Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Music and Memories

Everyone talks about how smell is the memory's greatest trigger.  For instance, the smell of peppermint always makes me think of Christmas, and the smell of a gas stove (particularly one cooking onions in butter) reminds me of my grandma.  However, I'm always surprised at how much a certain song can do that too.

There are some songs that just make me feel good.  Take Disney, for example.  I've heard Disney songs so many times and in so many places that I can't help but be happy whenever I hear a Disney song.  Occasionally, I'll find one that strikes a certain memory, but those are few and far between.

Then there are songs like "The Way" by Fastball.  That song came out when I was 12 or 13, and every time I hear it I instantly remember riding in the car with my cousin, Tina, having a blast.  That's a very clear memory.  Granted, it's faded a bit, and it's been diluted with other memories of that song, but that's the first memory I'm taken too.

And then there are songs where the simple melody brings back a series of emotions and memories.  You see, like most people, I go through phases.  Phases where I want to listen to a certain artist or a certain genre non-stop.  Occasionally, I'll return to that artist or genre, but the passion is never the same as what it initially was.  This morning, I returned to the Decemberists.

For some reason, I got their song, Red Right Ankle, stuck in my head.  As I hummed the melody in the shower, I hit one note, just one, and I was immediately taken back to sitting on a back balcony with friends on a hot summer's night..  Ironically, the memory did not match the song.  I never heard that song when I was sitting on a back balcony with these friends.  However, the song reminded me of them and of good times.

Later this afternoon, I listened to Death Cab for Cutie, and I was transported to a ride up I-95, headed up to D.C.  I just can't help but find it amazing that one tune, one simple song could take me back so much.  Part of me wants to relive these memories.  I want to repeat the past and relive was wonderful.  I know, however, that repeating the past is neither possible nor healthy, and there are many other wonderful memories to be made in the future.

You know, it's a good day for this sort of introspection.  On this 60 degree day (the warmest in months), I'm reminded that the world is ever-changing, and if I just roll with it I'll soon be in the sun and warmth again.

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