Music Defines Our Memories

Like NPR, baseball games, or podcasts, music has a reputation as something you listen to while doing something else. Driving. House cleaning. Barbecuing. Exercising. But is that fair? Should music only be relegated to background status? My personal opinion is no, it should not, but it’s not always easy to take time to listen to music. Hearing everything that a musical composition has to offer. Poring over the lyrics. Studying the production. Analyzing the instruments used and the musicianship that went into that composition. I used to do this all the time when I was younger. When I had less adult responsibilities and more free time to just lay on my bed in my room and listen. I want to do that again and I want this site to be an avenue not only for my own ruminations on a particular song or album, but also a way to document the interwoven memories I have associated with the music I love.

Good music, or any music for that matter, has a unique way of becoming interwoven with our memories under the right circumstances. A Memorable Event + a Memorable Song heard by the event’s participant(s) = a meaningful soundtrack to that event that can’t be unheard. The next time that person hears the Memorable Song, it’s very likely that the Memorable Event will enter that person’s mind, even if only briefly. Most of us have experienced this phenomenon untold times but we don’t really register how, why or even care.

American Bandstand’s Dick Clark is quoted as saying “Music is the soundtrack to our lives” and that’s very true but the function of music in our lives can be more meaningful and significant than that. Music has the ability to define our memories if we subconsciously allow it. Music lovers will oftentimes do this without thought. We hear the music, we register it as a positive or negative experience and we apply it to whatever moment (memorable or mundane) that is occurring at the time. I can apply a memory to almost every single song or album in my own personal collection and as someone who’s collection contains approximately 21,000 songs between vinyl, cassette, CD and MP3 formats, that’s a lot of memories. I better get started before I lose track of them to time.