Air Band, Neon, and Giggles: The Link Between Music and Memory

August 10, 2013

I have a confession to make:

I hate radio.

Not music – I love music. My life has a running soundtrack that plays in my head. And, okay, quite often breaks out of my head in spontaneous bursts of song. But regardless of station, here are some reasons I can no longer tolerate radio:

1. Advertising. It’s annoying.

2. DJs. Their application of the English language is casual, and I have the soul of an editor.

3. The music. When they actually get around to playing some, half of it is so bad (to me) that my dashboard is in danger of perforation, so forcefully do I stab the preset buttons to evade it.

These things didn’t used to bother me so much; it appears I’m getting crotchety in my old age.

It’s a rare occasion these days when I listen to anything other than the iPod. Most of these rare occasions occur when I’m in someone else’s car. Like last night, for instance, when the upside of radio suddenly occurred to me.

Occasionally, a song comes on that I don’t own and haven’t heard in years, which will instantly transport me into my own past with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. And often giggles.

back to the 80s

Music is my DeLorean
Image via bablu121 at Flickr Commons

Take last night. I’m on my way to a wedding and what do I hear? “I Think We’re Alone Now,” by Tiffany, a song I’m mildly embarrassed to discover I still remember all the words to. A song which assailed me with the memory of 1988, and neon bicycle shorts, and several hours of air-band practice in the basement of a friend I still exchange letters with.

And then, as we drove home, came Bon Jovi‘s “Living on a Prayer.” To me, Bon Jovi will forever and always mean high school, when “Lay Your Hands On Me” seemed to be playing everywhere my (futile) crush and I happened to be, practically becoming my twelfth-grade theme song. For the dirty-minded among you, I’ll point out I do not mean this literally. I was that ridiculously well-behaved (boring) child who didn’t even taste alcohol until after she’d graduated university (I have witnesses).

Have you noticed the same link between music and memory? What songs immediately remind you of your good-old-days, whenever they might have been? Come on people – if I can cop to air band and neon bicycle shorts, a little reciprocity is only fair!

4 Comments on ‘Air Band, Neon, and Giggles: The Link Between Music and Memory’

  1. Yes! The music from the ’80s does that to me, too. I also see the songs’ videos in my head thanks to way too many hours of watching MTV–you know, back when MTV was all about the music.

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    1. I am spared the videos, because I never watched MTV. Although if they are anything like the video Hugh Grant does at the beginning of Music and Lyrics, I may have missed out!

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  2. I’m the opposite – I love radio and would chose it over television any day. However, I only listen to CBC radio and not commercial. We only get a couple of radio stations here, and we don’t even get Radio 2 or Radio 3. Just CBC Radio 1, but that’s all I need. And I grew up before MTV and still don’t watch music videos. They just don’t interest me. But “Ideas” and “Tapestry” and “Age of Persuasion” will keep me going for hours and hours and hours!

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    1. Oooh, Tapestry. I love Carol King! That’s one of the albums I pull out when I need soothing.

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