There are certain songs that remind you of a specific time in life.
For example, whenever I hear Penguin Café Orchestra’s “Perpetuum,” I’m thrown back to senior year of college.
It’s well past 2am.
Three of us are slouched over laptops in Katelyn’s room.
We smell like stale coffee.
And as I glance at my lit review, I realize it’ll be another all-nighter. I won’t sleep until after my first class. So I play this upbeat, wordless song on repeat, knowing the tune will get me through the next hour of research.
Another example: During my first year in the city, “Like a G6” blared from every grimy Lower East Side bar. The beat was guaranteed to make people dance, and the lyrics were easy enough to remember. (I also recall one friend drunkenly screaming “Like a CHEESE STICK!” to a crowd of uninterested onlookers while dancing her way to another drink. Said friend shall remain anonymous…)
I remember Death Cab for Cutie’s “Expo 86” while riding a stuffy N train to Coney Island in the summer. My hair was piled on top of my head, and I happily tapped my foot to the beat, relishing in an endless Saturday.
I remember playing “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare” over and over again on my way to work after ending things with a boy.
I remember moving to New York and blasting The Avett Brother’s “I and Love and You,” while driving up I-95N. (But then that became too depressing, so I switched to “Empire State of Mind.”)
There was this one song by Ra Ra Riot that played in Bloomingdales – and I loved it so much, I’d avoid customers for a precious 2 minutes and 43 seconds. You could find me in the dressing room, humming along with my eyes closed.
I first listened to Mumford and Son’s new album while walking in the Flatiron District with a leather jacket and a cheeseburger.
The Great Lake Swimmers sung their soft lyrics to a frustrated writer in her kitchen throughout a gusty fall day, while The Naked and the Famous announced the arrival of spring.
M83 “owned the sky” in 2011 (and probably in 2012 too). This band produces epic I-have-to-walk-miles-to-work music.
I danced my way through the Parents magazine internship with Passion Pit, and dubstepped my way through the eight-month Huffington Post gig.
Ray Lamontagne walked with me around Washington Square Park, while Bison’s “Switzerland” played on road trips to Newark. Edward Sharpe took on the East Village and the Shins maintained their persistent role in my life via an outdated iPhone playlist.
But that’s not even half the songs, or half the stories.
In fact, I’m already forgetting some of the details.
There were plenty of lyrics; plenty of remarkable rhythms that matched my mood as I was freaking out and making out and falling down and looking up and trying to remember to laugh, laugh, laugh.
So I thought I’d write a few down… for memory’s sake.
Because each street has a cadenced beat.
Each avenue possesses a subtle symphony.
And, what music we make.