Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a profound connection to music – I’ve hardly met people who don’t. I’d even venture that while many people listen to their favorite genres based on aesthetic appeal, one’s affinity for particular artists and songs come from the deep, soulful intersection of experience, emotion, and expression. If you’re anything like me, there are several tracks that you will never take off of your iPod or phone (even if you’re low on storage) just because, like a good friend, those particular capsules of memory retain a special part of your story. Perhaps they remind you of what you’ve once experienced. Maybe they still inspire you today, or more sadistically, a song might harken back to a specific place or person you never want to be again.
Here are three songs that encapsulate bits of my story:
Bloc Party: “So Here We Are”
I’m not sure if anyone can listen to this song without being overcome with a sense of excitement or anxiousness. Its melodic, repetitive drive and cool vocals, in consonance with its iterative drum beat, builds up into high pitched shouts of “I figured it out.” I’ve consistently played this song during times of excitement right before major events of my life: graduations, first days at the job, first dates, big moves, etc. There’s a tinge of the dramatic in the song’s thoroughly expectant drive which has always prepared me, and probably will always prepare me, for the next big thing.
Correatown: “Everything, All at Once”
This song is a serious sepia-toned nostalgia-fest. Correatown’s layered vocalist lulls you into a blurry dream of everyone you’ve ever loved, while its steady guitar riffs and subtle synth remind you of how much you miss them. I remember listening to this song on repeat before my move up to Vancouver in 2012. It was a time of great anticipation and uncertainty in that pursing graduate school meant leaving my community for an unspecified amount of time. The last line of the song continued to turn within my mind until I left for the airport: “Well, maybe everything you want is right here.” It wasn’t true.
Pavement: Gold Soundz
Pavement is, to me, one of the great lords of lo-fi. I’ve always had an appreciation for the eclectic nature of their instrumentation and vocal haphazardness, which always reminds me of the carelessness of endless summers as a child. I remember playing this song as the informal DJ of a sunny backyard BBQ in Portland, in the middle of a road trip with old high school friends last summer. The two minutes and forty seconds of this song bathed us in a perfect, lazy lightness as we lied around a pool with empty wine glasses and full hearts.
Photo (Flickr CC) by Nanagyei.