Memory Inducing Music

In my studies at Drexel, I have been taking a lot of psychology classes.  Mainly because I am interested in the subject and second, I ended up minoring in it.  But what fascinates me is how certain senses such as taste or smell, can induce such deep memory recall.  It is as if you are reliving the scene.  I have mentioned in another blog how well music goes along with writing.  For me music is like a time machine.  Certain songs can both inspire and transport me to when I was 10 years old and running outside in the field with the horses.  Further still it will invoke strong emotions like sadness or anger.  It depends on the song and the time that song was either played a lot or prevalent.  Below is a list of the songs and the memories they invoke.  Some come with taste and smell, some just the feeling and visuals.  I will also recommend the songs as well.  It is all good music; some may be of the time and a little dated.  I know that they will not involve the same things for you as they do for me, but they are worth the listen.

Blind Melon - No Rain

Click image to see the video.

My mom used to play this a lot.  Plus, it was a very popular song when it first came out, so the radio blared it regularly.  When MTV and VH1 played videos, this one got a lot of play.  It was the height of the summer; we were still living on the farm and we had our pool that we swam in regularly.  Pleasant memories.  Comfortable and safe.  When I hear this song, it invokes images of the pool water.  I can feel the sun on me from the summertime.  The chlorine permeates my nose.  I would sit in the back of the Buick Roadmaster we had and lay my head against the window with my eyes closed.  The sun would pass over my eyelids and cast shadows that I would try and identify.  I can remember the smell of the car.

Nat King Cole – The Christmas Song

I know it is not close to Christmas and I admit I hate when people push the season far in advance.  But this song always invokes tears.  I believe this song brings back the earliest of my memories.  When I lived in Pennsylvania.  It was warm and a fire in the fireplace.  My mom baking cookies and the smell that permeated the house.  I had no worries and felt secure.  This brings back the feeling of anticipation of Christmas morning and of bygone days.  It makes me think of my dad.  His booming voice and his presence in the house.

Click image to see the video.

Seal – Crazy

Click image to see video.

This was one of my mom’s favorite songs.  In fact, she probably played it one too many times for my liking.  But truth be told it is on my playlist currently.  The first thing that comes to mind when the song starts is my mom’s white CD/cassette player she would have hooked up by the pool.  It was always placed on one of our deck chairs and playing as we swam all afternoon.  Summertime, chlorine, and the hot days.  I think I have most of my deep memories from the summer.  I wasn’t at school and I loved every moment of it.

Lenny Kravitz – Fly Away

Not all songs invoke good memories.  Sometimes they are the background music to events that were happening you could not really control.  This song takes me back to a road trip to Canada with my mom and brother.  My mom had it on repeat on a cassette which played throughout the 13-hour journey.  I remember it was in the red suburban that my mom called “Big Red”.  The reason for the trip was my mom was having a midlife crisis and I will just leave it at that.  I was determined to go with her to make sure she didn’t make any stupid decisions.  Because for me, I felt more like the parent at times.  At least with my mom.  I don’t listen to this song all that much anymore.

Click image to see video.

Duran Duran – Ordinary World

Click image to see video.

Besides Duran Duran being at the head of a lot of things in the 80’s, this particular song rung out to me in a different way.  It was at a time where I hated school, I was bullied every day, and I just wanted to escape and be anywhere else but there.  When I listen to this song, I remember the bus rides to school.  I’m sitting at the window leaning my head against the glass.  On my lap is my portable CD player, playing the latest mix CD I made for myself.  I usually sat alone and talked to no one.  As soon as I was on the bus, the headphones went on and the music blared.  I needed to drown out everything around me.  I was alone.  The song speaks of a world that we must find in between all of the shit.  So eventually, I did.  Also, side note:  There is a remix of this song by Aurora that I played all the time on DDR (Dance Dance Revolution).

These are but a few of the many songs that can transport me back to a time where I was either happy, angry, or sad.  I listen to music to help me get through the tough times.  I listen to music to keep me going and get motivated.  It is a constant.  It may not be the same for everyone, but I think it is as close as I will get to a genuine time machine.

If you enjoyed this post, please check out my others.  Do you like podcasts?  Do you like talking about nostalgic things?  Well check out my podcast here!  I will be uploading more soon and will be also posting them on Spotify shortly.  Thank you for checking out my site!

Related posts

Don’t Overthink the Story


The List


Top 5 Holiday Songs


1 comment

Donna DeMeo August 12, 2021 at 7:21 pm

I love your posts! Music is the best thing ever! So true what you say that it brings back so many memories or just soothes the soul.

My mom and dad always had music on more than TV. And my grandmother always had music on too.

I use music to calm me, help me concentrate and to enjoy! I have a wide mix and love that my dad has an eclectic music collection.

I am going to check out your podcast now.

Love you and I feel like we have similar thoughts on some things.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More