What a new RS album means

I can’t explain my reaction to the photo on Rick Springfield’s Facebook page today – it made me feel so happy that I felt like I could possibly burst from the happiness.

I’m not even sure why. Yes, I’m looking forward to hearing his new songs. Yes, he and his bandmates looked like they were having a fun time. Yes, I was glad to see that he cut his hair and shaved his beard. But it must have been more than that.

Maybe it was my inner teenager that was just ready to burst out. If social media had been around when I was in high school, I may have never gotten anything else done.

That immediacy is just so addictive. Not only did RS fans learn yesterday that he was in the studio rehearsing for a new album but we learned about it the same week it was happening (and not weeks or months later after the new record was released). There is even a video of RS with his songwriting partner Matt Bissonette from three days ago, the first day of rehearsals.

(As I was writing this I had to watch the video again and then got a little distracted by another video I hadn’t seen before – thank you, YouTube teasers. It was a fun video though, a KTLA Google+Hangout promoting “Songs for the End of the World” so it kind fits with the theme of this post.)

So anyway, where was I?

Ah yes, what does a new RS album mean?

More new songs! More insight into what he’s been experiencing since his last album. And just the fun of anticipating the new album (in addition to the new movie, new book and concert).

It seems as one gets older, there’s less to anticipate. When you’re a kid, there’s a long list of things to anticipate – driving, turning 18, turning 21, the possibilities of who you may become and who you may meet. But then you reach an age when you realize how fragile everything is and just become really grateful for what you already have. The more you learn about all the things that could go wrong, the more you appreciate all the things that go right and are apprehensive to wish for more. Kinda depressing but also kinda true, at least for me, especially after having kids.

So the opportunity to experience this anticipation is actually a huge blessing (which I am grateful to be experiencing).

In fact, I found scientific evidence for this reaction – it is the dopamine, according to this 2011 article on medicalnewstoday.com:

“Experiencing and even anticipating thrilling music releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, a “pleasure” chemical in the brain that is linked to tangible rewards like food, drugs and sex, said scientists from Canada who measured dopamine response to music and found the more “chills” or “frisson” the music elicits, even in the anticipation phase, the more dopamine is released…”

“And, [the researchers] added, it also shows that the anticipation of an “abstract reward” (music is not considered a tangible reward like food or sex), can release dopamine in a different anatomical pathway to that which is triggered at the peak of actually experiencing the pleasurable reward.”

That explains a great deal, actually.

And now we have an answer – a new RS album means a whole lot more dopamine will be released into the world.