Sometimes a song is so deeply tied to a place or a time that it almost transports you to another time and place. You see the sights, smell the fragrance, hear the other sounds around the song from that time.
You might feel who you were, a you that couldn’t imagine who you would be today, who couldn’t imagine that the memory of that time would be seared into your heart somewhere, tied to those notes, those lyrics, inextricably and unexplainably.
Brandy is that song for me.
I have no idea why it’s this song, really. If you came up to me on some random day and asked me to rattle off my ten favorite songs, this one would never make that list. I don’t even think I own a download of it. (note: just checked – I don’t.) But it’s bittersweet in a way I’ve always liked, and it’s very rooted in its time.
But beyond that, for some reason, the moment it comes on, I leave where I am and go back somewhere in my youth. I don’t remember how old I was.
What I do remember was a pizza parlor with a medieval vibe. It had stained glass windows in different colored diamonds along the side and back walls. There was a long bar to one side, a wall full of glasses and a row of beer taps..
The tables are all high tops of polished/varnished wood. And the entire joint smells of years of pizza and beer, as if the very veneer of the tables isn’t shellacked, but just layers of layers of beer that still has that sweet smell of beer that’s just been finished, surrounded by the lingering spice of pepperoni and garlic.
These feelings, these sensations, absolutely permeate my mind when this song plays. I can’t help it. I don’t think about it. I’m just transported there.
Is there a song like this for you? Please tell me in the comments.
I have to know.
Oh my god this song is really big for me, brings back big memories, maybe I will tell you about it sometime or maybe not! 😉
I hope you do. It wouldn’t surprise me, I bet 😉
You Are The Sun, You Are The Rain by Lionel Ritchie, heard for the first time in a Chicago bar after midnight, drunk, one friend suggested that I dance with another guy I was madly crushing on… he was crushing on me too turned out, but only mildly… we ended up in a thing, but he was “poly”… and went camping with someone else when I couldn’t take off work (I even would have gone camping to be with this guy, blech!)… broke my heart, so I moved to California with my parents, summer of 1983. If I hear it to this day, everything comes flooding back, what I wore, the gyros we bought on the street, dancing close with this guy, that whole night (not that we “did anything” that night really because we stayed at the other friend’s apt, but soon after)… I wish I could forget all this and remember something important like all the calculus I’ve forgotten. This song brings back the entirety of my four years in Chicago, which is weird since I heard it right before I left. But I start there and go backward through those years to when we moved from our suburban house to the city after high school. I feel if that hearbreak hadn’t happened I might have stayed and who knows how my life would have been. I’m not really a Californian at heart. Regardless, I’ve never returned to Chi-town.
I love that song. Always have, but it doesn’t take me back to a specific time. Often I remember things in concert with the songs that were playing at the time. This one doesn’t have that connection for me, but I do have one from that year (1972) …
Every summer I went to two music camps, one hosted up in Healdsburg by the Episcopal Diocese of California, and the other up at Cazadero by the City of Berkeley (might explain my unusually deep love for Sonoma County). Sang at one, played trumpet at the other, and felt almost like a normal social human being at each. Thus I kissed my first girl at the first one that year, and my second at the second one. They were both good-looking Asian girls. The first one broke up with me while we were still at camp and the second one during the week after camp. She was an older girl of fifteen and to help me out she drew my attention to the big hit song that summer:
(I know mentioning they were Asian is superfluous but that’s the way I drifted until somewhat past high school … )