Music to My Memory

Bonnaroo08_jackjohnson2_lg.jpg

Music has been with me during many of the important moments in my life.  During certain times, I listen to groups of songs on repeat because they make feel good during whatever is going on in my life.  Happy songs often accompany times of joy, just as comforting tunes carry me through hardship. For this week, I compiled a list of songs or albums that have accompanied me during particularly dominant memories in my life.

Vister by The Dodos

This album marks one of my rougher breakups.  It’s an album that I can listen to from start to finish.  And then do it again.  When I came to listen to the album in the wake of the relationship, I was holding onto something that had long gone.  In this vain, I hung onto lyrics in the opening song “Walking”.  The singer laments, “Man, I’ve been wasting so much time walking the same street every night.  Don't you think it’s about time?”  This awakened in me the sense that I have to let go in order to move on.  From here, the album touches on sentiments of love gained, love lost, optimism and pessimism.  My personal favorite is “The Season” which sounds to me like a mountain trail foot race through a jungle in slow motion.  Crazy, I know.  But there are bongos and chimpanzee-like screaming.  The album offered me catharsis and a sense of closure.

“The General” by Dispach

“If you all memorize all the lyrics, you get free swim.”  The sun beat down on 20 some 12-year old campers eager to play at will rather than run swimming drills during waterfront period at summer camp.  I’m one of them.  And Nathan, the water front director, just made us an offer that we couldn’t refuse.  We had waterfront next period, and if we were able to memorize all the lyrics to one of his favorite songs, we could run wild in the water.  I remember frantically running barefoot over brown mulch back to bunk where we would plug his iPod into the nearest set of speakers.  By the beginning of the period, only Sam Finkleman had memorized the lyrics.  Being the man, Nathan gave us all free swim anyway.  Now, whenever I hear this folk rock classic, memories of white sand, blue lake water and red sunburn flood my mind.

In Between Dreams by Jack Johnson

One of my close family members went through some years of illness in the latter part of my high school career.  It was rough, and I was worried for my loved one to get better.  I remember a specific day on vacation with my family in Maine where I got some disheartening news.  Unsure whether I would spend the New Year with this person, I remember resigning to my bedroom in the house, and plugging into In Between Dreams.  The silky guitar, smooth vocals and light bongo drums wrapped me in a cocoon of comfort.  Besides “Banana Pancakes”, Jack Johnson actually spends a lot of time critiquing society on this album.  However, despite the often pointed lyrics, the sound provided warmth.  I still listen to the album today whenever I want to feel like everything is right in the world.

“November 18th” by Drake

Summer 2010.  The middle aged, silver Saturn Ion car I’m in is stocked with my best friends.  The roll-down windows are wide open, and humid air is flooding the car.  I’m sitting in the passenger seat on a cloth seat, looking out to my right down a straight dark road spotted by traffic lights.  We’re each bopping to the song, basking in the glory that is freedom from responsibility.  Many nights that summer felt like this at one point or another.  My friends bonded over music.  We bumped music, drove around town, and followed the flow of the night.  For whatever reason, this bass heavy, deep voiced rap tune brings me back to these times most.  It puts me in the mood to ride with the good times, slow down, and take a look around at the cool things happening around you.