Musical Memory

Day’s Verse:
The Lord has looked down from heaven…to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.
Psalm 14:2-3

Have you noticed how certain music can recall certain events to mind strongly? Certain songs seem to have this power to draw me into a reverie of remembrance, often of bittersweet events. For instance:

  • Hearing Jars of Clay’s disc Who We Are Instead, particularly the song “Only Alive,” brings back a vivid memory of wearing a sweater Ian left behind when he went to London. I was sitting on the floor hugging myself, listening to that song over and over, unable to stop crying. Much of Ian’s tenure in London I listened to that Jars of Clay CD and now I can’t hear it without thinking of that seven weeks.
  • Hampton String Qartet’s HSQ Rides Again irrevocably conjures up the feelings and images of myself sitting in our apartment here A-term doing Calculus I problems. I just kept doing problems, sitting in that wooden chair, hunched over the table, papers strewn all over, HSQ playing on repeat until I memorized every nuance of every song.
  • Certain classical songs, particularly Pachelbel’s Canon, bring to mind laying sick on our old couch at home, wrapped in an enormously hideous but warm quilt. Mom always played “green music,” thus named because of the green CD cover, to help us calm down and feel soothed when we were ill.
  • Nearly all techno music makes me remember my Freshman year in college when I really got into that type of music. I listened to it constantly sitting at my desk, that typical college furniture, wedged between the wall and our mini-fridge. One song, Ferry Corsten’s “Be As One,” makes me think of a guy I got to know well that year, then lost all contact with the next year. We spent so much time together that first year – I did with several people – I felt sure our friendships would never end. That’s when I learned that moving two miles away put too much stress on those tenuous bonds, and that college friendships often mean less than a fall leaf’s blowing in the wind.

Those are some things certain music makes me think of. Do you have any particular music associated with certain events? Continue Reading >>