Instantly Nostalgic Music

I just played Down by the Water by The Decemberists. It’s one of my favorite songs, by one of my favorite bands, and the reason I like it so much is that the lyrics and instrumentation evoke a strong sense of familiarity that I shouldn’t actually have. My childhood was nothing like what the lyrics intimate, but it is so inherently folky that I feel an inherent kinship with Colin Meloy.

Some other songs that make me feel the same way are Don’t Carry it All by the already mentioned band, and a handful of songs by Iron & Wine, like Sodom, South Georgia, Woman King, and Walking Far From Home.

Sam Beam and Colin Meloy are masters of this.

Almost any Christmas tune–yes, even the novelty songs.

The End of The Innocence by Don Henley

I had a moment like that the first time I heard Walking Far From Home, actually. The gorgeous imagery of the lyrics aside, I was literally walking far from home at the time, having moved about 1,300 miles away from where I was raised. Now, I can’t hear it without thinking of home.

In general, anything folky or Americana or alt-country takes me back, even though most everyone I still know there would run screaming from music like that.

Baker Street… by Gerry Rafferty… I remember the summer WLS wore that thing out…

Also “Flashlight” by Ohio Players… they played it at the amusement park Funtown in Chicago…

“Here’s Where The Story Ends” by the Sundays instantly transports me back to the summer of 1990, and makes me a bit melancholy.

Damn, beaten to Baker Street already.

A couple of other songs which are the earliest songs I have specific memories of are Frankie Valli’s “Grease” and The Eagles’ “The Long Run.”

Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” takes me back to late high school early college years quite nicely, thank you.

Boogie Wonderland by Earth Wind and Fire! Been running through my head, as it has every single summer since 1979! (Imprinted on my brain forever: walking into a chilly dance club on a deathly hot summer evening, just as it opened for the evening. We’re at the bar sipping gin and tonics, chatting, the place is still nearly empty. And then the lights dimmed, the neon dance floor blazed on, and as loud as a thunderclap, that song, the very essence of summer. Good Times!)

Soft Kitty from The Big Bang Theory. It seems like part of my childhood.

A little souvenir of a terrible year, is it?