Pendulum — The Island

I’ve always main­tained that a per­son isn’t alive if their heart does­n’t pound out of their chest when lis­ten­ing to The Island by Pendulum1.

It’s a grad­ual build-up, most of Pt. 1 Dawn being the devel­op­ment until Pt. 2 Dusk hits (at about the 5:20 mark in the video) and the beats real­ly kick in. Then it’s just waves and waves wash­ing over my body like small orgasms and every hair stands on end.

It’s mes­mer­iz­ing to lit­er­al­ly see how this music makes me feel, as the rip­ples of goose­bumps crest and sub­side. I can trace the paths of shiv­ers across my skin; some last longer, though they may not be as strong, while oth­ers come and go quick­ly, my body unable to sus­tain the cli­max.

This is the only song that has this kind of effect on me. There are plen­ty of oth­er tracks that give me goose­bumps, but none of them do it so many times or with such inten­si­ty. By far the strongest peak is dur­ing the bridge at 7:10, when every­thing sub­sides to the organ, and it’s like you’re being bathed in the warm light of a sun­rise.

  1. To get the full effect, you def­i­nite­ly need head­phones. Otherwise, it should be loud enough to war­rant a noise-com­plaint by your neigh­bours down the street. []


  1. That’s pret­ty cool Jeff. However, I must not be alive as the song does noth­ing for me. What I find inter­est­ing is what thoughts or men­tal states you asso­ciate with the song (like what were you think­ing while film­ing and lis­ten­ing). A few inter­est­ing exper­i­ments might be: 1) Try the same thing only hear­ing the music in your head but have the room silent 2) Think of a sit­u­a­tion (a con­ver­sa­tion, an emo­tion) when that song was play­ing and see what occurs. 3) See if you can invoke the same response in a piece of music you don’t like.


    • Headphones! Did you lis­ten with head­phones!? It’s a super impor­tant part!

      Anyway, I’m not real­ly sure what men­tal states I have when I hear this song. It’s kind of a zen moment; my head clears and all that’s left is a bunch of tran­si­tion­ing sol­id colours (I sus­pect that I have sound → col­or synes­the­sia).

      I don’t think the same thing would work if I was only hear­ing the music in my head, cause this song has to be real­ly loud to pro­duce goose­bumps in me. When the song is on but it’s at a mod­er­ate vol­ume, it does noth­ing for me either.

      I’m going to try think­ing of a sit­u­a­tion or emo­tion though to see if it trig­gers a dif­fer­ent kind of reac­tion. As for respons­es from a piece of music I don’t like, I’ll put some Nickelback on my iPhone and get back to you on that. :)

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