On the subject of song lyrics and nostalgia

So, I find that people often turn to me when they can’t remember the lyrics to a song or if maybe they can remember the lyrics, but just not the name. I do lovingly refer to myself as a Lyrics Bitch from time to time. More often than not, I’m that friend that tells you to shut up during a certain point in a song so as not to miss whatever part I happen to be in love with.

I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember. More often than not, I’d rather have a CD playing than have the TV on, especially at work. (Hell, as I type this, I’ve hijacked the speakers from my work computer and am listening to my MP3 player.) For a long time, I couldn’t sleep with out the radio playing. More often than not, it would be a CD that I couldn’t stop listening to rather than an actual radio station, but the point is I couldn’t sleep unless I had music playing. My son is the same way and we argue every night at bedtime about how loud it should be. It annoys the hell out of me to have to tell him that he doesn’t need it really loud to go to sleep, but it makes me smile that he seems to love music as much as I do.

One thing that I’ve always noticed about music is the way that it seems to take me back to certain points in my life with just a few words. There are SO MANY SONGS that do that to me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I bet you can name one song right off the top of your head that makes you just sit back and think to something that’s happened in your past, good or bad.

Everlong by Foo Fighters

Independence Day by Ani DiFranco

Don’t Speak by No Doubt

The District Sleeps Alone Tonight by The Postal Service

Man The You Fear by Marylin Manson

Those are just a few of the songs that pop into my head that can instantly take me back to some point in my life that seemed like it was the most important or so completely insignificant that it surprises me to remember it. Doesn’t matter if how small or huge the moment was, chances are really good that when I hear certain lyrics, I’m daydreaming.

And it’s almost never the main hook of a song that gets me. Usually, it’s just a random lyric in the song that stands out to me and takes on its own meaning.

Did I ever tell you how I stopped eating

When you stopped calling me

And I was cramped up and shitting rivers for weeks

And pretending that I was finally free…

Independence Day by Ani DiFranco

That’s from the second verse, I think? My point is that it’s not the chorus, which I’ve noticed over the years is the part of a song most people think about when they’re trying to remember the name of a song or when they associate a song with something from their past. Like the first time they made out with that great guy/girl in high school, that kind of shit. I’ve always thought that maybe I was odd for not picking out main parts of songs when I thought back, but I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only one out there who does this. I think that a lot more people pick out random parts in songs that trigger memories, but when they talk about it (if they do), they refer to a more identifiable part so whomever they’re sharing with will know what they’re talking about.

Then again, I could be talking completely out of my ass here and I wouldn’t know the difference. Heh.

So, I’ve been sitting here for most of my shift, listening to songs and looking at old pictures that friends have up on Facebook and thinking about these memory triggers. Of course, this is after I’ve gotten all nostalgic and realized what I was doing. And then I got to thinking about how I notice that I do this around the same time frame every year. Not getting all nostalgic while listening to music, I do that all the damned time. I meant that I noticed that I was getting that way. Ugh, I don’t even know if that made any sense.

Basically, my birthday is coming up and I notice that around my birthday, I tend to get more nostalgic than usual. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my birthday marks more time passing me by. Maybe it’s the fact that it makes me realize just how much I miss the people who I don’t see as often as I used to, if ever at all.

Or, it’s just me getting pissy about getting older.

Hell, I can’t even remember what the point of writing all this out was. I had some grand revelation that I needed to write about this shit and make a point or something and now I don’t even know what the hell I was trying to say. I’m so awesome. 😛

So tell me intarwebz, when a song gets you all emo and flash-back-y, is it the more recognizable parts of the song that get to you or is it just some random lyric that sticks to you? And I’m really curious to know what songs and/or lyrics get to you.

Pretending there’s glamour and candelabra
When you’re drinking by candlelight…

-This Place Is A Prison by The Postal Service
Everything you ever touched is undisturbed and hangs out
Like crime scene evidence undisturbed in dust
I don’t dare touch anything because it’s evidence of us
And it means everything
Well sort of…

-Now That You’re Gone by Ryan Adams

(I simply adore Ryan Adams. His songs ALL seem to get to me.)

I would’ve held your mother’s hand
On the day you was born
She runs through my veins
Like a long black river and rattles my cage
Like a thunderstorm
Oh, my soul…

-How Do You Keep Love Alive by Ryan Adams

I still press your letters to my lips
And cherish them in parts of me that savor every kiss…

-Snuff by Slipknot

And I’m gonna stop there cuzz I could literally go on quoting song lyrics until I have to punch out at 0800. Oh, ok. One more. This will be the last one.

