Sunday, September 9, 2012

Song Memory Associations

I know we all have those songs which always put us in a certain time and place when we hear them. Other songs always make us think of certain things like people or foods. Well because I just listened to one such song which I hadn't heard in a while, I have this phenomenon on my mind at the moment. Therefore, I have concluded that I should write a post about some of those songs and what they make me think about when I hear them.


Happy? -by- Mudvayne

This one is easy to place why I think of it. Back when MySpace was a thing that human beings used to communicate, I made a profile on that site. Like most people, I decided it was important for anybody looking at my page to be forced to listen to music of my choice. This music video was the first such item I put on my page, so now every time I hear the song I picture the video and remember sitting at a friend's house creating my MySpace page.


I am the Highway -by- Audioslave

One of my all-time favorite songs. For the past few years I've found that every time I hear this I remember riding along in the back-left seat of my mom's Explorer with my head against the window. Rain was coming down in torrents outside, and I was listening to this song.


Rocket Ride -by- Edguy

Here is the song that is responsible for me writing this post. Every single time I hear this song, I spend the entire time thinking of The Brave Little Toaster. I never heard this song while watching the movie, or near the same time as far as I can recall. I think it's that the vocals in the chorus make me think of the weird song in the back room of the junk store from the movie, but I'm not really sure.


Shallow Bay -by- Breaking Benjamin

When I was first starting to find my way into newer music, Breaking Benjamin were a huge part of the process. I had never really listened to anything with even remotely explicit lyrics, though, so the chorus of this song was something I didn't feel comfortable playing around my parents or younger siblings. As such, it was a go-to song on my headphones or when out with friends, and now when I hear it I always remember a specific time riding around in Las Vegas with my best friends, looking for Chinese food and playing this song on the stereo.


Stack o' Lee Blues -by- Mississippi John Hurt

Another one of my all-time favorite songs, this track is remarkable for two reasons. One is that I can remember with absolute clarity the first time I heard it, and the other is that unlike most songs which have to work their way into my favorites over time, I fell in love with this song immediately. Consequently, every time I hear it now I remember the first time my dad played it for me, and I remember thinking as I heard it "this is now one of my favorite songs" which is something I have never done so abruptly at any point before or since.


When I Was Your Age -by- "Weird Al" Yankovic

This is a song that always makes me think of a particular person. I think we all know one of those older men who likes to tell stories about how ridiculously hard their life was back when they were young. In my case the individual in question (a family friend) was also the type who would go on about his various exploits at great length, crafting a life which Gulliver, Forrest Gump, and John Rambo all rolled into one would still fall short of even if they each lived to be 200 years old. Obviously, that person is who this song reminds me of.


No Woman, No Cry (Live) -by- Bob Marley

There was a period of time about 7-8 years ago when I listened to Bob Marley's compilation Legend pretty much non-stop. I still love that record, I still love this song, and I still play it periodically. It's tied strongly enough to that place in time, though, that I always think of our old back yard, pulling weeds while playing this on my Walkman. Later, my dad told me this song always reminds him of me, and now I also remember him saying that whenever I play this song.


 Cry My Name -by- Bloodbath

This one, which I may have mentioned before, always brings me back to the first time I moved out "on my own". I was living in an apartment in Las Vegas with my best friend, his older sister, and her two daughters. When I bought this record I began playing it a ton, and I'd even put it on to fall asleep to pretty regularly. As such, it always makes me remember laying in bed at night in that apartment. The same basic statement could actually be made about the entire album, but this song is one of the strongest in its association for some reason.


Mic Check -by- Rage Against the Machine

Several years ago, I rolled my car over with all three of my siblings inside with me. This was on the stereo at the time, and the last thing I can remember hearing was the chorus for this song before the thought "did I just kill us all?" started running through my head while I watched the ground coming toward the windshield in slow motion. It is not a pleasant memory, and since hearing anything by them always calls it back to my mind, I almost never listen to Rage Against the Machine any more.


Way to end on a bright note, eh?

There are plenty of other songs that bring me back to certain places or that remind me of certain things, but this collection features most of the prominent examples that have really specific associations for me. You'll probably notice the lack of metal songs, but that is mostly because the metal songs I've liked for long enough to bring me to a certain time or place all tend toward the same general time and the same basic places, so repeating dozens of trivial variations on that theme would be almost as boring for me as it would be for you.

I will say, though, that several songs always bring back strong specific memories of hearing them live in concert. For one reason or another, these songs really made a memorably good or bad impression live. Some of the most notable songs of this variety are: Simple Man by Shinedown, Take This Life by In Flames, The Jester Race by In Flames, The Pursuit of Vikings by Amon Amarth, Cry of the Black Birds by Amon Amarth, Blind by Korn, When Darkness Falls by Killswitch Engage, Pellonpekko by Korpiklaani, Hail to the Hammer by Týr, Pour que tu m'aimes encore by Celine Dion, and Through the Fire and Flames by Dragonforce.

See what I mean about how boring it would get? I'll stop now.


  1. Holy crap, you've posted a lot the last couple days. I love the new header. For a long time I've considered working on an actual logo for my site (I used to have scales of justice on there years ago) but have never gotten around to it.

    "Happy?" is one of the last good Mudvayne songs, or maybe it's just the last one that I could get into.

    For me, the album that immediately comes to mind with this topic is Baroness's Blue Record. I listened to that album on the way back home after we put my childhood dog to sleep, and I can't listen to it without thinking about that night. It was also the only time I've ever been in a car accident as the driver, because some tool (a) didn't think his stop sign applied to him and (b) froze up like a deer in headlights rather than taking evasive action. Needless to say the insurance companies decided he was 100% at fault. It was a pretty bad day for me, and as a result I don't listen to that superb album as much as I otherwise would.

    I can't say there's anything else that I listen to that immediately takes me to another time, though. There are associations, sure, but nothing else does it to me reliably like Blue Record.

    Come to think of it, if I heard "Mambo No. 5" I would probably go back to my high school journalism class darkroom days, but what are the odds of hearing that song again? Same goes for that song where Kid Rock re-jiggered "Sad But True," which would probably take me back to Denver in 2000 when my friends and I saw the Summer Sanitarium tour.

  2. Thanks. I spent a lot of time tweaking it to get it exactly how I wanted.

    I'm not much of an artist when it comes to actually drawing things, but if you just wanted a pure text logo would something like this do?