Music and Memories

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Fri Sep 8, 2023 · 1040 words · 6 min

I was introduced to electronic music when I was trying to find royalty-free music for YouTube videos and stumbled across NCS YouTube channel.

As the years went by, I listened to quite a few genres and could figure out what kind of music I liked for different activities. I didn't have enough leisure time when I would only listen to music. During school too, I used to spend a decent amount of time on programming and caught the habit of listening to music while programming.

In my class 11th mid-term exams, I got abysmally low scores and barely even passed in mathematics. I was of course mentally broken and as an escape tried listening to music. I still remember that evening when I was lying on my bed, diagonally across, with Trust In Me playing. I was alone as my family was out for a festival we celebrate and I had decided to stay at home.

Contrary to what I thought, music did nothing to calm me down. Rather, the song only reminded me of the times I listened to it in the past which also meant it reminded me of all the carelessness I exhibited to get those low marks. By the time end-term examinations came, I distanced myself from the songs I listened to up till mid-terms, because those songs would remind me of my low scores and make me afraid of scoring badly again.

Thus, a few of my playlists were said goodbye to. Five years later, I still don't dare to listen to those songs again. Songs I once liked and will certainly like listening to again. I won't listen since I'm afraid I'll again get the fear of scoring bad; something I absolutely can't afford to for the next few months/years. I'm not taking any chances.

My school ended the very month the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed. We stayed in our homes for nearly ten months. During that time, among other things, I started listening to genres I hadn't touched before.

Moving on from one phase of life to the next, I also changed my playlist and hopefully left memories of the past behind.

Since I was sort of active with finding songs that were new to me, I'd keep adding new songs to my playlists and older ones would fade into memory. A song more or less lasted a season in my ears.

As a result, I came to associate songs with the seasons of the year. Certain songs remind me of September of 2020. (notable mention - Plastic Love by Mariya Takeuchi) Some songs reminded me of the spring of 2021 (Nescience by Galdive)

I had just entered university. Being a person who doesn't prefer socializing, I had lots of time on my hands to be with myself. That meant I'd be listening to some or the other song while sitting alone in the corner of the classroom or when eating alone in the cafeteria. Many songs really captured my attention and used to keep playing in my head for hours every day.

Yet, today I can't listen to them with the same enthusiasm. It's not that I've grown bored of the songs I used to listen to in 2021. I still like those songs and would still want to spend a happy evening listening to them, if only I could.

Rewinding through them reminds me of a stage in my personal life that I prefer not to be reminded of. Music does that sadly.

Loneliness isn't a great feeling.

Today I felt like listening Aseul's 2 Weeks. An underrecognized song that I had put on repeat a lot back when I discovered it in October 2022.

As much as I wanted to listen to it, I knew that it would trigger memories I didn't want to live through again.

Wish by Neko is another song that I avoided today.

In August 2022, I discovered Feng Suave, and their song Sink Into The Floor. I do not know if the song is actually sad. I really don't know.

What I know is that I listened to this song at a time when I was in a really bad state of mind. I remember having this play on loop and falling asleep on the desk. I liked the song and regardless of what emotions it triggers in other people, all it triggers in me now are my worst fears.

Out of my playlist.

I learned the hard way that music triggers memories that you thought you'd have forgotten. A lot of songs I used to like are now links to events I don't wish to recall in favor of my mental health.

Back as a child, when I learned about the word "nostalgia", I read that it can be triggered through not just contextual reminders, but also through senses, like smell, audio, taste, etc. Nobody told me it's not always that we want memories to be triggered.

I write this in a perfectly okay state of mind. Satisfied that I know what is good for me and what isn't.

It's not that I'm running out of songs to listen to. That's the least of my concerns. There are nearly infinite songs to listen to. But I've seen a change - I'm no longer the kind of person who wants to find new songs to put on repeat.

It's not the song that matters. It's the memories and feelings we attach to them. And I've learnt that neither are many memories good or bad. It's how we take them forward and what we make out of it.

The last time I listened to some new songs was in the first quarter of this year. I'm doing my real best to ensure that I'll forever cherish the memories those songs evoke. All the happy little events that surface to my mind when the respective song plays shall stay important.

There's not much to listen to these days, except that one voice.

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