Have you ever thought about the different memories we have linked to various songs? No matter how many times I listen to a song the same memories and feelings will come back to me. Songs, harmonies, words… they hold themselves like a time capsule. This became an intriguing thought to me, so I sat down and shuffled through my Spotify and picked the 5 first songs that immediately brought up some specific thoughts, memories, and feelings…
1. “Living on Love” – Avett Brothers
I first heard it while on Summer Staff at Covecrest, one of the missionaries randomly started playing it on his guitar. The way the music just dances with the words totally had me hooked. When living at Life Teen Camp Hidden Lake I had quite a long walk to where I lived and sometimes at night if I had to walk back by myself down the dark 15-minute walk in the trees I would pull up this song to play this on my phone, while also using my flashlight to accompany me on my treck. After long days of work, prayer, discipleship, and emotions (#Jesus) I found such joy in listening to this song at the end of the day. When I hear this I hear the Georgia mountains at night, I think of the soft inklings of the heart pining to love authentically. I think of someone strumming while pouring their heart in the strings that have seen many days and have played many songs.
2. “Cough Syrup” – Young the Giant
This song caught my ears because it sounded so similar to the vocals and rhythm of a Death Cab for Cutie song, this song makes me think of reeling stress. It makes me think of long winding roads and the psychological mentality of anyone, young or old just trying to hold, trying to put on hold admitting “there is something wrong with me” until they have their life in control. There is a bittersweet sense of finding comfort in this song, in the rushing sense of encouragement in the music and yet leaves an aftertaste of sorrow. When I hear this song I hear the emotions that come with just getting by.
3. “The Call” – Regina Spektor
Regina Spektor’s voice is HONEY and completely exquisite. Her music has such perfect classical influences and I am a big fan of how well her songs are artistically crafted. This song is from The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, I first heard this song watching the end of the film in theaters. When I hear this song I hear farewells and think of promises, I think of accepting the fleeting moments in life and the fact of change, the inevitable. I think of holding onto memories and owning up to having to become the people we ought to be for the sake of the world and each other. I hear the journey.
4. “I Am Mountain” – Gungor
Once upon a time a few good friends wanted to remind me of how loved I am and kidnapped me from a Walmart in Dahlonega, GA (them mountains…) and took me in their car and drove me to Devil’s Elbow creek to go cliff jumping. Filled with excitement and adrenaline my dear friend Maggie Craig (the famous) blared this song by Gungor. This song was booming in the car as the windows were open with the wind erupting our hair while driving through the Georgia air. When I hear this song I think of just truly feeling alive and well. I hear adventure and joy. I hear the mountains. Yes, pun intended.
5. “Haven’t Met You Yet” – Michael Bublé
Everything by this man is quite timeless, his voice is smooth as butter yet somehow pays homage to the greats of Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby. I truly got into Michael Bublé my freshmen year of college and listened to his Pandora playlist non-stop when working in the library for hours on end while doing homework, sending emails, and writing papers. It was his controlled yet sultry music that brought such a bounce in my typing, and sure I spent hours doing schoolwork, but at least I got to do it to the sounds of love and post-modern jazz(-ish). This song is just, well, fun… so sweet and lovely, hopeful about the love of your life that you know you will meet one day. When I hear this song I think of such a butterfly-in-your-tummy hope. I think of happiness and dancing. I think of love. I hear the sound of feeling grateful for the ability to love another person.
I think that’s the joy in music… it reminds, it affirms, it hopes, and tells the story. Every story.