Science Sundays

Nicotine. It’s that tiny chemical that millions crave, the stuff of multi-billion dollar industries fueled by cigarettes and nicorette packs. Many can’t get enough of the stuff, and from a chemical standpoint, it’s easy to see why. Acting mainly as a stimulant, nicotine has a boatload of effects on your nervous system, upping the release of quite a few chemicals in the body. By activating the mesolymbic pathway in the brain (what’s called the “reward system”), nicotine gives users a sense of euphoria and calmness. It also works to enhance alertness and sharpness, along with speeding up metabolism. Sounds great and everything, until you realize the strong addictive properties, difficulty with withdrawal, and potential cardiovascular problems that come with it.

Musical nicotine has all of the benefits of real nicotine without any of the bad stuff! Like people’s common reasons to smoke cigarettes, below are some songs that bring a sort of clear, calm euphoria with them, songs that you can sit outside and have a thought to, or songs you’re just notably addicted to, whether you like that you are or not. Put down your Marlboro’s, put on your headphones. Continue Reading

With my nice leather jacket fresh of the closet for the season, as well as more beanies than I can unapologetically admit to owning and wearing, it’s official: it’s getting cold. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of fall & the things that come with it: rosy cheeks, cozy fireplaces, pumpkin or apple EVERYTHING, and so on, but there’s something I’ll always miss about the kiss of summer that kind of comes with being a california girl (damn you, Katy Perry..)

As the winter chill nips at our heels, it’s nice to reminisce about the warm days of summer, where being out in the sun inevitably leads to a happier disposition, more dance parties, and from a chemical perspective, an increase in your body’s production of eumelanin. Pretty much the stuff that your skin creates to protect your cells from getting their DNA damaged by the sunlight, since it’s pigmented a higher level of melanin would mean a darkened skin color. Viola, a tan!

Below are what I can laughably call my very own musical tanning-bed, your own little reminder of summer. Put on your favorite pool party ensemble, bust out the Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville Margarita Maker, and shake your booty to these sun-lovin, summer-drippin tunes.

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In anticipation for one of my favorite holidays (mostly because it almost always lasts WAY longer than a day, and you definitely can’t say that about 4th of July now can you?) I’ve decided to bring you the unofficial chemical sponsor of this fine day we call Halloween for this edition of Science Sundays: Sucrose.

Sucrose is some pretty basic stuff. Just table sugar. The ultimate “guilty pleasure” and sworn enemy of weight-conscious folks the world over. It’s what makes things we eat sweet! When listening to the tracks below, know that I am erring on the side of an eight-year-old and NOT your dietician and saying you can have all the sugar you want. These songs are, for lack of a better term, pretty freakin’ sweet. Some are just feel good-tracks, a nice little boost of energy like a handful of M&Ms. Some are full on guilty pleasures, like that second brownie you definitely would be embarrassed to be caught eating but loved every delicious morsel. Either way, the moral of the story here is that a little sugar in your day is a good thing. This halloween, grab your ring pop & go dance the night away.

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I’m probably going to get a lot of shit for this one. So just as a precautionary disclaimer, I’m not really trying to encompass the infinite realm of what defines “acid” in both musical and personal experience senses of the term. So before you get your panties in a bunch that Phuture isn’t on here or your favorite Plastikman track is missing or one of these doesn’t have an “acid bassline,” just know that I am pulling the typical Burning Man “I don’t know man, you just gotta experience it yourseeeeelf” move and letting you know this is my personal derivative of what, to me, starts to entertain the idea of the drug we like to call “acid.”

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Science Sundays Novocain

Novocain. Or is it Novocaine? Or Allocaine? Or if you’re Frank Ocean… Novacane? Technically, all wrong. Ubiquitous under the trade name Novocain, procaine is something more or less we’ve all likely had anencounter with over our lives. An alkaloid pharmaceutical used as a local anesthetic (big words, for your health), procaine is synonymous in our minds for dulling pain… and for good reason. By blocking sodium channels into the cell, Novocain is frequently used in minor surgeries and dental work as a way of numbing pain sensations in a small area.

There’s definitely something perplexing about local anesthetics. The paradox of knowing something painful is happening, but feeling it in a different way. Dull, blunt, and softened, like someone is punching you through a pillow. The odd sensation of feeling numb but completely alert at the same time. Behind the jump you’ll find a selection of songs derivative of every direction I could take Novocain in. Blunted songs, songs that feel as though the edge or aggression has been taken off, songs that make YOU take the edge off, ones that make you conscious of their presence in a different way. Get numb.

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To those of you that toss & turn in your bed, who find themselves wondering why no channels cater to insomniacs, who grit their teeth at people who get a full eight hours of sleep each night, science has offered up nice little drug called zolpidem to coax them into dreamland. I’m sure you’ve all heard of Ambien, right? Welp, that’s Zolpidem.

Zolpidem is a prescribed drug that very successfully helps to initiate sleep in an individual who ingests it. In the action of helping someone fall asleep, I find that there are some truly special tracks that work in a similar light to Zolpidem. Not to say the songs are boring, and like Zolpidem, if you force yourself to stay awake can have very different effects indeed. (Note: I do not condone doing this with Zolpidem… nor will these songs make you hallucinate…) Right, so after you brush your teeth and tuck yourself in, press play on these songs below & start drifting away…………
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Round two of Science Sundays is already upon us and what better chemical to bring into the mix than the first one I put in my body this morning? Don’t get any of the wrong ideas guys… just caffeine. There are few things I delight in more (slash find absolutely necessary to have in my life every day) than a joyous cup of coffee, and that in large part is due to its caffeine content. Caffeine, for all you terminology nerds, is a xanthine alkaloid that acts as a acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. OK, so that basically means it’s a stimulant. It perks you up, helps keep you clear and focused, and if you’re anything like me after three cappuccinos, can make you jittery and energetic.

So there we have it. Below are a few songs I enjoy, ones that I find help me wake up in the morning, put my head in a nice and clear space, keep me tapping my feet in my desk chair, and ward off any yawns or feelings of exhaustion of the moment. So if you’re feeling a little groggy on Monday morning, or start slowing down at work in the afternoon, fill up your favorite mug and press play. I promise you’ll be right as rain in no time.

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Hi, I’m Laura. A few of you may know me as the discreetly evident “little sis” of the GDD family, but it’s my great pleasure to announce that my newest sisterly duty is helping my lovely bros out with content. Now that Gotta Dance Dirty has a little bit of girl power up on the site (shouts to Tamara & Olyvia…) I figure it’s time to hold things down by presenting my own unique weekly content. Enter Science Sundays. Myself being a mega science-buff (ie: nerd) I’ve always been fascinated by the way both chemicals and music can alter your brain state. Pretty magical stuff, right? They don’t call music a drug for nothing…

Each weekend, I’ll be focusing on one substance and its general effects on the body, but much more importantly I’ll be including a few of my favorite jams that go hand in hand in enhancing or defining the way that particular substance makes you feel.

To kick off the first round of Science Sundays, we’ve got perhaps my all-time favorite neurotransmitter: Oxytocin. Read more & check out the tunes that are reminiscent of the “love hormone” after the jump!

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