Music Memory

This is a pretty lazy post since it kinda echoes something I just posted on facebook, but I want to write about it somewhere that isn’t going to get eaten up and lost in a week or so.

So, every so often, I recall a song from my teens, and go looking for it. In this case, it was Symposium’s ‘Disappear’. I knew it was on some sort of compilation or mixtape back then, but I hadn’t remembered that it was on a Kerrang cover tape from about 1994/5 until I found a playlist of that tape by accident on YouTube.

SMACK instantly back into 14 year old me’s mind, and I was in Germany for the first time, on a school exchange trip, where I first fell in love with the country and language and where this tape was on my walkman.

It’s funny that this comes right after reading a bit in the book I’m reading about how music evokes memories unlike any other sensory stimulant, and how music you haven’t heard for a long, long time has a far more potent effect than a song you’ve heard a lot over the years. And how it’s down to the associated memories being watered down over time as you link other moments in time to that piece of music.

Which made sense anyway, but I’m kinda enjoying experiencing it now. I’ve recalled the Symposium track here and there, so I have more memory links to it now. It’s not as watered down as a lot of things I listen to, like a lot of Levellers stuff for example, but it certainly links to more periods in my life than the original one. But just playing that Runescape song and I’m back on a coach in Germany, tired as hell, headphones in, almost dozing off. There was this German punk kid in combats and chains who knew my exchange partner, and 14 year old me obviously had a huge crush.

It’s been 21 years since I last heard that song, and I wouldn’t ever even have recalled it if I hadn’t found it again by chance. Those memories which have surfaced so rapidly now were buried deep, and without the music, I wouldn’t have recalled them.

If I heard these songs now, I doubt I’d give them a second thought. My taste in music has changed and developed so much over the years. But because they have this huge memory link for me, these songs that are so far removed from what I tend to love now, retain a huge emotional connection.