I’ve been thinking lately a lot about the connections between music, memory, and love. A gift that I’ve always valued is a gift of music. I appreciate, more than I appreciate a lot of things, someone taking the time to contrive a playlist that they feel I would enjoy. It could be songs that follow the evolution of a relationship, it could be a CD of songs with lyrics describing how you feel about the recipient. It could even just be a hodge-podge of musical expression that for no explicable reason, makes you think of a
I smile when I hear certain songs. I hear Mazzy Star and I remember the thrill and the tingle of one of the greatest loves of my life holding me in his arms and kissing me catching me by surprise because I thought he wasn’t interested. I smile again when I hear What Would Happen (If We Kissed) by Meredith Brooks because I listened to that song and daydreamed about the very kiss I got during Mazzy Star’s Fade Into You. Selfless, Cold & Composed by Ben Folds Five played on repeat at the end of that relationship and I still think of him when it comes on.
When someone mentions the band They Might Be Giants, I remember a mixed CD I received about five years ago and while I couldn’t recall which specific song was on the CD by them (at least not until recently), I knew it was on that disc and I thought of the maker of the CD with a smile and a tug at my heart.
I crashed into my high school sweetheart during a Zebrahead concert and his face is in my head the moment any of their songs play. I hear George Strait’s version of Fly Me To The Moon and instead of George Strait’s voice, I hear my ex singing it to me as we drove down the freeway together.
All of these songs are so linked in my mind to these memories that I can’t listen to them without a jolt and a reminder of the people I’ve loved and still love. It isn’t just love, either.
Baby, Got Back, that ever popular song, was huge when I was growing up and I can’t help but laugh at the memories of my childhood best friend and I listening to the radio non-stop, trying to get our tape recorder to catch that intro, “Oh. My. God. Becky. Look at her butt…”
In college, I was a good gym attendee and when my gym buddy and I returned to our dorm, we’d pick a room and blast Easy E while jumping around with hairbrushes and making obscene movements to go with the equally offensive, but oh so fun, lyrics. Even my hated college roommate and I had good memories involving hairbrush microphones and some Shoop by Salt N’ Pepa.
That instantaneous burst of memory that comes with a song will never cease to amaze me.