Daily Prompt: Insert Musical Memories Here

The WordPress Daily Prompt for July 24 asks: “We all have songs that remind us of specific periods and events in our lives. Twenty years from now, which song will remind you of the summer of 2014?”

Predicting future nostalgia, or expressing nostalgia for ways we have envisioned the future in the past (a jet pack in every closet, pills for food, Tang “like the astronauts drink!”) are seductive pastimes. What will be a touchstone for my 65-year-old me in the year 2034? (I was born in 1968 and the year/decade/century in which we now reside sometimes still looks foreign or like a typo to me, even 14-plus years into it. Thus, “in the year.”)

The Daily Prompt’s question starts out with an error, of course. “We all” do not have songs that remind us of specific things. But many of us do have songs, even if, for many of us, we would find it difficult to name a specific song for something to do with each year. Going back 20 years (which is a nice, round but random number), is there a song for me for each year—not even a different song for each year, there might be some repeats on the list—that will conjure up the places, people, and aspect of that year? My immediate answer is, absolutely not, of course not. But then, thinking backwards a nice, round, random 20 years ago …

I can tell you what I was listening to incessantly in 1994. Elvis Costello’s album “Brutal Youth,” especially the song “Sulky Girl.” (I was going through my first break-up.) Any time I hear it, I become a cliche of myself, and can picture the room, the time of day (morning), the CD player (Sony boombox, three-slider graphic equalizer, terrible radio receiver). On this date twenty years ago, it is more than likely I was listening to this:

Might some song be latching onto my memories of 2014 as I am living it? Unlike “Brutal Youth,” I am not listening to anything repeatedly; no song or album is speaking to where I am emotionally now. And this has been an year (only half-over!) with deeply felt emotions, both joyous and sad. 2014 has been a year of change in The Gad About Town’s world, with two friends dying, my move away from my hometown and saying goodbye to many friends, my move to a town nearer my girlfriend and meeting many new friends. One of my recently dead friends was fond of saying, “The only constant in life is change.” Turns out he was right. (He didn’t have to prove it.)

So far this year, I have experienced a couple separate musical influenzas, fevered periods of a week or less in which I briefly could think of little else besides one song or two. Some Sun Ra. Some Jem Finer. Just before my move, it was this song by St. Vincent:

Her Theremin solo (after 2:30) freezes me. (This is a compliment.)

But it is more than likely that the song that will cry out “2014” whenever I hear it for the next 20 years is:

One comment

  1. wscottling · July 26, 2014

    hehehe. That last video hits close to home. Some friends and I have been arguing language and grammar for weeks now. ^_^


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