I love music. Probably more than anything else; it sets the moods for my days. It can lift my spirits, or curse me to tears. It can send me back down memory lane with only a couple chords, and sometimes those memories make me change the channel immediately or turn the volume up and have my own personal jam session with my brain. The following songs are just a few of these memory inducers. There certainly are countless ones.
I was sitting in this little cafe in Barcelona reading Cold Mountain and drinking some of the best cappuccinos I’ve ever had out of cute little coffee cups when the video for this song came on the TV. Her voice was mesmerizing and I just loved this song. Later that day, and continuing throughout the week, I would find myself in an internet cafe just a couple blocks from that same cafe, pulling up the video on Youtube while I checked my email and figured out future travel plans. It wasn’t until I arrived home that I discovered how much I love the rest of her music and pestered a certain Canadian friend to download it for me since it was not available in the US.
Amsterdam. That was an incredible city; an incredibly fun city. I first saw this music video while sitting in my hotel room on the second day there and continued to see it through my travels in random cafes and bars. While it doesn’t have any special, significant meaning, I will always think of coffee and sex shops, bad trips and wandering the red light district of Amsterdam.
Listen to the lyrics. You’ll thank me.
Now this is a loaded song. I love Coldplay, it’s not a very well-hidden secret. Back when I was dating a certain person, this became our song since we both had green eyes. The lyrics seemed to have spoken to us both. I don’t like associating songs with people but, in this case, the song reminds me of him and I’ve only just recently been able to listen to it without wanting to throw something. I remember, 6 months after we broke up, standing at the bar at the Hotel I worked at and the song came up on my friend’s iPod. I practically lunged across the bar to turn it off. I just couldn’t handle listening to it.
That may have been the fastest anyone there had ever seen me move for something that was not my glass of tequila.
Anyhow, it is an emotionally charged song and I doubt I’ll ever forget the memory attached to it. I have already lost the distinct memory of how it used to make me feel, how much hurt it would make me feel just upon hearing a few opening bars. It no longer pains me anymore, but it still pinches a little.
I am reminded of two distinct memories with this cheesy song. Maybe even three. The first was from my years at Michigan State. Steph and I were bored late one night and were just sitting around her dorm room, gossiping. Lionel came on and I guess we got up off our butts and started dancing, even pulling out the feather boas. The blind were open so I’m sure everyone could see our horribly uncoordinated dance moves but we didn’t care, we were getting into the groove with this one, we even singing along. It became our song, along with Air Supply’s All Out of Love.
Yeah, don’t ask.
The second memory stands out a bit more. It was from my time spent out in Montauk at the Hotel, back when I was a semi-alcoholic who had her very own seat at the bar. It was probably a Friday or Saturday night, the restaurant wasn’t terribly full but everyone, staff and chef included, happened to be gathered on the outside patio listening to a local singer who was friends with the GM sing. He started playing All Night Long and within minutes everyone was singing and dancing along. The entire restaurant was harmonizing and it was one of my favorite memories from that summer. This particular singer played it again, to the exact same reaction from everyone, at least a couple times. One evening he started playing She Talks to Angels by the Black Crowes and I remember one of the owners jumping up from his dinner party and running over to the bar, just so he could sit closer to the music and experience the music. I love when people can get that into music.
So when I saw Lionel play in April at Jazz Fest and he started singing All Night Long, I couldn’t help but dance and sing, lost in my memories and covered in mud.
It was summer about nine years ago and my best friend Kira and I were stuck in the mall parking lot after watching the fourth of July fireworks. It was jammed with cars so we rolled her Chevy Blazer’s windows down and blasted this song by Simon and Garfunkel. We’d been listening to this CD for the entire time we’d been in the car but for some reason, we decided giving my small town a concert was in order. We sang along, at the top of our lungs, to this song and had a blast doing it. We didn’t care we were off key (I sounded more like Garfunkel did at Jazz Fest when he had laryngitis, except I had no excuse.), or if people really didn’t need to hear our rendition of this song, we were completely enjoying this moment.
Another song we shared memories over was Country Roads by John Denver. We often took drives back into the country on the dirt roads that went through hay fields. We would sit on her car watching the sun cast it’s golden rays over the waving grass and listen to country music (her choice!) while we built our friendship that still stands strong today. This song would come on and we’d crank it up and sing in really bad southern accents until our voices were hoarse.
I really miss those days.
