Recently I have found myself revisiting some albums I listened to in middle school. I realized that because I have not listened
to these songs in literal years they evoke very specific memories. This is interesting to me because they evoke much stronger memories than
some of my favorites that have remained in listening rotation for years. I figure it's because our favorite artists and songs become associated
with such a wide array of memories, by the nature of us listening to them in so many different contexts, so they are less likely to evoke a specific memory.
Below are some examples that stick out to me in particular, and if you're interested a Spotify playlist of the songs can be found here.
18th Floor Balcony - Blue October
My bedroom back when I lived Frederick, MD. It must have been 2007? I don't know why this sticks out in my head, but I remember distinctly
listening to this song (and the secret song "It's Just Me" that followed, which unfortunately does not exist on Spotify) in bed with a pillow over my head.
This strange memory is what motivated me to write a little on this topic. I wonder what details I am forgetting? Why do I remember specifically having a pillow over my head? Maybe this memory was important to me
at some point.
Hand Covers Bruise - Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Anne Arundel Mall movie theater in 2010, seeing The Social Network that begins with this song after an opening scene of
the Zucc getting dumped by his then girlfriend. I remember I was in the middle-left side of the theater for some reason.
The descending piano line never fails to remind me of watching that opening scene in the theater, and the (what I assume is a Swarmatron)
dissonant drone that follows really sets the tone of the film perfectly.
In Remission - The Menzingers
Working on a math problem set in the Wendell Hall first floor "study room," which amounted to a walk in closet with a window. It was late 2015 or early 2016, and I remember specifically
it was right after a big snowstorm so there was a very particular aesthetic of Princeton's campus blanketed in snow. I remember the line "If everybody needs a crutch then I need a wheelchair"
resonating with me as I struggled with feelings of inadequacy as I was beginning college (okay, actually all throughout college, and also as full time worker... and also kind of now, but y'know it's getting better).
Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will - Mogwai
Lewis Library at Princeton. 2016-2019. I don't know why but I always ended up listening to this album when I studied in Lewis Library.
The Child We Lost in 1963 - La Dispute
My bedroom in Denton, MD in 2014. At the time my bedroom was actually a living room right by the front entry of the house that we converted into a bedroom.
I know this album came out in March of 2014, but I distinctly associate this album with the cold grey of winter.
It was around this time that my grandpa went into Hospice care. I recall the last third of this song catching me by surprise and hitting me hard.
Method Act - Touche Amore
Sitting at my computer after a day of high school around 2012. I distinctly remember listening to this song while playing the MMORPG Rift, despite only playing that game for like a month.
I think this song echoed a lot of my feelings about my difficulties socializing in high school
so will forever be cemented in my memory as an angsty high school song. The track still slaps tho.
Missing from the Spotify playlist, Bandcamp link.
Junior year at Princeton, Bloomberg Basement in the WPRB production studio. Absolutely blasting this powerviolence mess while pulling an all-nighter to finish
a Neural Networks assignment. I must have listened to this split at least 5 times that night, granted the whole EP is less than 6 minutes.
Cynicism - Nana Grizol
Walking around Princeton, after the weather had finally begun to warm up in the Spring of 2018. This song in a lot of ways has been my anthem for trying to improve
my mental health since then.
13 - Denzel Curry
Walking from my South Loop apartment to my internship in the Prudential building in Chicago during the Summer of 2017. I listened to this EP practically every day during that commute.
So much so that I now have a mental association between The Bean and this EP.
Live Outside - Enter Shikari
2020, exiting the Chicago L on Washington Blue Line stop onto Dearborn Street. It's easy to empathize with the chorus of "I want to live outside, live outside of all this" after a handful of
months living in the city.
Storm - Godspeed You! Black Emperor
2018, laying on the floor of the WPRB Music Office around 2am after my last final of the semester.
Password: Hint: it's the same password as the last time
Real Death - Mount Eerie
Early 2017, crossing Washington Street toward Frist Campus Center. This song came up on my Spotify Discover and absolutely destroyed me.
I strongly encourage anyone unfamiliar with the song to give it a shot.
'Hey' - Ricky Eat Acid & take care - killedmyself
Summer 2018. Getting off the train in Amsterdam. This was a part of a 12 day solo Europe trip, my first time out of the US. I had already visited London and Paris, and would be in Amsterdam for a few days.
I recall being quite disillusioned at that point, having not particularly enjoyed my time in London or Paris (although in retrospect I do have good memories in both locations). I was angry at myself
for spending the money on the trip, and also meta-angry at myself for being so privileged to be on such a trip and still being a negative ass about it. I got off the train right before sunset, these songs came on
in my "Going on a long trip alone" playlist I had made myself, and it was the turning point of the trip where I think I was able to really learn to appreciate my time just wandering around new cities.