Friday, May 24, 2013

Music & Memories

OK folks - I've done a lot of thinking.  I don't want to write this blog so that I can feel good about myself or my house or my life.  I realize that when I show you how I decorated my house or the picture I took of my kids during a really idyllic moment I'm not accomplishing anything except feeding my pride. Plain and simple. So, we're done with that.  I just want to he honest and blunt (in the non-hurtful way) and make people laugh, or smile or think, or feel something. There is no joy or motivation in writing when I'm too concerned with how it will make me appear, or because I'm hoping to elicit praise or envy. And that's def. why I haven't posted for over a month. I do love interaction in the comments though - so please, if you have something to share, as always, please share it.

Anyways - I recently did a bit of spring cleaning which somehow stretched into my music collection. I almost never listen to music on my own these days, which is weird because I LOVE music. But I love to listen to music loud and I definitely prefer singing along at the top of my lungs especially in the car. However,  since I'm almost never alone in the car anymore and I can't get through a song without Jack putting in his two cents on which song he'd prefer we listen to - I've just sort of given up. But back to the main point here - so I'm going through my iTunes account deleting stuff I don't listen to anymore but also rekindling a love for lots of songs I just forgot about. And I found it interesting that certain songs have the power to stir up strong, specific memories like a mental time machine back to a very definite time and place. I know this is true for everyone. 

Tonight I had a playlist going of random songs I loved at one time or another and it was strange the mix of seasons in life they represented. I thought I'd share some of these songs and where they bring me back to, even if that's only really interesting to a few of you:

Other Side of the World by KT Tunstall - Very much THE song that I was obsessed with when I moved to England for a year in 2006. I listened to this all the time. Anytime it plays, I'm immediately back on a train heading into London wearing my infamous "Sexy Army" shoes, a brown sweater that I still own, with long dark hair, heavy bangs and the smell of this self-tanning lotion I used all the time while I was there wafting in the air.

Best for Last by Adele - I started listening to her around the time that I met Tim and we started dating. This song specifically reminds me of driving back and forth between our little dates. I liked this song so much I put it on a mixed cd for him. It reminds me of all my feelings of uncertainty (of whether he liked me) and excitement (when I knew he did).

Looking Glass by Sleepy Rebels - This is a really obscure band that I discovered a few years ago on some Indie music site.  I can't even listen to this song anymore because of the connotation it has with the Jonestown massacre. Weird, I know. For the longest time I always thought those "don't drink the Kool-aid" references had to do with a small group of people that all committed suicide together in a small room somewhere. Um, no. I later found out by watching a two hour documentary on the whole thing how wrong I was. I was so disturbed I cried all night and couldn't sleep. And then I was like obsessed with learning more details (I have a "need to know" complex). I'd call Tim crying and even more disturbed because I listened to one survivor's horrific tale. Tim had to forbid me from reading into it further. This song happened to be a favorite of mine at the time and ended up being the background music to me reading all about the horrors of Jonestown. So yeah. It totally gives me the creeps now. 

These Streets by Paolo Nutini - I lived in a place called the Isle of Man for three months at the end of 2006. It's a beautiful, peaceful island and every night at about 11 o'clock (sometimes as late as midnight) I'd go for a run and this song was always on the playlist. Looking back, that was a totally unsafe decision but hey, crime on that island was limited to stolen purses. I remember I was so used to this routine that when I moved back home the following year, I didn't think anything of going out for a run late one night until my parents came looking for me with flashlights and were seriously mad. It was 1 am, so fair enough but I was 23 at the time so... I didn't think I had a curfew!

Belief by John Mayer - Tim teases me that whenever any song from this album (Continuum) comes on, I tell him how it reminds me of the time I house-sat for a family I dearly love. I was there for a week and drove their car around which happened to have this cd in the player. But at the time I was also pretty depressed and was struggling with a serious eating disorder, so while I love this whole album, it tends to bring up mixed emotions and serves as a reminder of a very dark period in my life. 

Ordinary Day by Vanessa Carlton - Another song I can't handle anymore, but at the time it was what I'd listen to as I daydreamed about someone I had feelings for. The feelings were never returned so now it's just a symbol of some seriously painful unrequited love. Anytime it happens to come on, I'm brought back to the summer it was first popular and the ache of my pining heart.

Into Your Hideout by Pilate - This song was big when I was in college up in Ontario. While I don't have a specific memory related to this song, it always reminds me of my first year living off campus and the feeling of freedom that brought. I loved living with my friend Elektra at the time so the song is deeply rooted in a time in life that I would happily re-live!

Super Trouper by Abba - A song that brings me straight back to England, circa 1993. I can still picture being in the car with my mom en route to middle school, sitting at the exact intersection pictured below (Windsor/Oxford Road in Gerrards Cross). Abba's Greatest Hits was the soundtrack to my school commute for two years - and I loved this song the best, so I probably played it everyday. That and Michael Ball, who I'm sure you've never heard of.  We lived in England as a family from 93-95 and having cd players installed in the trunk of your car was the newest thing. Of course, that meant you tended to stick with the five or six cds it allowed and rarely changed them out. Thus our road trips were sound tracked exclusively by the greatest hit compilations of the very random following aritists: Cher, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Chris Deburgh (the guy who sings "Lady in Red") and Sophie B. Hawkins.

Other defining sounds for seasons in my life:

High school : Backstreet Boys and Alanis Morrisette - a natural pairing, obviously! Haha.
College : Coldplay and David Gray - still classics.
Now: Anything Tim listens to because I'm too lazy to find new music on my own.

I WOULD LOVE IT if you'd share a song that brings up a very specific season of life or memory for you. Ready, set, GO!


  1. I LOVED this. It was fascinating. Truly. And isn't it incredible that images also have the power to bring up long-forgotten memories? Your picture here brought back a very random memory I hadn't thought about in years. Wow.

  2. Omg lauren i had to learn about the Jonestown Massacre in a class i took in high school, we studied it for almost 2 weeks. It still freaks me out and is terribly sad. It was one of those things that was so interesting but at the same time did nothing good for my heart. We had to watch the documentary too, so i completely understand.

  3. Thanks, Lauren. What an awesome post. Michelle & I haven't fully settled here in Buffalo, and it's so refreshing to get glimpes into the lives of those we used to see all the time in Cleveland. It's so fascinating to read through your list. I'm going to have a weird list myself.

    Bryan Adams reminds me of awkward middle school dances. I didn't listen to a lot of radio in high school, but I played countless hours of Vivaldi (yes, Vivaldi) concertos on my violin.

    I listened to a lot of Tori Amos's "Little Earthquakes" album early in college when Michelle & I broke up due to transitioning from being a high school couple to a long-distance relationship. "China" in particular seemed to resonate, since she was in China over the holidays. Pink Floyd's "Learning to Fly" helped me out later in college, as I learned to battle through depression & failure.

    After getting married & before kids, I used to play more video games. One in particular I altered to play "The Wheat" and "The Battle" from the excellent Gladiator soundtrack. I probably heard it 300 times, and it invokes memories of our house in Brunswick.

    More recently, I've been in search of non-lyrical music I can play while working. Blue Man Group was the sound of 5 years ago, while Lindsey Stirling is dominating iTunes more recently. Christopher Tin's amazing "Calling All Dawns" song cycle both resonated with Michelle & I within the last couple years, of course anchored by his amazing rendition of "Baba Yetu."


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