Thursday, January 19, 2006

Music, Memories... Magic! (and some mirth)

I was going to start a Myspace bulletin on this subject, but given that most albums and songs on this list have a backstory, I didn't feel justified just throwing the titles down all in a row. So here's the deal...

Almost everybody has some point in their lives where the memories are so warm, so fuzzy, or so godawfully bad, that certain things in the present will trigger them. Sometimes these memories are stimulated by something visual (you see someone walking down the street who looks like an ex, you remember your whole relationship with that person). Sometimes they're stimulated by a certain smell (god knows how many years of memories the smell of Disneyland water triggers).

Usually, what triggers these memories is music.

Unless of course, you're an evil souless robot with no pulse and an off-switch in your back. If this is the case, I pity you, and the humans that you devour for fuel.

What is it about certain albums and songs that makes them so powerful to bring the past back to life in such a way? Is it because they're so good, they form a synaptic connection within the brain? Or is it because they just happened to be on the radio at a certain time? Or is it just one of those things that has no answer?

I'm betting on that last one (see #6 and #10 for why the first answer is discredited).

Anyway, here's my list of albums and songs that trigger specific memories of times long past in my brain. As always, the comments board is open... feel free to leave your own memories there. As long as the answers don't amount to "haXXor H8 n00b p00pE" or something to that effect, I'll publish them.

And the winners are...

  1. Air - Moon Safari. Between 1998-2000, I listened to this album constantly. I still listen to it quite often, and each time, it brings back a specific memory of driving back home from my job at the time, on a spring day in 1998, ready to get on the 5 freeway from Los Feliz Boulevard. It was a carefree time; I was working for money to spend, not yet having to worry about rent and bills and the other bullshit that adult life entails. Hell, most of my money was going towards buying CDs. This was one of them.
  2. Pink Floyd - Meddle. Summer of 1994. I spent it part of it visiting my best friend in Chicago. I bought this album in a small record shop near her house on vinyl, and haven't stopped listening to it since. Except for when I'm listening to other albums. Or not listening to anything at all. Let's just say I listen to it often.
  3. Sneaker Pimps - "Six Underground." Summer/Fall 1996. I was spending a lot of time with one of my best friends and his girlfriend (or was she his ex by then? I don't remember), and this song was constantly on the radio. Literally. Every time we hung out, someone would turn on the radio, and the song would be on. Then, it was slightly creepy. Now, it's a fond memory. Of creepiness.
  4. Arcade Fire - "Lights Out." While I would list their full album, this one song in particular is where the real memory comes from; namely, Coachella 2005, and all the time surrounding it (within a year or so). Well, all the good time, anyway.
  5. Orbital - The Middle Of Nowhere. 1999. From start to finish. I had a gorgeous girlfriend, money to burn, friends that cared about me, and a car I could go anywhere with. And this album was in that car all the time. Now... well, I still have some friends left somewhere.
  6. Bobby Brown - "On Our Own." Summer of 1989. Hanging out with the kids from the neighborhood, at the house of whoever owned a Nintendo or had cable. Why is it that those kids never let anyone else play their Nintendos? Little bastards.
  7. Doobie Brothers - "What A Fool Believes." I was two, and playing on a swingset or something to that effect, while my mother was talking to somebody inside a building, and the song was coming through the window to the outside. Don't know why this one stuck with me, it just did. Don't know why my mother left me unsupervised at that early of an age either, but that's not important for the purposes of this list.
  8. Underworld - "Cowgirl." Back in 1996-98, I used to go to two clubs in Los Angeles almost every week, Perversion and Asylum. Every time we went, this song would be playing. And every time, the whole group I was there with would get up on the dancefloor. And then we'd go back to our table and smoke cigarettes, because at the time that was still legal. Good times.
  9. Soundtrack - Main Street Electrical Parade. - Let me put it this way; if you know, you know. If you don't, you never will. Oh, and if you know from a young age... Pete's Dragon, blowing smoke from his nose. Yeah, that's right. We just shared a moment.
  10. Pebbles - "Mercedes Boy." Summer of 1988. Playing with the other kids where we weren't supposed to, while the older kids watched MTV, and the music would fly out to where we were. Shit, I probably should have listed "Strangelove" by Depeche Mode instead, that's a much more respectable song, and was around at the same time. Although, I don't base my lovelife on whether a girl knows the lyrics to that one (now you know why I fell in love with the girl in #5, she was as much of a nerd as me, and hot to boot).

There are more, of course, but I figured ten was enough for now. Maybe I'll write a sequel to this at some point. Probably I won't, given that this blog entry wasn't particularly amusing. But hey, they can't all be roses. Well, at least not roses that squirt water. Although come to think of it, those haven't been funny since vaudeville died.

Anyway, leave your comments. I'm curious as to what goes on in all your strange little minds...


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