There’s a quote from Cornelia Funke’s novel Inkheart that talks about book, which also holds true for music, at least in my opinion.
If you take a book with you on a journey,…an odd thing happens: The book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it. It will all come into your mind with the very first words: the sights you saw in that place, what it smelled like, the ice cream you ate while you were reading it…yes, books are like flypaper–memories cling to the printed page better than anything else.
In fact, music can trigger more memories than books with me. Songs can bring back everything in vivid detail, where I was when I heard it, what I was doing and how I felt. A few songs that bring back such memories are…
1) Sweet Caroline. This one never fails to make me smile. This song means “Tyson and Krista,” just as it means the Boston Red Sox. It seemed to follow us last summer, from a game at Fenway Park to a Boston Pops concert to the Fourth of July and even the firemen’s ball last fall. Okay, so it’s an incredibly common song and just about everyone knows it. But it’s our song.
2) Kiss Me (Sixpence None the Richer). This is the song a dreamy 20 year old listened to over and over. It means vacationing in the White Mountains and a swallowtail butterfly flying into the open window of a van while cruising down the highway. Lots of dreaming and scribbling in a notebook was done to this song, lots of wonderings and what-ifs.
3) London (Brandon Heath). I listened to this song on my iPod constantly while visiting London, England in November of 2008. The song is by an American and talks about how he misses his girl back home:
My train pulled in to Waterloo/found myself wishing you were here with me/in London/standing on the river Thames/taking photographs of Parliament and old Big Ben is ringing/You know, it’s everything that I imagined it would be/I had no idea that it would feel so empty/Where are you tonight while I stand here and cry?/Watching double decker buses pass me by…
That was two months before Ty asked me out on a date. I was in London, back in the place I had fallen in love with two years earlier; this time, however, I was lonely and wondering if I’d ever have someone to miss. Believe it or not, I had to keep myself from thinking about him during that trip and found reminders of him even in Bath (just ask Elisabeth Allen!). It’s a sweet memory tied to this song in retrospect, but it felt very poignant at the time. Today, when I hear that song, I’m back in London, that place I love, missing someone, but at the same time, missing it. I don’t think I’ll have a chance to visit it again, but this song will always remind me of a city I fell in love with.
4) Life is Beautiful (Michelle Tumes). As a teenager, this is one song that ran through my mind the most. I wanted so much to be that girl in the song and found myself singing, in spite of the not-so-fun and awkward teenage years, that life was beautiful. And you know what? In spite of the awkward teenage years (all gangly and goofy with braces), life was beautiful in its own beautiful way.