Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Music Creating Memories

Happy Fantabulous Tuesday!

One of the things I do to wake myself up is blast my iPod on the subway ride to work, and this morning was no exception. I gave DMoe a brand new 8G iPod to download for me (thanks again!), and instead of trying to sift through the hundreds of songs he gave me, I simply hit shuffle and decided to see what popped up.

“Anything” by SWV (the old skool radio remix). Wow.

I was instantly transported back to 1994 – Seana, Taniqua, Felicia and I were in a car driving from Syracuse to Atlanta for Freaknik. The only tape (no cd player) we had in the car was the “Above the Rim” soundtrack, and we listened to it over and over again the entire way. Good times!

Certain songs just take me places.

Like any song on the “slow side” of Jodeci’s first album, Forever My Lady, takes me back to 1992, my 19th birthday, in my dorm room...the night I lost my virginity. Stay, Come & Talk to Me, Forever My Lady, I’m Still Waiting – all those songs played as I thought I was finally becoming a woman. Okay, so maybe I wasn’t becoming a woman just yet…but Jodeci will always have a special place in my heart.

What is it about music that has such an important influence on our memories? We associate songs with emotions, people and places we've experienced in the past. Of course, music isn’t the only influence on our memory: I’ve taken a million photos over the years, and the words I write in journals about my adventures will help to preserve precious moments in my mind for many years to come.

But music does something to me. Something about music evokes so many emotions that are in tune with a certain memory that sometimes I laugh out loud or my eyes well up with tears. Music’s powerful effect over me trumps anything an image, a word or a smell could possibly conjure up.

Certain songs play as the soundtrack to the mental movies we’ve stored over our lifetime. Deep in our long term memory is rehearsed music - music etched in our brain that we associate with a certain feeling, a milestone we’ve achieved, an experience we cherish, or a moment we’d just as soon forget. It becomes autobiographically important in our mental playback. There is always a song that we can relate to where it seems the words were written just for us and what we were going through at the time. The raw emotion in a voice, the beat, the melody - all shape the story of our lives. Music can serve to heal us during a particular time - a natural pain killer - or it can trigger such emotions that it can actually make your heart hurt all over gain.

The incredible ability music has to manipulate our memory and the feelings associated with it are undeniable and inexplicable at the same time. Music synchronizes our brain’s vibrations to the rhythm of the world around us – succeeding in taking us to another place and time.

This morning, I was back 15 years...in car...speeding down 95...with my girls having a blast!

Where does music take you?



THATgirl said...


DMoe said...


Brooke said...

DMoe got caught sleepin! :)

THATgirl said...

I loooove music.

I'm a singer. I have music notes tattooed on me in one spot of my body, and a microphone in another. Music is the one thing that I can always depend on to put me in a "mood"--whichever mood I'm looking for. Back home, on the radio during lunch time the dj would dedicate mixes to different classes. I'm the Class of 98, and I sat at my desk and cried when when he did my class. I get nostalgic to a point where I'm in pain that I can't go back to a much simpler time in my life, when all the huge problems I had then were really so insignificant. I think to myself, if I knew then what I know now--I would have breezed through life. But alas, ignorance is bliss, and if I was smarter then, I wouldn't be smarter now (chew on that lol). I love music. It's my "thing" above all things.

Pretty Ricky What Dey Call'em said...

Putting 50cents up for someone to kidnap Thatgirl tomorrow..or at least keep her occupied so shes not paying attention to Brooke's Blog. Oh how the tide has turned!

Anyway... first question... Brooke... who did you guess the honey brown vajajay to back in the cuse???? LOL

But yeah... there are certain things with music that get me. The Biggest one is the part in Wanna Be Starting Something when the music drops and all you hear is clapping and Mamma Se Mamma sa Ma ma Cu Sa." That always makes me close me eyes and just dance. Also... When All I do by Stevie Wonder Comes on. Man... I just want to dance with a beautiful lady all close and sensual like. you know that dance when you grab her hands, spin her around..her arms crossed in front of her...as you pull her closer to you and sing (or humm) in her ear...all while swaying to the music. And then... my all time favorite..DA BUTT... I will knock Ol Ladies over to do the Butt. Butt you're right brooke I think it's because I relate all those songs to a a great memory!!!

PSSS Brooke...Call me when you get a minute.

Rameer said...

you were there in '94??

Damn...so was I...why you ain't holla at a playa when you saw him in the streets, guuuuurrrrrrrrrrl??


Music is integral in most people's lives...but I think people of color feel it moreso than white folk. Just my opinion...

Pretty Ricky What Dey Call'em said...

That Girl... where are these said musical notes???

Rameer... I'm almost going to disagree with you. I think Black folks are more in time with music...However.... do you see what doesn't does to white folk. What ever movement a song invokes for white people... they do it. NO MATTER HOW CRAZY IT LOOKS... NO MATTER IF IT'S IN RHYTHM OR NOT!!!!

LOL... I love to see white folks dance. Remember that Subway Scene that Brooke put up where the people just started dancing to Michael Jackson... you can't tell me that white guy wasn't feeling every note of that song!!!

Pretty Ricky What Dey Call'em said...

Side note... Thatgirl... I am proud that you have started addressing the blog group appropriately. I get a little mad if I come on here and one of you have not called us Bitches!!!

Brooke said...

That subway clip was funny :) Eddie Murphy said they dance to the words, not the beat :) LOL!

Pretty Ricky, I know how you are with music and dancing - you be feelin it!

And not telling who I gave the honey brown va-jay-jay to :)

Rameer, had I known you was there, I would'a holla'd at a playa ;)

Thatgirl, I didn't know you could sing! We have a super star among us! :)

Rameer said...