This happens to be a rather…inappropriate memory I guess you could say. It was March 2003 and I was at Michigan State for my last semester (which I was completely oblivious to at the time). War had been declared on Iraq and we were sitting around in stony silence in my friends Sarah and Andrea’s dorm room, watching TV waiting for the bombs to start dropping. None of us supported this war and we weren’t terribly happy about it but when the war became official and the attacks started, Sarah who was always one to help lighten the mood, turned up the volume on this song and the entire floor was engulfed in Outkast’s little song. Lighten the mood it did, since I believe a dance party in the hall started.
This is another MSU memory, one that brings me back to the football games at Spartan Stadium. I had season tickets the second year I was there and while we sucked and I resembled a frozen popsicle wearing green and white, they were pretty fun times with friends. AC/DC would welcome the players onto the field and get us all pumped up; it’s mainly the beginning of this song that holds much memory. It was also the one part of the game we weren’t depressed/disappointed/angry at our horrible football team. They had yet to screw up at this point!
It was September 11, 2009 and I was in Copenhagen. It was my last day there, my father and brother having just left on their train to the west coast of Denmark to catch their boat to Iceland. I was awaiting a midnight train up north so I could catch my boat to Norway and I had been wandering the city all day. I had had a run-in with architects protesting the cover up of 9/11 where I stopped them short from even saying a word to me, snippily hissing about how I was from New York AND an architect and not to talk to me.
Shortly after I wound up in a square with a fountain where a band was playing. I had heard them playing earlier in the trip and never had a chance to sit and listen. Live music is some of my favorite music, even if it’s just street musicians. I was sitting on the fountain when he started playing this song. It has been an absolute favorite of mine for many many years and it always has been an emotional experience. Not because of memories, but because of how haunting and beautiful a song it is. He did a beautiful version of it and I closed my eyes through the duration, totally absorbed in the moment.
He also played Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and everyone was singing along in the square. It was a great way to end my last night in Copenhagen and my first day of freedom as a solo traveler.
I was in Florence, Italy in June of 2006 and my feet were killing me from all the walking. My brother, a girl we had spent time with in Rome and then found again in Florence, and I had been out to a bar and were wandering our way back to our hostel, passing churches and other beautiful buildings and talking in length about solo travel and our mutual love of gelato. We ended up in this rather large piazza and there was a gypsy couple setting up their instruments. We decided to stop and take a listen, since there was already a large crowd gathered around them.
They sang this song and, enhanced by the acoustics of the stone buildings, it was one of the most strikingly beautiful performances I have ever heard. EVER. It touched my heart and by the end there was not a dry eye in the piazza, my own included. S&G performed this song at Jazz Fest but since Garfunkel had laryngitis you can imagine it was no match for a couple Italian Gypsies singing their hearts out to a song they probably couldn’t even understand the lyrics to that they were singing.
I have an odd collection of song-memories don’t I? This one is a silly memory from Spring Break 2002, when my friends Mark, Cathy and I took a road trip from Michigan State down to Panama City Beach in Florida. It had been a very, very long drive, spread out over the course of two days. On the second day, as we were rolling into Florida and could smell the salty air, could almost see the waves and the beaches, we were so delusionally happy to almost be done with this trip that we started putting on some really goofy eighties music. This song was the first choice and Cathy and I, much to Mark’s amusement, started singing and car dancing along to this song.
It was just the song we needed to gather the energy needed to run around for five days in a wild drunken haze.
And go on, you know you want to watch the video.
I was walking down 14th Street in Union Square with my Wifey when this guy, wearing iPod earbuds, burst into singing the first line of this song while pointing directly at us. It startled us and I think we probably jumped just a little bit and then burst out laughing. Now we can no longer hear this song without laughing and thinking of this exact moment.
I also will never be the same after watching this version of the video. Watch at your own risk. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. (surprisingly, the video I originally linked to is the LESS scary version of his outfit.)
My earliest memories are of dancing with my younger brother to this song in several living rooms in our many houses. My parents loved his album, Graceland, and always played it. The most memorable of these memories was when I lived in Dallas. We had our neighbors over who my parents were (and still are) close friends with, the girl my age also happened to be my best friend. We put this song on pretty loud and everyone, adults and children, danced around the large living room that was pretty bare of furniture thanks to the recent move. I remember dancing among the legs of my parents and my friend’s parents, dancing hand in hand and riding off the high produced by this song whenever it was played in my vicinity.
I may not be very musically inclined. I may not be able to play an instrument, I may not be able to sing, I may not be able to hear a beat and dance. All I know is that I love good music, especially good live music, and my day wouldn’t be complete without my tunes.