The Best ASMR Channels to Help You Escape Primary Season

Screenshot from the music video for Talking Heads' "Sax and Violins." David Byrne looks to the viewer's right with shutter shadows on his face. Jerry Harris appears in four different boxes in the background with his eyes shut.
Screenshot from the music video for Talking Heads’ “Sax and Violins.” Please do not copy or use.

As with anyone who doesn’t jazz hands over sentient Vienna sausages bloviating a Great Pacific Garbage Patch’s worth of reheated sub-Nextdoor tantrums on an hourly basis, my mind’s been on how to yank politics (and society on the whole) away from the influence of the types who believe mass-murdering Satanic cults ran daycares in the late ’80s.

I’m hardly a Leslie Knope*. None of this brings me joy or excitement. The debates haven’t even started yet and I’m already overwhelmed. Even though I already know who I’m primarying, I still needed to make an informed decision by both doing my research and listening to what others had to say.

Yeah… you know what was a terrible idea? That.

Are we supposed to hate the socialisms because Bernie Sanders or love the socialisms because Bernie Sanders? Why are so many people who are into the social justice also into getting angry at people who haven’t had the same access to academic studies? Is “unity” nothing more than just another buzzword for the privileged to use as a cudgel to silence the marginalized? Why can’t anyone (mostly people of color and/or LGBTQIA people and/or disabled people and/or sex workers, let’s be real here) bring up reasonable concerns without getting screamed at over “DIVISIVENESS?” Are both sides really the same? And why are there only two sides anyway? If I vote for the person who will likely do the least amount of harm to the fewest amount of people, what can I do to offset any of the resulting harm since nobody’s going to get everything right? How much blood splashes on my hands? Everyone’s fave is problematic – yes, even yours – but at what point do they become “too problematic?” How many Americans think Julián Castro is a Cold War-era clone of Fidel who emerged from stasis in 2018 to spread THE SCOURGE OF COMMUNISM and, if that number is greater than one, how deep should I dig the hole I want to live in forever and ever amen?

Spending so much time contemplating all of these questions exhausts me. I wouldn’t say I’m cynical exactly. Just tired. So, so tired. Due diligence shouldn’t imbalance the humors like this. To turn off the stress, I’ve been turning on my autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR). I can’t in good faith recommend it as a one-size-fits-all solution to primary fatigue since – oh hey, surprise! – not everyone has the same neurology and physiology. But if you feel a satisfying tingle along your scalp and spine whenever a chip bag crinkles or a pickle pops, these ASMR channels might grant you a reprieve from the fact that “Nazis are bad” and “humans deserve human rights” somehow ended up as controversial statements in the year of our lord 2019.

Oftentimes these videos stand as the only bulwark between early boarding a one-way mission to Mars and locking the door behind me.


Spirit Payton from ASMRTheChew tapping on a jar of pickles.
Screenshot of Spirit Payton from ASMRTheChew’s popular video titled “Pickle ASMR Eating Sounds/BIG Crunch/Intense | Spirit Payton.” Please do not copy or use.

Spirit Payton may also be addressed as “The Queen of ASMR.” When it comes to sheer variety, her ASMRTheChew offers an impressive range from stories to makeup tutorials, from eating to typing. Few creators deploy comforting snaps, smacks, clicks, pops, and pips with such thought precision. I have yet to come across a video that doesn’t deliver a warm, loving hug to the external auditory meatus. Plus, she always looks like she’s enjoying herself immensely, no matter what activity she features, so when you need a reminder that good things exist in this cold (and colder in some places thanks to warming Arctic air blowing extreme jet streams further south), cruel world, definitely try to watch instead of just listening.

Hail to the queen.

Payton also hosts the channels ASMRTheChew Intense, ASMR Makeup by Spirit, and ASMR Spirit and Nadine.

YouTube | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Patreon

Sand Tagious

Very Satisfying Video Compilation 80 Kinetic Sand Cutting ASMR." Blocks of red and purple sand in a jar being tamped down by a wooden pickle packer.
Screenshot from Sand Tagious’s video titled “Very Satisfying Video Compilation 80 Kinetic Sand Cutting ASMR.” Please do not copy or use.

Sand Tagious supplanted A Rush of Blood to the Head the most effective strategy for falling and staying asleep when memories of that one time I read a Facebook comments section start seeping into the amygdala. The versatility of Kinetic Sand and Mad Mattr forms the focus here, getting molded, sliced, tamped down, and squished through fingers. Seek out the videos including polystyrene slabs or glasses and pickle packers; they feature some additional crunches and clinks for relaxin’ to the maxin’. Even with the sound turned off, though, Sand Tagious is worth watching because of the creative shapes, soothing textures, vibrant color palettes, and the interplay between the three therein.

YouTube | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Cracker ASMR

Person wearing purple rubber gloves and making slime in a petri dish from the video "ASMR Slime laboratory - No talking experiment roleplay(BGM ver.) | visual triggers" by Cracker ASMR.
Screenshot from Cracker ASMR’s video titled “ASMR Slime laboratory – No talking experiment roleplay(BGM ver.) | visual triggers.” Please do not copy or use.

Geez. Even the name “Cracker ASMR” is soothing to whisper. This channel mines aural goodness from an eclectic mix of materials, including slime, model ears, cotton swabs, menus, study materials, wooden dolls, wrapping paper, glass, and more. Make sure to check out the vintage calculator and science videos for some stunning visual ASMR with the colors and compositions of ’70s educational programs. As a bonus, the science videos come with detailed recipes for making slime at home!

People with needle phobia should take note that some videos do feature acupuncture simulations, though they’re clearly labeled. Some of these do have images of needles in the pull image on the home page.



Screenshot from Soap ASMR UA's video titled "Dry Soap carving ASMR | relaxing sounds *no talking* | Satisfying ASMR video part 30." A hand carves a bar of transparent purple and white soap with an X-Acto knife.
Screenshot from Soap ASMR UA’s video titled “Dry Soap carving ASMR | relaxing sounds *no talking* | Satisfying ASMR video part 30.” Please do not copy or use.

I’d say I hope I hear angels singing the song of soap carving in Heaven, but I try to do some of the stuff listed in Matthew 25:35-40 as often as resources allow and America Jesus says that makes me a sinner. Because Soap ASMR UA exclusively features… exactly… what… the… name… says, the visual interest here comes with the playful color, shape, and texture experiments. Whether dried-out chips or smooth gelatinous chunks, all of the soaps used look like beautiful, bright jewels. They get crushed, crunched, dried, and carved to generate white noise for the gratitude of insomniacs the world over. Great way to use up old soap, too.

Visit their Dark Soap ASMR channel for the same content on black backgrounds.

YouTube | Instagram

I’m not being paid to write a conclusion, so I’m not going to write a conclusion. All I will do is wish you good luck and godspeed. We need plenty of both. And plenty of ASMR for when supplies run short.

(Oh shit that was a conclusion, wasn’t it?)

*If you are a Leslie Knope who wakes up every morning and invigorates yourself with a giant steaming mug ‘o wonkin’ policy, then I applaud and support you with all sincerity. Feel free to bookmark this page for healing purposes when little towheaded Braelynnwynnynne (don’t forget the “e” because no “e” is for loose women) sitting next to you on the flight home infects you with e. poliopox because mummy and daddy think the thimerosal in vaccines will mix with the fluoride in tap water (Braelynnwynnynne only drinks mummy’s breastmilk) and cause tiny ridges on her fingernails and then she won’t be able to meet a nice petroleum engineering major at Texas A&M with a trust fund that could feed the entire population of Yemen for five years and nothing is worse than that.


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