From Billie Eilish to Phoebe Bridgers: How ASMR crossed over into pop. Soft, spooky whispers have become a dominant force in everything from folk to hip-hop, and it’s only going to get bigger, writes Ed Power
Music is art, noise is just noise Otherwise Yoko Ono would have won the Nobel Prize for music. (Alex Sakmann)
The colours are soft and marshmallowy. The vibe is spooky slumber-party. And the singing is a soothing medley of coos and mumbles. (excerpt from Independent)
“Some people say whispering is bad for you,” says singer-songwriter Alaina Castillo. “We’re just going to call this acapella singing you to sleep. A lot of you guys say my voice is nice and pleasant.”
Castillo, a 20-year-old Houston Texas native, is introducing an intimate performance recorded for YouTube in 2019, which has notched up in excess of 4.5 million views. It’s called “Sing You to Sleep”.
Which is exactly what Castillo tries to do over the next 20 minutes. Her voice is low and comforting, even when she is wrapping her tonsils around lyrics such as “Like I wanna drown, like I wanna end me” from Eilish’s “Bury a Friend”. “Damnit,” reads one of the comments. “She’s just TOO calming.” Welcome to the next big thing in music: ASMR pop.
The trend has been bubbling under for some time. But suddenly it’s everywhere. Billie Eilish, arguably the biggest name in pop at the moment, has been widely described as the first ASMR superstar. Indie darling Phoebe Bridgers has explicitly cited ASMR as an influence. And there’s a powerful ASMR sensibility to new artists such as Castillo, songwriter Martha Skye Murphy, critically lauded avant-garde composer Ana Roxanne and dance producer Isola, whose recent EP1 was praised by Resident Advisor for its “little ASMR triggers”.
“Lo Vas a Olvidar (You Will Forget Her),” has dropped Thursday, Jan. 21, at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT. The song will be part of the HBO hit series “Euphoria”’s “Part Two: Jules’” soundtrack.
Rosalia spoke about the long-percolating song in an interview with Apple Radio back in April.
“During these two last weeks I have been trying to finish the Billie Eilish collab,” she continues. “I think it’s getting quite closer. I think that the arrangements, I think that yesterday I finished the arrangements. I feel like the production, the sound design, is almost done, so I just need that Billie maybe sends the vocals and they send me the ideas that they want to add because we are there.”
Meanwhile the film ‘The World’s A Little Blurry’ is directed by award-winning filmmaker RJ Cutler.It is set for release on Apple TV+ on February 26.
The record arrived last year and helped Eilish make history at the Grammys, where she became the youngest artist to sweep the four main categories.The documentary follows a 17-year-old Eilish during the recording and release of her acclaimed album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
The World’s A Little Blurry trailer opens with Eilish and Finneas O’Connell, her older brother and collaborator, practicing a secret handshake in the bedroom they produced much of the album in.
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