time travelling through music

Music is the soundtrack of my life.

Play “Waka Waka” and BOOM I’m back in a bar in Leipzig. Although my classmates and friends surround me, everyone is frustrated. Die Mannschaft ended the first half of the semi-final without any goals. Spoiler alert: Spain won that year (2010).

Someone starts yelling “Shot, Shot, Shot, Shot, Shot… Everybody!” (Shots) and I’m in London in the middle of an epic night of bar-hopping with CouchSurfers.

Lean On Me” comes on and I see a 10 year old Nixia standing indignant on a chair (like this one). She has a look of absolute disbelief. Only two of her fellow bandmates have ever heard of Bill Withers. She then lectures us on the importance of branching out of your comfort zone in all aspects of life. Nice to meet you too, new girl. (We ended up being friends.)

The opening line of “Blumenlied” instantly transports me to my toddler self. I used to fall asleep to my mom practicing the piano. That’s probably the first memory I have. I had to be around 2 or 3, because I even remember the beach in Japan.


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Like all melomaniacs, I love music. Each song isn’t just a solitary work of art, weaving sounds, rhythms and words, it’s also a flood of feelings that its creator has forced us to reconcile. As listeners, it’s as if we sign a social contract, actually more like a liability waiver, to accept the journey… wherever it turns. Did you think of the night you fell in love or the night of your first broken heart? Did you cry out of joy or grief? Oh well… you pressed play, so that’s all on you.


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I read somewhere that scents have the strongest connection for recall in the brain. You smell a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven and it takes you back to Saturday mornings as a kid, when you and your brothers woke up to Mom’s baking. You smell moth balls and you’re back in your Grandma Bee’s house with all the Victorian furniture and the same SMEG fridge that was brand new when the house was built in the 50s. I don’t doubt that our sense of smell strongly connects us to our memories, but…

For me, songs are those bookmarks in time.

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While I typed this, “Details in the Fabric” played and I remembered sitting in Rachel’s car, arguing about which part was James Morrison (not to be confused with Jim Morrison) and which part was Jason Mraz. It’s a silly memory, but I smile every time that song comes on. It’s a small, slightly melancholy moment of pleasure because of a song.

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You don’t have to be a music junkie to experience the same connection. What are some songs that transport you to a particular moment in your life? I’d love to hear about your memories, so just leave a comment to tell me about it!

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