for ASMR purposes, the track was inspired by the same techniques and may still trigger ASMR in some. Give it a listen below and let us know!

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