Capturing a place through music

I’ve been spending a lot of time on the road lately, from driving to see Carly, to back and forth from Pittsburgh to my family’s house and my job at American Eagle’s visual lab… so I’ve spent a lot of time with my iPod on shuffle in the car. I began realizing that so many songs remind me of places I’ve been. I am one of those people who listens to an album or a collection of songs on repeat for weeks until I go on to something new.
  • Paris, France: Nada Surf – Lucky [album]

Specifically, Ice on the Wing. Carly and I were forced to spend the night at Charles DeGaulle and we hunkered down in the East Arrivals wing. The doors kept opening and closing and there were French soldiers carrying rifles walking around. There were also homeless people digging through the garbage at the airport. I slept under a scarf (for the 20 minutes or so I slept). I needed some music to dull the sounds of the airport, and thus, reached for Nada Surf “Lucky” because it wasn’t too upbeat and would be good to sleep to. To this day, I can’t listen to Nada Surf without fondly remembering that night.

A friend told me right before I left for Italy for the summer that the video for this song reminded him of me because I was always traveling. I remember sitting on the train, thinking and wishing I had thought to bring a journal to write exactly how I felt at that moment, but instead, just listened to this song and made memos of my thoughts to myself on my phone.

This one is kind of stupid and self explanatory, but after visiting Bangkok I can really understand how this music could make you think of the city. This song would have been completely in place in The Beach or City of Ghosts. The whole time I knew I would be going to Thailand I was so excited to be “cool” and name the title of my photo album on Facebook. (Yeah, I’m a huge dork.) So needless to say, I listened to this song on repeat on my flight to Bangkok. The subtle intro of the song erupting into power chords really tells a lot about the city – frantic, but somehow with a peaceful side too. I was in Thailand during the 2009 “Red Shirt Riots” which made the city even more intense and unsettled than normal.

I went to the Philippines during my study abroad in Hong Kong. There were seven of us in a house. Beers were less than 25 cents and a bottle of rum was $3. It was monsoon season. We spent many hours listening to this album and playing drinking games. I rediscovered this album and re-fell in love with Modest Mouse.

Sadly, I had never listened to Lil Wayne before this trip to San Diego. My friends were all obsessed with Lil Wayne and we listened to this album on repeat the week I was there. I sadly fell in love with this album and ripped the CD onto my computer. It will always make me think of me using my friend’s passport to get into clubs (I was 19) and driving to La Jolla.

I’ll continue to do this as I get reminded of more places through music! What songs/albums remind you of places?

-cp.

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