Pretty Ricky - I'm just sayin'...out of the thousandss of white cats I've known/met, I've met very few (musicians being the exception) who FEEL it like people of color. Sure, they can get fanatical like any of us - but case in point would be the majority of people of color who had lumps in their throats and sick stomachs when MJ died. We FELT that ish, the time frame of when the music came out, the words AND the beat of his music.

I'd say white folks were probably 40% seriously effected. People of color worldwide? I'd say 80%!!! This is of course my unofficial numbers...lolz.

I've had these convos for eons...I know white cats who LOVE Bob Marley. But when I really break down with them why Caribbean people and people of color FEEL his music and they just love it...it's just completely different. That's all I can say.


Brooke said...

I think you were 2 years behind me Rameer, what year did you graduate? We seem to have all the same friends, so not sure how we missed each other.

And I agree, I think we feel music on a whole other level than any other people on the planet.

DMoe said...

Ahh music.

This is Brookey's house and she lives here...

But man...Where to begin?

Let's start here:

My iTunes library is a basic way of life. I have a playlist for every phase of my existence, and a collection of songs can instantly transport me wherever I need to go. Fancy that the "music of my mind"...

For example, here are 3 playlists on my ipod right this second:

9 Lives - 9 concert versions of songs by Maze, the Isley Bros., Jill Scott, EWF, Mother's Finest, and Sade to name a few. The playlist is made into gapless playback. The result? One long concert of 9 different acts with seamless applause between each.

Deescoveries - Songs I found that are completely unique treasures in my collection. If the artist blows up, I can say I knew them when. If they don't, these are my funky lil secrets.

NewOrleansImiz - These songs are traditional azz-shakers in the Big Easy. I can be back at home in an instant when this playlist gets movin'.

I have quite a few others, but you get the point...

Let's ponder this also. There are some artists who can fit any particular emotion, and some who can evoke the exact feeling you need - exactly when you need it. Some seem to have a song for whatever the hell kinda lemons this life serves you in the lemonade of love, career, and family.

Here's a quick list of artists who can cover a subject like a warm blanket:

Luther Vandross, Anita Baker, BabyFace, Brian Mcknight, Chante Moore, Donny Hathaway, Maze, Maxwell, Jill Scott, Prince, Sade, and naturally, Michael Jackson.

Of course, there are dozens of others, but...When you need a song for ANYTHING life brings your way, consult the expansive catalog of Stevie Wonder. There is literally a particular song for EVERY human emotion.

DMoe aka Thin Albert

THATgirl said...

Pretty Ricky-I don't appreciate that. I'm a big girl, and everyone knows that fat people are hard to kidnap. Unless they're really drunk. So they told me a few days afterwards. But I digress.

The music notes. I wanted them on my collar bone, but my friends talked me out of it--thank you friends. They are on the right side of my chest. I wish I could move them. They so aren't meant to be sexy/suggestive. But there they are, right above my bosom.

The microphone (its in the background of the word "Diva") is on my thigh. And I did it right after I graduated college in 2002--before Beyonce encouraged people to run that word into the ground.

Brooke said...

Hey! Don't be tellin folks about 9 Lives and Deescoveries! Those are my personal little treasures now. Yes, I said it...I jacked your playlists :) Thanks for sharing them with me :)

And I agree with every artist on that list - especially MJ and Stevie Wonder!

Thatgirl, you are hilarious!

Rameer said...

I graduated in '97. But I knew TONS of upperclassmen! I mean - you know Daoud, and Dre, and Isaiah (I remember him, but we weren't tight), Pilar, etc....how the HELL did I miss YOU???

Grnated, you can't possibly know everyone amongst 20,000 students...but I was pretty out there and knew or saw everyone - at least I THOUGHT I did!

Did you know Davene, too???

Brooke said...

That name rings a bell, but definitely knew Dre, Ant, Daoud, Pilar, and Isaiah. I don't know how we missed each other either :)

But then again, I didn't know Serena and Yolanda there...only by face...so who knows. There were alot of us there, but I feel like I knew all the black and latino folk too...or at least I thought I did! :-)

Yep, 2 years behind me...I graduated in '95.

Anonymous said...

Brooke only hung out with the cool, pretty people :)

not saying you're not cool or pretty Rameer!

It was Brooke and Val - all day every day. Two amazon fly ass chicks walking around campus breaking hearts and shit.

Brooke said...

Breaking hearts? Me? never!

I did no such thing.

And I hung out with EVERYONE and EVERYONE at SU was cool and pretty :)

Witches Brew said...

Wow Brooke. What kindred spirits we are. I 'became a woman' at 19 too...I was a sophomore at the 'Cuse. Awww. What memories. Only, the radio was playing when I did the hibbidy and friggin' Bebe & CeCe Winans came on. Awkwardddd!

Anywho, DMoe...can I get a CD or something? Hook a sista up with that concert playlist. I love that idea.

I was at the 'Cuse from 1996-2000, so we were ships passing eachother Brooke. Rameer swears he knew me (LOL) but what can I say, maybe he was sniffin a sista! Kidding!

I knew Serena though and that crazy A.Belk kid she rolled tight with!


Oh, but this is about music. It touches places where normal words and actions cannot. I can hear a song and remember where I was when I heard it or how my friends and I tried to act-out the videos. I love concerts as well. I can't sing a lick but I hope music is always a part of my life.

Yolanda said...

Darnit...too many blog identities. That's my comment above. :-)

Brooke said...

Yolanda, you crack me up every time! BeBe and CeCe? Yes, VERY awkward!!

I guess I don't recognize your face then, but I could have sworn I saw you before! ah well :-)

Rameer thinks he knows everybody :)

Yolanda said...

You may have seen me before... I lurk lots of places :-)

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