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Remember, remember, the…

December 28, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

It’s strange how music can bring back the strangest memories from my past. The memories of my past are generally pretty spotty at best. When I do remember events, at times they turn out to be dreams, not reality. (Ask me about that sometime…) Isn’t it strange then, that music of all things has the ability to make me remember?

A few days ago my dad found a number of old CDs we had lying around the house. Among them was a double CD called: “Mega Top 50 1995.” It boasts “De grootste hits uit de mega top 50 van 1995” which means: “The biggest hits from the top 50 from 1995.” It includes such well known hits as “Gansta’s Paradise” by Coolio, “Scatman,” by Scatman John, and “Kiss by a Rose,” by Seal. It also includes a number of Dutch songs I had not heard in ten years or more.

And yet, when I placed it in my CD drive and it started playing, I was instantly brought back in time. While listening to “Eternity” by Snap! a vision flashed through my mind of me falling asleep to that very song in my bed while still living on the “Jan van Houtkade” in Leiden.

This is not some distant memory, it’s quite vivid, and comes along with quite a powerful emotion. It’s quite difficult to explain, so I don’t think I’ll try. I will just say that I cannot believe I am the only one to have these flashes, so chances are you all know what I am talking about. Whether or not it happens to you with music, or with video, or some random object in the room I cannot guess, but I find it a fascinating phenomenon.

It got me thinking about some of the other songs that bring along these similar feelings. Whenever I listen to a few select Muse songs I remember playing World of Warcraft in my Sophomore year dorm with my roommate Ben, who would be listening to Opara-rock while he controlled his level 60 warlock. (Yes, this memory is that vivid.) I am sitting on my bed, he is sitting at his desk. I instantly also remember the way our room was set up.

Whenever I listen to AC/DC I recall riding on the right side of the bus going from my home in Brookline to my summer job at Harvard with my mother, while reading Isaac Asimov. This memory is especially strong when I listen to “Beth” by AC/DC.

These memories are nothing exceptional. Nothing important happened on these days, yet somehow these particular times in my life have been burned into my memory linked with these particular songs. Do you have experiences similar to these? I’d be interested to know what they are, and if they are in any way similar.


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