The first time I remember hearing Bette Midler’s “The Rose” was at my grandmother’s funeral. I was seven. It was played a lot around our house in the years after her death. I have a distinct memory of being in the car with my mom on a rainy day and feeling an overwhelming amount of sadness at having lost my grandma. To this day I still get a little misty when I hear the song. And it’s probably also the reason that at a very young age I took the Divine Miss M very seriously. It might also be why in college I embarrassed the pants off a friend by belting “The Wind Beneath My Wings” in a crowded convenience store.
Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby” was my song with my junior high boyfriend so when it came on the radio recently?
That happened. (Our love did eventually end. Despite Miss Carey’s repeated assurances that it wouldn’t.)
If I hear Paramore or Muse? I have the urge to watch one of the Twilight movies. I painted my bathroom to Adele’s 19 so any time “Chasing Pavements” comes on I can swear I smell paint fumes. Tubthumping will forever remind me of early morning swim practices and an otherwise empty school echoing with our music as we got dressed after. I decorated my classroom with my co-teacher to Mat Kearny. We decorated our Christmas tree to Graceland one year so “You Can Call Me Al” makes me think of snowy yards and rogue tinsel getting caught on the dog.
All of that to say I’m glad that when I listened to Florence and the Machine’s newest album yesterday it was when the sun was shining, there was a warm breeze on my face and I was on my way to her house. It was the perfect setting to listen to an album that makes my soul sing with happiness.
I’ve even put off listening to new music until the setting is just right, knowing that the whens and wheres will shape the way I listen.
My favorite professor in college had us do a writing exercise once. She passed out brown paper bags, each with something inside. We weren’t allowed to look, just smell. And from that smell we had to write about whatever memory it evoked. I think the same thing happens with music.
What’s your music memory like?