There’s a popular country song right now that proclaims, “Funny how a melody / sounds like a memory,” and every time I hear it I can’t help but think how true it is. Certain songs are so strongly associated with eras of my life that when I hear them I’m immediately taken back to a time, a place, an emotion.

Anything that was popular during the summer of 2001, for example, puts me in the lobby of the crummy dorm at Ole Miss where they housed us for nerd camp (let’s not talk about where the cheerleading camp girls got to live. No, we weren’t bitter…) watching TRL on MTV every afternoon. Here’s a gratuitous *NSYNC video to set the tone.

You’re welcome.

On my way to work the other day, I heard a Maroon 5 song that I hadn’t heard in years, and I was immediately reminded of my months getting ready to head off to MSMS. I think I was nervous about living with a roommate for the first time, and I remember making cute posters for our walls with paint pens, one of which contained the lyrics, “It’s not always rainbows and butterflies / It’s compromise that moves us along.” (P.S. Those are great lyrics to remember for, like, you know, marriage, and life, too!)

I could come up with so many more, but I’ll stop there for now. I know I’m not the first to have this revelation, and I won’t be the last (I mean, there’s even a song about the power of songs!) What is it about music that has such a power to evoke this intense nostalgia? Songs can dredge people and events out of my subconscious that I never would have remembered or thought of on my own. It’s a beautiful and wonderful (and sometimes sad) feeling to be reminded so vividly.

Does music have this pull on you? What songs take you back?

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman