My friend and I were having a conversation a couple weeks ago and I stopped to ask them a question. I couldn’t tell you what they actually said, but I remember the message and particularly the accompanying facial expression. I think “wry” is the correct term. That face and the emotions I can guess were behind it are sticking with me, more-so than their actual answer.
This is definitely not the first time I’ve had an emotional association strong enough to blot out other aspects of a memory. On the flip-side, I’ve had emotional associations strong enough to throw me back years into vacuum-clear recollections that I wasn’t aware still existed in my cortex. I’ve particularly noticed this phenomenon with certain songs and bands that I used to listen to.
I’m sure most people have some band or style of music that they were really into at some point earlier in their lives that they currently can’t stand to hear. Maybe you dug metal when you were in high school? Maybe you listened to hiphop during college? Personally, I was a self-described emo kid and looking back on my years of accumulated music is a bit embarrassing, even when no one is around.
On occasion, I’ll set my entire Music folder on shuffle in VLC. And I skip so many songs.
A lot of them are so whiny! Some of them are really annoying in that aspect, actually. The ones that are sad but not whiny are still really sad; some of them remain enjoyable.
There’s a not-insignificant number of these morose melodies that I identified with in some way, and they often bring back vivid memories as soon as they start to play. This is both good and bad, since good memories typically produce feelings of nostalgia while bad memories always seem to be associated with feeling depressed and then super sad on top of it. And since I don’t feel that way anymore, it’s sometimes unpleasant and starts a backward slide I’d prefer to avoid.
A lot of songs have references to ‘God’ or ‘above’ or ‘praying’ and other such nonsense that I never noticed. It’s been irritating me more these last couple years, for reasons besides the obvious (me being such a militant atheist and all). Apart from just finding it generally annoying, a huge part of why I like listening to music is that I love singing along. When it comes to explicitly religious music or religious references in my typically-secular collection, I find myself stumbling around phrases because I just don’t want to say certain things.
I could do without ever uttering “I found new hope from above” or “Pray that they will never find out” or the entirety of the song “Playing God“. (I guess that last one is mostly okay.)
There are also more songs I’ve noticed with slut shaming, seemingly glorifying the keeping of virginity, and other things I now regard as rude/inappropriate thanks to my Internet education.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not picking out random songs to point and scream at; these are songs from bands I like and have been listening to for years! It just gives me a sour feeling to hear myself say “Should I talk slower like you’re a retard“. Just… Ick. It makes me feel like a jerk having ever listened to that group.
Occasionally I have to cull my music collection, and that’s okay. I’m not obligated to keep this NSYNC I ripped off of an old burned CD from which I wanted some of the songs.
I just want you to know that I’ve written most of this post without the use of my ‘a’ button. I’ve been using the alt codes for ‘A’ and ‘a’.
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