Songs are one of the strongest memory conveyors for me. I know that scientifically the human sense of smell is the closest link in our brain with memory, but for someone like me who breathes and lives in music, a song isn’t just a mere combination of sounds and words that you hear on the radio. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I listened to the radio.
Driving home at 5am from the airport, I plugged my iPod into the car speakers, and put my driving playlist on shuffle. It’s named “Y Control” after one of my favourite Yeah Yeah Yeahs songs, and to be honest, I can’t remember why it’s titled that way; ambiguity, perhaps? The playlist is mostly comprised of my favourite songs to sing along to – the songs I’ve loved, year in, year out, phase after phase, trend after trend – the type of songs that you fell in love with years ago by accident, and you still love them even if you no longer obsess over the genre. What struck me like a cold slap in the face as tears streamed down my cheeks was the shock of how much some songs meant to me. More than that, how much what each song represented, meant to me. I am young, and my feelings are raw, perhaps this is an overwhelming feeling of epiphany never to occur again in life. Whatever it is, it hurt me like hell.
People say nostalgia is a good and bad thing, but regardless, that bitter-sweetness is what makes it so tantalising. You can’t get enough of it. You’ll remember your first live concert, you’ll remember your first time drunk, you’ll remember these events not so much by the details such as what actually happened, but the circumstances surrounding – the company you had, the music, the sweat, and either the euphoric happiness of elation, or the deep gut feeling of utter disappointment.
I remember periods of my life, and the people that shared those periods with me, through particular songs. These are the songs of my teenage years, and the people they belong to.