What do the songs Promiscuous Girl (Nelly Furtado & Timbaland), Under Cover Of Darkness (The Strokes), Wishing Well (Airborne Toxic Event), and When The Night Feels My Song (Bedouin Soundclash) all have in common?
Well, aside from them all being fantastic(ish?) songs in their own right, they all are songs that have had their meaning transformed through their placement in specific moments in my life.
Wait—let me rephrase that.
They have been elevated from being just songs to becoming memory triggers for meaningful people and moments in my life.
Have you ever seen a Tarantino movie? You can’t hear “Cat People (Putting out Fire)” without thinking of that scene in Inglorious Basterds or “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon” without thinking of Mrs. Mia Wallace dancing in her living room in Pulp Fiction.
It seems to me that the reason that the songs I mentioned in the intro are so meaningful to me is that they are very specific to moments I cherish, and that I cannot hear the song without thinking of the memory; they have become intrinsically intertwined.
For instance, hearing When The Night Feels My Song brings me back to sitting on a rock by a riverbank in Bern, listening to Canadian music, and experiencing a brief moment of homesickness.
That was in 2012. Over 5 years ago.
Why do I still remember that? I still remember that moment, because it reminded me that it is okay to miss your home; it was a moment of shared fragility between me and my travelling companion set amidst a musical backdrop. I cherish that moment, because it taught me far more about myself and what I can feel while travelling than I can explain here.
It taught me about the solitude and growth that—for me—seem to belong hand in hand.
When I hear the song Under Cover Of Darkness, I clearly remember the crazed, ridiculous amp-ing up with Paige while driving to the Fernie ski hill. We both tried singing every instrument; every part of the song simultaneously. This obviously devolves into a laughter filled mess, but it is a memory I cherish oh so dearly. No deep lessons, just a good time with a fantastic human being that I remember every time I hear the song.
Wishing Well and Promiscuous Girl have their own special place in my heart and memories as well, and I am sure that you have your own songs that you can think of that trigger memories of cherished moments, whether happy or otherwise.
So where am I going with this?
Well I think what I’m realizing while working my way through writing this is that memories exist for YOU. The experiences that you have in your life and the lessons learned from them are most important to YOU, as are the associations that have been created with them matter for YOU.
Hold onto the good things; hold onto the bad things.
You don’t need to dwell on the past memories, but you will always have them and can learn from them. I really think that these triggers can be good ways to bring them back. For me, these songs (and many others) are how I remember them. For you, it may be a picture that you took, or a shitty memento/souvenir that you bought that means far more to you than it could to anyone else in your life. (Fun fact: I collected about 30 paper coasters while backpacking Europe)
If there’s one thing I think there is to take away from this, it is this:
Make memories for yourself and give yourself real reminders of them. Take a picture; write a note in your journal; listen to a song. Do something meaningful and intentional in the moment or with the people you are with to remind yourself down the road of the experience.
Actually I lied. There’s a second lesson to take from this:
Never be afraid to play some music! You never know what it will mean one day.
Thanks for reading, folks! This is the last blog post of 2017, and the last post I’ll be writing from Canada for quite some time. Adventure awaits in Australia! See ya on the flip side (of the world).
Also as usual, here’s some super rad songs I’ve been jamming to lately that you may enjoy as well! (as if this post already didn’t have a ton of rad songs…)