Zach Miller (zarfmouse) wrote,
Zach Miller

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Deep Music Memory and Waxing Nostalgia

There's something about listening to old records that is really neat. Most of my favorite old vinyl is stuff that my mom played around the house when I was between like 5 and 12 years old.

The weird thing is that even though it's been 20 years since I've heard some of it, I have this deep memory of it. I remember the lyrics, I can sing along, I remember the tunes. And though the records don't bring back specific memories they fill me with such a comfortable feeling of sitting around the living room or "helping" with the house cleaning on a lazy Saturday (or in some cases Crazy Dancing).

I think most of my childhood memories are associated with music (and that one really strong memory of a particular night listening to Prairie Home Companion while playing Legos): either records my mom played or live jams around the house or gigs my dad took me to.

I think I want to make a mix tape of chronological soundtrack of my life. Songs that for one reason or another stick out in my memory and evoke specific moments in time:

Warren Zevon - Certain Girl ("I can't tell ya.")
The Roches - (That song that I think was by the Roches but that I haven't found among the records that has the line "French Fries on the Side", mom are you reading this? help me out.)
Ricki Lee Jones - Chuck E.'s in Love
Joan Armatrading - Down to Zero
Marianne Faithful - Ireland
Talking Heads - Stay Up Late
The Blasters - Border Radio
Jackson Browne - For America
Laurie Anderson - O Superman
Loudon Wainwright III - Daddy Take a Nap
Bobby McFerrin - Drive My Car
Tracy Chapman - Behind the Wall
Ben E. King - Stand By Me

And then mix in some tracks from old recordings of my dad and his friends playing at jams.

In my memory, sometime around 7th or 8th grade is where I started being conscious of music in a fundamentally different way. That is when my memories are less atmospheric and more analytical. That is when I started choosing music, seeking music out, having opinions about music. Before that, music just came to me and it was universally good and comfortable and part of life. I guess around that age is where I transitioned from musical nirvana (characterized by contentment) to musical samsara (characterized by desire). Though I'd hardly say my current relationship to music is suffering, it does lack that pure innocent childlike bliss.
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