I’m not so great with memorizing things, but somehow music makes such an impression on me that I’ve got a nearly savant-like ability to remember the dates when albums were released. It makes sense I suppose: I’m a musical learner after all, and so it checks that I could remember that that STP album was 1993 and that Soul Asylum one was 1992 and that Flaming Lips album was 2002.
This carries over to mean that I have to filter through what music was playing at the time in order to remember personal dates. So, I know that we were living in the house we built in Marengo because of the fact that I can remember listening to “Black Gold” while cleaning the garage. I know that 8th grade was 1991 because, hello Nirvana (plus Nate listening to Nine Inch Nails from the year before).
So, that means that songs get tied to relationships, of course, of course. There are albums or songs that just naturally end up solidly meaning that person at that time in that place, and there’s nothing I can do about that (nor would I want to, even). I remember how appalled I was when a friend said to me, “you can’t do that you know.” I can’t not do that — I can’t fathom memories not filtered in this way. Maybe that’s another reason why music just means so much.
I’m a veteran of a few long-distance relationships, too, and those songs mailed off to each other, postage to other countries or continents? Even more weight.
This also means, as you might imagine, when a relationship goes south, and stays there, whole albums or songs have to get deleted from the hard drive, figuratively and literally. This doesn’t happen often, though it can be pretty significant.
The Streets’ “Dry Your Eyes” loosely fits in this category.