Pick a song and sing a yellow nectarine
Take a bath, I’ll drink the water that you leave
If you should die before me
Ask if you can bring a friend
Pick a flower, hold your breath and drift away…

-Still Remains by Stone Temple Pilots

Now, share your songs with me. 🙂

    • John
    • January 2nd, 2010

    got a few myself

    Remember the first time I told you I love you –
    It was raining hard and you never heard –
    You sneezed! and I had to say it over
    I said I love you I said… you didn’t say a word
    Just held you hands to my shining eyes
    And I watched as the rain ran through your fingers
    Held your hands to my shining eyes and smiled as you kissed me…

    If you die you said so do I you said…
    And it starts the day you make the sign
    Tell me I’m forever yours and you’re forever mine
    Forever mine…

    If you die you said so do I you said…
    And it starts the day you cross that line
    Swear I will always be yours and you’ll always be mine
    You’ll ways be mine
    Always be mine…

    Remember the last time I told you I love you –
    It was warm and safe in our perfect world –
    You yawned and I had to say it over
    I said I love you I said… you didn’t say a word
    Just held your hands to your shining eyes
    And I watched as the tears ran through your fingers
    Held your hands to your shining eyes and cried…

    If you die you said so do I you said…
    But it ends the day you see how it is
    There is no always forever… just this…
    Just this…

    If you die you said so do I you said
    But it ends the day you understand
    There is no if… just and

    There is no if… just and

    There is no if…


    and ….

    There is no escape,
    From the slave-catchers’ songs.
    For all of the loved ones gone.
    Forever’s not so long.
    And in your soul,
    They poked a million holes.
    But you never lettem show.
    C’mon it’s time to go.

    Already know.
    Yeah, you already know
    How this will end.

    Now you’ve seen his face.
    And you know that there’s a place,
    In the sun,
    For all that you’ve done,
    For you and your children.
    No longer shall you need.
    You always wanted to believe,
    Just ask and you’ll receive,
    Beyond your wildest dreams.

    Already know.
    Yeah, you already know
    How this will end.

    how it ends-devotchka

    Suddenly, all your history’s ablaze
    Try to breathe, as the world disintegrates
    Just like autumn leaves, we’re in for change
    Holding tenderly to what remains
    And all your memories, are as precious as gold
    And all the honey, and the fire which you’ve stole
    Have you running through all your red-cheeked days
    Shaking loose these souls, from their sacred hiding space

    Hold your heart courageously
    As we walk into this dark place
    Stand steadfast erect and see
    That love is the province of the brave

    Pushed under this expanse of bursting stars
    Let this burning brightly illuminate the where we are
    In this hollow that lovers’ voices occupy
    Let it follow, that we let it free, let it fly

    Breaking open the walls of this cage
    Intoxicated, Oh so amazed
    Much like falcons tumbling from the heights at play
    Conjoined, talons engaged

    Hold these hearts courageously
    As we walk into this dark place
    Stand steadfast beside me and see
    That love is the province of the brave


    This is why events unnerve me,
    They find it all, a different story,
    Notice whom for wheels are turning,
    Turn again and turn towards this time,
    All she ask’s the strength to hold me,
    Then again the same old story,
    Word will travel, oh so quickly,
    Travel first and lean towards this time.

    Oh, I’ll break them down, no mercy shown,
    Heaven knows, it’s got to be this time,
    Watching her, these things she said,
    The times she cried,
    Too frail to wake this time.

    Oh, I’ll break them down, no mercy shown,
    Heaven knows, it’s got to be this time,
    Avenues all lined with trees,
    Picture me and then you start watching,
    Watching forever, forever,
    Watching love grow, forever,
    Letting me know, forever.


    I have to stop now otherwise i WILL keep going until 0800 tomorrow

  1. There Is No If is my absolute favorite song by The Cure. I adore it! I wasn’t sure I was going to like TV On The Radio when I first heard of them, but I’m glad to say they grew on me quickly. 🙂

    Great lyrics! Thanks for commenting. I’m gonna have to check out the other two songs.

    • Ron
    • January 3rd, 2010

    you were the last high-The Dandy Warhols

    I was the first to have spoken
    And I said just about
    All of the things you shouldn’t say
    So maybe you loved me but now
    Maybe you don’t
    And maybe you’ll call me
    Maybe you won’t

    home-Michael Buble

    And i’ve been keeping all the letters that I wrote to you
    Each one a line or two
    i’m fine baby, how are you?
    Well I would send them but I know that it’s just not enough
    My words were cold and flat
    And you deserve more than that

    you were meant for me-jewel

    I saw a movie it just wasn’t the same
    ‘Cause it was happy or I was sad
    It made me miss you oh so bad ’cause

    vegabond-Spencer Day

    cuz I was born a vegabond
    I never stay for anyone
    whether right or wrong
    i keep moving on
    the world before columbus- Suzanne Vega

    If your love were taken from me
    Every color would be black and white
    It would be as flat as the world before Columbus
    That’s the day that I lose half my sight

    If your life were taken from me
    All the trees would freeze in this cold ground
    It would be as cruel as the world before Columbus
    Sail to the edge and I’d be there looking down

    the district sleeps alone tonight- The Postal Service

    I’ll wear my badge… a vinyl sticker with big block letters adherent to my chest
    That tells your new friends I am a visitor here…
    I am not permanent
    And the only thing keeping me dry is
    Where I am

    the story-Brandi Carlile

    You see the smile that’s on my mouth
    Is hiding the words that don’t come out
    And all of my friends who think that I’m blessed
    They don’t know my head is a mess

    i could go on and on and on…

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