This piece comes from a recent conversation I had with a mate of mine. It really is mad how music can make you feel so many emotions all at once and how a certain song can transport you back to a time in your life.
Let’s strap on the flux capacitor and take a trip back to the not-too-distant past of 2016. I’m 22, I’m living my best life and all funded by my generous student loan. I hadn’t yet discovered my random love for pineapple, the colour purple or Pulp. I was still walking about thinking I was dead hard in my Fila jacket and bucket hat. My glorious summer that started with Grimsby Town winning promotion at Wembley (no need for details, I go on about it enough) and culminated in a week spent in the sunshine and shimmering specialness of Amsterdam.
That week was soundtracked to a throbbing playlist of Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Wombats and, when the vibe was right and the tide was high, a bit of reggae. Laying in the beautiful surroundings of Vondelpark, listening to ‘7’ by Catfish is probably, I will actually go this far and this is no exaggeration, one of the greatest days of my life. Thinking back on it now, it’s so evocative. That place. That song. That day. It all adds up to make a big casserole of emotion and memory.
Whenever I hear ‘I love you but I need another year alone’ I am always automatically dragged back to that amazing day (I think it was a Wednesday) and the stunning scenery. Fair enough, I look back at it as if the sky was dribbling honey, the sun was only for me. In reality, it was just a nice day and I was so relaxed. I wonder if I go and take a seat in a park in Grimsby and play that song, whether I’ll get the same wave of nostalgia wash over me or just someone’s piss?
On a completely unrelated note, I saw a Dutch man wearing inflatable shoes.
He popped his clogs.
I’ve got another example.
Picture the scene, five lads are crammed into a motor, pupils like pins and faces more pale than magnolia wallpaper. We have just left Lincoln, after celebrating a birthday in style. Plenty of booze, the World Cup in the background, a real lack of a snooze and the huge news is the song that comes on in the car.
Until that point, I had never heard ‘Hero’ by Family of the Year. I had been missing out. The melody and melancholy mingled in the motor, we observed it in silence. To me, personally, every picking chord and every sugary harmony permeated right into my brain, making me a believer in the song from the first listen.
As we drove in the sun, we cast no shadow.
That probably sounds really tragic and over-the-top but it’s like I said, music can make you feel things you didn’t even know were there. I don’t show much emotion so that’s the way to do it. Just sit back, shut your eyes and let the beat bounce, the guitar growl and the feels slide away.
Would you believe I have another?
This is back in 2016 again, a year of more ups and downs than an extremely intense game of Snakes and Ladders. I had just come back from watching the Courteeners in Liverpool and it was one of the support acts that had the most profound effect on me.
Clean Cut Kid, to anyone who knows me, are one of my absolute obsessions in life. It was their song ‘Vitamin C’ that was the one. The band that rocked the cradle. I’d not long been through a break-up, a time when I was still salty, sore and suspicious of life in general. I played ‘Vitamin C’ and was transformed into a bibbling wreck of suppressed sadness.
Seriously, that band are right up there in terms of importance to my life alongside Dr. Pepper, my dog and my limited-edition Adidas trainers.
In fact, their whole debut album became like a metaphor for me and my ex-girlfriend. It was all about being hurt and bruised, like a banana that had been rattling around a basket and ends up with them brown patches on the skin. I’m a big fan of lyrics, and these were screaming out at me the same message over and over again: “I’m gonna be your Vitamin C, build you back up the way you used to be.” I just thought, yeah man, exactly! Relationships come and go but music is forever.
I suppose what I’m trying to get across, in my typically rambling and robust way, is that human emotion is such an enigma, it hides away and retreats to the hardest to reach places. One thing that coaxes it from it’s cave is music. That is a very powerful thought.
Please don’t ruin music. If you’re out to get the honey, don’t go killing all the bees.