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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Moods - Nostalgic

In keeping with our theme for this play list comes from our collective list of the Top 25 Alternative Rock Albums.

Nostalgic, as defined by Websters:

1. a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life, to one's home or homeland, or to one's family and friends
2. a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time
3. something that elicits or displays nostalgia.
4. A bittersweet longing for things, persons, or situations of the past.
5. The condition of being homesick; homesickness.

What do you remember when you listen to albums from the past? Do you think about that wedding dance you witnessed or that time you played a touch football game with your friends in a muddy field? Do you remember getting your driver's license or that time you ditched 5th period Chemistry to make out at the end of the hallway with a guy you were pretty sure didn't really like but turns out he did? Do you think about high school or college or even middle school in a montage form, snippets of your past hurling from the depths of your mind to the forefront of your thoughts, causing you to smile in brief recognition? Are they painful memories, some of them? The breakups, the failures, the time the popular girl teased you because your hair didn't look just right?

I don't like to fall into those periods of nostalgia. Not really. There's a lot buried in my head I'd really rather not think about and sometimes those things are better left to remain in their cranial burial plot. I know as well as anyone else, though, that that's one of the powers of music: it has the ability to snap you back to a time that is no more and can leave you planted there until it moves you on to something else. Music has the power to remind you of the good and the bad. We all do it, assign songs and albums to certain times in our life. If you thought about it you'd realize you probably have a soundtrack to your life comprised of songs you love and hate. One of the powers of music is to be categorized like that and we do it without even thinking about it. There's a song there, in your heart, in your head, in the depths of your memories that you just can't shake.

On a personal level, Oasis reminds me of summer time driving on winding roads, windows down and singing along to "Wonderwall" even though I really didn't like it. I didn't like it, but there was something to it that made me listen. Still does. The Killers serve to remind me of friends I no longer have and no longer wonder about; not all friendships stand the test of time and really, do I truly care about where my "best" friend from 1989 is now if I can't even remember her name? Portishead is for kissing in covert locations and miscellaneous sexual encounters. It always has and always will be, though my mind does tie Portishead's "Dummy" to a long, cold, snowy driving venture in Oklahoma one winter. I cannot listen to Tori Amos' "Winter". There are maybe three songs total in my vast collection of music I cannot listen to, though I love them, and "Winter" is one of them. "Winter" makes me lay my head on whatever available surface there is and sob like a baby. I left a Tori Amos concert once for that reason; I just couldn't deal with it. On the other hand, "Silent All These Years" is so powerful and so strong that it reminds me of very empowering moments in my lifetime and those were lessons I was glad to learn.

Then there's The Counting Crows. Images of my arm being grabbed as I walked away from an argument to make me the recipient of a kiss I wasn't expecting, the first time I gambled in Vegas, a secret told and never spoken of again. "Monkey", first presented to me on a mixed tape with a note.

Later on, after I got to live with the mixed tape that was called "And Stuff Volume 1" for a little bit, in a weepy 3 a.m. conversation, it was the first time I learned that someone had assigned a song to me. That I was forever burned in someone's memory musically and always would be. I'd been doing it myself for so long, assigning songs to people, places, and things, that I was secretly thrilled to know that someone else did it too. It felt like such an honor and it still does, really. I'm always secretly giddy when I find out now that someone relates a song to me, remembers me by it. While I don't like to fall into fits of nostalgia, it is nice to know that every so often, when a play list spits something out randomly, I've invaded someone's thoughts. Even for a brief moment. Forward it, delete it, rewind it, play it on repeat 20 times, I'm there and someone is thinking about me. Maybe nostalgia isn't such a bad thing after all.

"Monkey," he whispered in my ear at 3:01 a.m., "is you. For me, it's all you."

So, whatever they remind you of, enjoy the memory. I only hope I've sparked something you've long forgotten with this play list...

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