Commercial Break: Music and Memories

I love playlists.  Is that one of the most unoriginal statements a person could make?  Potentially.  I own it.

Growing up my sister used to make playlists for mix CDs.  She would go through a painstaking process to create a story line with all the songs and would make the perfect mix of songs to paint a story for the listener.  I am way too lazy to create a playlist in that same manner.

My process is that when I discover a song, I put it into a playlist. My playlists are properly named with things like “July” or “Summer 2015” or even more properly named “Yup.”

None of my playlists are created with any sense of story or mood in mind.  They are created based on a specific time in my life, that exact moment and holds all the songs that I’m obsessed with it at that moment.  You see, I’m one of those people who could listen to the same song over and over again for a month straight without being bored of it. Some of my favorite playlists only have about 4 songs on them.

That being said, these playlists have now become the perfect reminder and documentation of where I was when I created them and where I traveled to.  Each playlist is tied to some journey I’ve had and some experience that I went through while listening to those songs.

When I hear “We Come Running” by Youngblood Hawke, I am brought back to riding the rain from Linares to Madrid and staring at the olive trees pass by me. When I hear “OctaHate” by Ryn Weaver, I am brought back to riding the J train in NYC from Brooklyn to Manhattan.  When I hear “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, I am brought back to my friends service and having to say good bye to him. Every song I have ever loved has left a permanent impression on me.

I’ve never really thought about the impact that each song has had on me but I was at a wedding in September and “Firework” by Katy Perry started playing on the dance floor.  The groom (who I carpooled with for 2 years every day) ran up to me and said “YOU!!!!” and then we started screaming the lyrics at the top of our lungs. You see, when this song first came out I was obsessed with it.  So much so that we would listen to it on repeat on my days to drive to work at 630AM as we would park the car. That song may have come and gone, but the memory of singing it at the top of my lungs with my friend on the way to work will always stick with me.  Or how at each wedding, some part of me dreads hearing “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz.  This song will inevitably pop up at every wedding because it is one of the sweetest songs ever.  But for me, it is no longer a romantic song that my friends had their first dance to.  It is the song that I listened to 10 months later as my friend danced with her father at her husband’s funeral.  It is the song that I held my friend in my arms and felt her break down in a way I never thought was possible.  Now, each wedding, no matter how happy I am – I go through a Pavlov’s dog experience where I hear the beginning and immediately am brought back to a place of sadness.  It’s both magical and terrifying the impact that music can have a on a person. Almost like how smells or a certain feeling can bring you right back to somewhere in the past.

Do you have any songs that do this for you?


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