Music seems to have a special place in memory. Like that stew that wafts down from a high-rise as you walk past, transforming you into a six-year-old at your grandmother’s table, a song can “take you back” at a moment’s notice. The songs that stand out in my memory are not necessarily my favourites, now or at the time, though some of them have stood the test of time. One thing they all have in common is that I heard them, often repeatedly, during highly emotional times in my life.
The Watchmen, “Absolutely Anytime” (2001)
On Remembrance Day, November 11, 2001, Ceej and I spent the early morning in the foggy parking lot of Casa Loma in Toronto waiting for them to open the doors to the The Lord of the Rings exhibit. We stood for a moment of silence under the stained glass dome roof of The Great Hall while in line to see The One Ring for the first time. Waiting to see a movie in the Lebaron at the Square One Cineplex, we listened to the freshly purchased Watchmen 2-disc “Slomotion” (Fastforward and Rewind, a best of). We had rose-coloured glasses on all day and maybe thought a little more of “Life As A House” than the movie deserved.
Noteable mentions: No Longer Mine, I Like It, Soft Parade, oh hell, the whole album.
The Darkness, “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” (2003)
This little number was on repeat at the house in Victoria, on, I believe, a mixed tape of all things. The song and the band grew on me throughout my visit to CJ’s home in BC. I met a lot of new people over the course of the week and took in even more new music. It was strange to be just a visitor in your new life and I definitely did not feel permanent. All part of life’s ebb and flow.
Kelly Clarkson, “Since U Been Gone” (2004)
I apologize. I know you’ve probably already got the screaming anthem playing over and over again in your head (“yeah, yeah”). This song was everywhere in late ’04 and early ’05, including the Dominican Republic. Ceej and I had finally arrived for our six-month belated honeymoon in February of 2005 and Kelly was belting it out from every speaker and screen within earshot all week long. We were emotionally and physically exhausted during a period of immense change in our lives and somehow this song is what stands out when I look back after all these years.
Paul McCartney, “Riding to Vanity Fair”(2005)
This CD was on repeat in the Sunfire all the way to Philedelphia and back in October 2005 (16 hours round trip). The visit with CJ’s uncle Dwight and aunt Sherry is marked in our histories and imprinted with McCartney’s “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard.” In a strange twist of events I tried (choked on) Irish Fire Whiskey out of a clay gourd, met Bradford How, a surprise friend of Dwight’s, and made some ties to family.
Bon Iver, “Calgary” (2011)
Bon Iver’s second album was released June 21, 2011, the day I left for Edinburgh. I listened to this song for the first time over the Atlantic and the whole album on repeat as the soundtrack to many vistas and misty walks. I will also note that this is the first song on this list for which no CD was ever purchased. When I hear it I feel like I’m back on the cobblestones trying to keep the constant mist from messing up my hair and smiling all the way.
Which songs stand out in your memory?