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Friday, September 23, 2011

Time Machine Bands

Hey people anywhere near me in age, wanna feel extra old? Nirvana's "Nevermind" album came out twenty years ago tomorrow. Twenty years ago. I'm not going to say how old I was twenty years ago, but it wasn't zero. I'll just say I was old enough to put on a flannel shirt, turn up "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and get good and angsty. 

I can't believe that was twenty years ago. Darn you Kurt Cobain for making me feel old today!

And while I'm on the subject, darn you Michael Stipe for making me feel old this week! While I'm not exactly broken up about REM breaking up (I'm in denial, probably), I have been a bit on the nostalgic side, listening to my old favorite REM songs: Find the River, Fall on Me, Try Not to Breathe, to name a few. REM is just one of those bands whose music serves as a time machine, bringing me immediately back to the time period when I first loved their songs.

There's something about those formative years of a persons life that just seems to grab onto the music of its time and doesn't let go. Maybe it's because those years are so tumultuous and confusing, and therefore both emotionally rich and porous. It's almost like the music saturates the experiences, bringing flat memories to life years later. You can't hear the 14 year old voice of your high school best friend now, but you can hear the music you were listening to at that time, and that makes the memories more three dimensional. Does that make sense? Probably not, but it does in my brain.

Toad the Wet Sprocket, Counting Crows, Jellyfish, Pearl Jam and several others also serve as musical time machines for me. I listen to them and I'm suddenly knee deep in a memory from high school. I'm on the farm with Kelly, or hanging out at Abi's house, jumping on the trampoline at Carrie's, loitering in the hallways in my high school, burning incense at Kerry's house, or hanging out with Sarah. And a million other memories.

I don't long for those times, I just remember them more clearly while listening to their soundtracks. And thank goodness it's a good soundtrack! What are some of your time machine bands?

9 comments:

Mark said...

On Tuesday it will be 31 years since John Bonham died and my favorite band (then and now) Led Zeppelin broke up.

lizzie mc.- said...

Abba (of course it was round 2 at that point.) They might be giants, Billy Joel, U2, Phil Collins, REM, Journey, REO Speedwagon, David Bowie, Elton John, Rod Steward, Eric Clapton, Alphaville, A-ha, B-52's, Queen. Memories that return, Stake dances, The blue van, Putt-putt golf, pegged pants, big hair, cuffed short-sleeves, acid washed jeans, hunter green, acoustic guitars, bear's den, sky meadow state park, riding bikes, roller skating, cassette tapes (Mixed at home), learning to drive on quite back roads at unsafe speeds, swing dancing, disney movies (a dozen of my friends at a time), different colored stars, great falls park, Old rag mountain... boy I had a great youth, thanks for the surge of memories.

Savd said...

Oh my gosh, Gin Blossoms, Weezer, Aerosmith, Big Head Todd & The Monsters...all big high school memory bringer-uppers!! :)

Katherine said...

Hmmm...all those that you listed bring back memories, but so do Guns N Roses, Extreme, NKOTB, Green Day, even Harry Connick, Jr. a little. So good! :)

violet50 said...

Whenever I hear "Hey, Jude" I'm transported back to the grill in the basement of my dorm. We played that a lot on the juke box. (I know, that ages me in so many ways.) Also, Simon and Farfunkle, PP&M, and John Denver.

{jaclyn} said...

i was just commenting on the power of music as a 'time machine' last evening. a certain album will evoke sadness cuz i listened to it during a difficult season or how i am instantly reminded of our first apt when listening to another album. he was not able to quite relate , i think it has to do with being my female and the emotions we, as females, attach to everything. either way it's beautiful.

MMMegan said...

Tonight I heard Jon Stewart interview the guys (of course, sadly without Kurt Cobain) on xm radio. It was pretty hilarious, actually. It took me back to first discovering that album. Good times...

Maxabillion J said...

Man, I love Toad and the Wet Sprocket...

Almost as much as I love Justin and the Biebers!

Liz said...

Wow, that means its almost been 20 years since Cobain died.
One Direction really takes me back to my high school days. Yes,I am that young.