Music Memory Musings

11 Oct

I’ve been working on a new mix tonight – for Deb, whose birthday is tomorrow and who was recently certified to teach yoga (go Deb!) Anyway, I’m attempting to make an appropriate mix for her to play during her classes, and it dawned on me that it’s always these moments – when I inadvertently double-click on a song that hasn’t been double-clicked on in months, or even years, as in the case of this evening – that I’m struck by just how much music can really impact your emotional, mental and physical states.

Side note: I saw Jack White in Columbus on Monday, and man-oh-man was that show just phenomenal. It made me miss listening to The White Stripes, which I haven’t really done in some time, and which I started doing again almost immediately after returning home on Monday evening. I had a silly-serious chat with a coworker about how seeing an artist live can really impact your perspective of them (obvs), and in my case, whether the show is good or bad, I always leave loving the musician(s) just that much more. I guess it’s one part charisma, one part “Jenny quirk.” OK, end of the side note…

Anyway, back to my mix-making, and where this led my thoughts… I played a Death Cab for Cutie song (Summer Skin) that I haven’t listened to in years. I actually haven’t listened to much Death Cab at all since ohhh maybe 2007, so this fact isn’t that surprising… but the song immediately made me think of a wonderful, almost surreal, moment in my life:

I was sitting in the front passenger seat of a car cruising down the left side of some English freeway, on my way from London to Brighton. It was the spring (probably May) of 2006, and I was simultaneously the exact same person I am today and someone that I cannot, via memory, even recognize. I was en route with someone who, at the time, meant very much to me, and he was telling me all about the town where he went to university. Then he asked me to swap his iPod for mine (he was likely playing the Stone Roses), and I chose to play the album Plans, which had recently been released. I was really into it when I left for London, but as studying abroad tends to do, I had become quite “worldly” in the last few weeks, and was immediately aware how silly the songs sounded. Especially Crooked Teeth, which at the time was my favorite. My copilot was kind, and gave me a sort of “oh that’s not really my type of music” response, and while I didn’t feel insecure, per se, I did, for a fleeting moment, feel so, so American. I quickly changed playlists.

Aside from my coolness mishap on the ride down, that day in Brighton was such a happy experience. The town was charming, and we ate at a restaurant that sat us out back under an umbrella, despite that fact that it was so obviously going to rain. I remember my peas literally flying off of my plate as we scurried inside when the inevitable downpour came.

We sat on the Brighton beach for what seemed like hours that day, and took this absurd picture of our feet that I’m sure I’ve lost by now. We left town around 9 p.m. (I was fast asleep when we pulled up outside of my flat near midnight), but not before I gathered some of the polished smooth stones that take the place of sand on the beach. They still sit on my windowsill in my office.

I saw this friend again in the fall of 2010, when I was in an entirely different place (figuratively and literally), and he bought me a drink for my 25th, which put me over the edge. Soon after, Stef, Jean, Mar and I ended up in a late-night London grocery store, purchasing huge bottles of water and talking about the Buckeyes with some British dude who “knew about Ohio.”

There’s really no point to this post except for that fact that, wow, memories are really something, aren’t’ they? My life as it stands right now is divided into kind of a “pre” and “post,” and this memory from Brighton is one of my favorites from the “pre” era. And isn’t it just so odd that one night in April 2006, after my pals and I snuck into a club that so obviously didn’t want us there, I met someone that I would spend 30 minutes thinking about on a Thursday night in the fall of 2012? Life is just weird, basically. A weird mix of weird people doing weird things and sometimes meeting one another. Ah, the universe.

I think I’ve come across more melancholy than I would have liked, but I also don’t think I’ll edit this down… this is what listening to “Summer Skin” made me think about tonight, so this is what you get.

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