01 Feb Of Music & Memories: The Power of a Good Playlist
Firstly, apologies, I ended up going on a bit of an unintended hiatus there for a while. Whenever I missed posting one week I sort of spiralled completely out of my routine and suddenly it was 2017. It’s something I didn’t want to happen but it did happen. I’m back now though and that’s what counts, right?
Anyway, I’m back with a post about the power of a good playlist just in case you didn’t gather that from the title. It’s something that’s been rattling about in my head for a good while and I thought I’d just… get it out there.
Basically, I have a little yearly tradition that I’ve done unfailingly at the start of every new year since 2012 (has it really been that long? Mental) I create a new playlist on Spotify each year, naming it after the year and add everything I love music-wise in that year to it. Pretty simple really, but nonetheless great.
This doesn’t mean solely music released in that year although there will of course be some new releases added to it. Rather, it’s the songs that I discover and love within the year and that have/will in many ways shape my year. I think of it as a soundtrack to my year.
Maybe loads of people do this too, I don’t know, but it’s one of my favourite traditions. The satisfaction of starting a fresh new playlist at the start of each year? It’s delightful.
The best part however, is going back and revisiting playlists. For instance, I can track the ups and downs of my entire year through just the clusters of songs I was listening to, unendingly, at that point in my life.
Take the 2014 playlist for example, right at the top of this playlist we have “The Weight” by “The Band” a song that I associate with a funny/awkward date I went on and having a few too many drinks with friends in the kitchen of my student flat.
Then later on in the playlist, I can track the last couple of months of my second year at university, when I listened to Van Morrison’s “Sweet Thing” A LOT while walking broodingly through Botanic Gardens to get to the library to do a lot of stressed out work for finals (“We shall walk and talk in gardens all misty wet with rain” it’s the perfect song to walk around Botanic Gardens to, trust me. I think I read somewhere that it’s written about Botanic Gardens but I am not 100% on that.)
Then we have “Riptide” by Vance Joy, the song that played interminably in seemingly every cafe, shop or restaurant I went to during a particularly sunny and lovely Easter break in Co. Mayo.
Skip on a few months to summer and we have “Genius of Love” by Tom Tom Club that magically appeared on the 2014 playlist the morning after the final house party before handing our keys in for the student flat that summer. Along with a handful of songs by Lenny Kravitz who I took a very strong liking to after a few too many glasses of Bucks Fizz that night.
This gives you the gist, right? You end up with a playlist of songs that will stir to life vivid memories of people and places you might not have thought about in a long time. Songs have a pretty powerful way of evoking emotions and the way you felt when you listened to a particular song (I even did a bit of research on this, have a read at this BBC article all about music & memories. I love the song “Sing” by Ed Sheeran obviously cause it’s a great song but also because it takes me back to an insanely fun night out during the summer of 2014 where me and my friends stayed up until 7am just talking crap.
A particularly brutal example: I cannot hear Chic’s “Everybody Dance” without feeling very mild nausea after catching a stomach virus and throwing up all day with that song playing in my head consistently. I will forever associate it with sweat, tears and unending vomit. Sorry.
So far for my 2017 playlist I have a LOT of Rush thanks to watching Freaks and Geeks on Netflix, loads of Childish Gambino (which will always remind me of putting IKEA furniture together, I’m sure that’s exactly what Donald Glover intended it to be associated with), songs from the Pretenders latest ablum (which is GREAT) and songs from “Sing Street” which I absolutely loved. It made me want to get off my arse and just DO SOMETHING.
Have I inspired you to start compiling the soundtrack to your 2017? Admittedly this would have been better posted at the start of January or something but hey, it’s the first day of February and once you get January out of the way I always think you’re able to have a more wholehearted fresh start (cause January sucks and everyone just wants it to end right?) So get that playlist together. Count out no guilty pleasures either, make sure you get in the good, the bad and the ugly for the best laughs come the end of the year.