Music as Memory

Music, to me, is life.

It’s the color blue, it’s an atmospheric setting, a time-passer, a soul-wrencher. It’s for falling asleep, for long nights, for writing. There is music for every mood, thus, I have forty-six playlists on my Spotify–and I’m constantly adding more. Every few days, I get a new idea for a new playlist, and I listen to them all at regular intervals.

Perhaps I listen to music too much. When I’m cleaning, in the car, showering, walking down the street, walking, reading, packing, driving, etc., I am listening to music. I can’t stop. I’m always on the lookout for new music, but my favorites remain constant–NCT, Florence & the Machine, Richard Walters, Sleeping At Last, Day6, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, and so many more.

Music recommendations from Spotify, new albums and artists, weekly and daily discover playlists–anything I can get to discover new music. When I make a new playlist, I check the recommended songs for it to see if there’s anything new there, often finding at least a couple songs that resonate within me to add to the playlist.

“Rainy Days”, “Alternative Mood”, “L’appel du Vide”, “Remain Calm”, “Kpop”, “Washed Out”, “L.O.U.D”, “Temp Bops”, “Winter”, “Autumn”, “Spring Fever”, “Summer Vibes”. The playlist names are endless and varied, coming to me often as the inspiration for making a new playlist. I get a feeling and a title, and I match the songs in the playlist to both.

My favorite playlist, aside from my rotating one of new music, “Temp Bops”, is the “Reading” playlist. Every song there reminds me of a book, so when I listen to it again I am catapulted back to the world of that novel with a nostalgia so great it makes me want to re-read The Old Kingdom series, The BelgariadRanger’s Apprentice, everything by Paula Hawkins, Uprooted by Naomi Novak, The Empire’s Ghost by Isabelle Steiger, Holly Black’s entire library of works, and so on.

Music is memory for me.

Owl City’s song Rainbow Veins will forever remind me of Christmas when I was a kid, streetlights and Christmas decorations along the streets of Wytheville as I bundled up and rode to martial arts class with my family. Stand Up by the Prodigy is my freshman year of school at Belhaven University, walking from class to class with that song playing on repeat. Meet Me In the Woods by Lord Huron is the day my friend Trianne and I drove to the Delta of Mississippi for a day trip our senior year.

Some people rely on scents, on videos and pictures, vague recollections, but I consider music to be my time capsule–a sudden fall into nostalgia, where I remember things I had forgotten until I listened again to that song ten years later that reminded me of reading The Legend of Drizzt on a warm summer’s day with my windows open.


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