This Is What It Sounds Like Summary and Reviews

This Is What It Sounds Like

What the Music You Love Says About You

by Susan Rogers

This Is What It Sounds Like by Susan Rogers X
This Is What It Sounds Like by Susan Rogers
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Book Summary

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.

3 black-and-white photographs; 7 infographics; 2 illustrations

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"'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...Most resonant is Rogers's fascinating foray into the ways the mind and music connect...Combining erudite analysis with plenty of soul, this will have music lovers rapt." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Interestingly, Rogers argues that nature and nurture play roles in determining musical taste. We have a certain genetic propensity for some kinds of music, but more to the point, it's experience and exposure that help shape our tolerance for novelty...An intriguing look at how what enters our ears shapes our minds." - Kirkus Reviews

"Although the book's neuroscience can be dry at times, Rogers's personal anecdotes shine. As long as readers are up for a record pull, they won't be disappointed. Sure to appeal to many popular music lovers, particularly young adults." - Library Journal

"This Is What It Sounds Like is a revelation. Susan Rogers and Ogi Ogas offer extraordinary insights about music, emotion, and the brain, and they deliver them with great flair and flow. For all I thought I knew about these subjects, I learned a lot from this book―and was entertained at every turn, both by the ideas and the poetry of their expression. This instant classic should be read by anyone who has ever been moved by a piece of music―in other words, everyone." - Dr. Daniel J. Levitin, author of This Is Your Brain on Music and The Organized Mind

"A deliciously nerdy resource for music lovers, and for anyone who thinks deeply about music and how it moves them. What Rogers and Ogas do with This Is What It Sounds Like is distill the science around music into an accessible and wonderous new level of understanding, of the elusive why of loving and living for music." - Jessica Hopper, author of The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic

"Susan Rogers found her superpower in the music world not as a musician, but as a master listener. Rogers' book is a gift to music listeners of all kinds―because in listening we hear not only the music, we hear the sonic signature of our own soul." - Dan Charnas, author of Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, the Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm

"Susan is one of the smartest people in the world of music and this book will help you hear music more deeply and more thoughtfully. You can tell why Prince loved working with her." - Touré, author of I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon

This information about This Is What It Sounds Like was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Susan Rogers

Susan Rogers, PhD, is a cognitive neuroscientist and an award-winning professor at Berklee College of Music, as well as a multiplatinum record producer. She resides in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ogi Ogas, PhD, was a Department of Homeland Security Fellow at the Department of Cognitive and Neural Systems at Boston University. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

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