Music-Induced Nostalgia

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Let’s face it: Our memories suck. A lot of us can’t remember where the last place we went out to dinner was, much less remember that family vacation to Seattle from three years ago. Although, we have seemed to patch this flaw in our brains with photography. A trip to the beach, an engagement, a kid’s soccer game — by taking a photo we can choose whatever experience we want to be packaged for future nostalgia.

But most of the time, nostalgia isn’t that forced. Memories arbitrarily get created. When I taste Nutella, I think of the breakfast made by my German host family in high school. When I smell wood burning, I think of summers spent at bonfires in Michigan. Sometimes when I touch a soccer ball I remember how bad I am at sports.

How does this relate to music? Think about a favorite song of yours that you haven’t heard in a while. A rush of nostalgia will probably bubble up, and it could even be runnething over depending on how long it’s beenThere is so much music available now, that no favorite song should ever go neglected for long. But with the amount of music being shoved down our throats, that doesn’t always go as planned. Most songs will get consistently played for a small window until new ones wash them away. Those forgotten songs will be resurfaced later, and they will be associated with memories that your brain saved for you—a tip of the hat from the experiencing self to the remembering self.

As I listened to my Spotify-curated-year-recap playlist, I began to feel some of those memories from 2016 and I started jotting them down.

Basketballs and Bicycle Rides

“Parking Lot” – Anderson Paak, Malibu

Last summer as I started working at SpringCM, I joined the company all-sports team. We played a different sport against a new team every week. If anyone was counting, we lost every game. And yeah, people were counting. The league even sent out power rankings every week, summarizing each team’s week. Here’s the excerpt from Week 3:

Team SpringCM – Currently tied for 15th with 0 points.

Their last two games have been against two of the four undefeated teams… That’s rough. Especially in their first few weeks in the league. They are going to be searching for win #1 against Team McNichols during Flag Football in week 4.  This is a very important week for them… They are tied with a few reams at the bottom of the standings… A win keeps pace with the winner of that game, and will also leapfrog a few teams… This can really change everything for them if they grab a W on Monday night.

Thanks. That was very encouraging, but I’m not gonna lie while reading that I couldn’t help but feel a bit patronized.

After we got mercied in basketball, it was a warm night so I used Chicago’s bike sharing service to return home. I turned my Spotify to Anderson Paak’s Malibu, and my back to the Sears Tower to head north. There weren’t many cars out, so I was free to hog the road and let the summer air cool me down. After passing one townhome after another, I approached a park with a little league baseball game playing under the lights. I turned onto Addison and came up at Wrigley Field, where those little leaguers would later watch the Cubs win their first World Series in 108 years.

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Megamit at Wrigley Field

I had already been living in Chicago for a year, but this ride was one of those moments when I absorbed in everything as if I were experiencing the city for the first time. I think a lot of that can be accredited to Mr. Paak’s smooth voice in my headphones, but maybe I was just in shock from the bad basketball that had been played.

Lollapalooza

“You Were Right” – Rufus Du Sol, Bloom

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Rufus Du Sol performing at Lollapalooza

In an ambitious move, I elected for a four-day lollapalooza pass this year. I bought it with my roommate, Connor, and he had friends come into town so we had a pretty large crew to go with. The festival itself is obviously the centerpiece, however, the hidden experience lies in studying the performing acts to filter out who to see. Rufus Du Sol, the Aussie Indie-Dance band, was an artist I had unearthed from the lineup.

As one would expect, Lollapalooza can get pretty chaotic. The people you’re with want to see different shows and mix in a little rain, lack of cell service, and alcohol—thanks to your friends sneaking in a 5-liter bag of wine in—and you find yourself flying solo to see some artists. It’s not any worse that way, though. I could even make an argument that it’s better. Luckily, Connor is like 8 feet tall so if I ever wanna meet back up, I’ll just look up and see a familiar tall guy in a bucket hat.

This show was one of those solo missions and I had a really great time. So yeah, if you ever go to a music festival, do some research on the lesser-known acts and go see them at their smaller, more personal, stages. You’ll probably enjoy it, maybe even more than your favorite headlining artist.

Dual Wielding TVs

“Feel No Ways” – Drake, Views

A bit about Drake first: If you were to ask me about Drake in 2010—back when you had to sift through Drake Bell results when googling ‘Drake’—I would have said he’s my favorite rapper. Fast forward seven years, and I have mixed feelings. He raps bars like “Turn the 6 upside-down that’s a 9, now”, which isn’t in the least bit clever, but people still eat it up. And then he crafts songs like “Feel No Ways”, and I’m back to sharing the sentiment with my junior-year-in-highschool self.

Anyway, one rainy Sunday this Spring, my roommates and I were in the living room listening to Drake’s new album when we noticed something. Above our 55” TV, there was a spot for another 55” TV. It started out as an innocent joke. The more we talked about it, the more we convinced ourselves that it was a good idea. “Just think of all of the times we would watch five MLB games at once.”, we reasoned. After a few hours of planning and a trip to BestBuy, that once-hypothetical idea blossomed into a very real thing on our wall.

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I honestly don’t think I can ever turn back from the two television experience. Of course, life doesn’t always present us with two interesting pieces of content to watch. In that case, we pick one of the TVs to fire up a video stream of a burning fireplace (until it gets too hot in the room)

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88 thoughts on Music-Induced Nostalgia

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