Relationships

What Songs Define Your Life?

Stella Blackmon

Do you have songs that transport you back in time — where the opening notes give you flashbacks of first kisses, a new job or heartbreak? Here are a few of the songs that have come to represent my life’s milestones (and I’d love to know yours)…

Like a Virgin by Madonna
When I was six, I lived for the nights my aunt Rosie would babysit. As soon as my parents’ car left the driveway, she would blast Madonna, and we would dance until we keeled over. Madonna was such a significant part of my life that for Show and Tell in first grade, when classmates brought in soccer trophies and photos of golden retrievers, I brought my boombox to lip sync to “Like a Virgin.” I knew I had misjudged my song choice when I saw the expression on my teacher’s face, but it took a couple years to realize exactly why.

You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon
I have always been close with my younger sister Grace, who has autism. Growing up, we spent weekend mornings jumping on the sofa to Paul Simon’s Graceland. “You Can Call Me Al” was our favorite track. Otherwise silent, Grace would light up, laughing and cheering along to the catchy hook and crazy penny whistle solo. Like the song says, she’ll always be my biggest pal.

Tired of Being Alone by Al Green
Fast forward to freshman year of high school, when my crush from second-period biology class asked out my best friend. The afternoon I found out, I curled up on my bedroom windowsill and cued up Al Green’s buttery voice on my iPod. “I’m so tired of being alone, I’m so tired of on-my-own,” I sang. This was true heartache, I thought. I had lost my one shot at love. I would be alone forever.

Someday by The Strokes
I took refuge from my high school anxieties (Would I always look like I was 12? Would I really use the Pythagorean theorem later in life? Who even was I?) in the sultry, retro-rock anthems of The Strokes. After getting my driver’s license, I discovered the joy of empty streets and a maxed-out car stereo. I formed a friendship with myself (and five shaggy-haired rockstars), driving under dusty midwest skies, getting a musical pep talk.

Walkin’ After Midnight by Patsy Cline
One night in college, I sat drinking beers with my new boyfriend on the fire escape of my apartment. Our feet dangled between the iron bars, as Patsy Cline’s bluesy voice crooned from my laptop. “Walkin’ After Midnight” had accidentally ended up on repeat, but we were so deep in conversation the continuous looping didn’t bother us. We stayed in that spot until the sun came up, and I realized I was falling in love. By then we had heard the country classic so many times, it seemed more natural than birds chirping.

Dreams by The Cranberries
In You’ve Got Mail, this song plays while Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks take an early morning walk around Manhattan. Fall leaves blow in the wind, while shops crank up their storefront gates. Embarrassingly, that two-minute scene was everything to me growing up. The setting, the lyrics, the New York cliché: it gave me adrenaline. Right after my move to the city, on an October morning, when orange leaves lined sidewalks and businesses flickered awake, I heard “Dreams” spilling out of a café. And in true romantic-comedy form, as the line “I know I’ve felt like this before, but now I’m feeling it even more” echoed onto the street, I walked past thinking, “I have arrived!” — half-hoping that a young Tom Hanks would round the corner at any moment.

What are your songs? I’m curious what songs will be added to my list in the future — a wedding first dance, a summer anthem, kid songs… I’d love to hear yours.

P.S. Playing music for kids and 15 first dance songs for weddings.

(Photo of the author from Instagram.)

  1. Every time I hear “Innocent Man” by Billy Joel it takes me right back to when I had my college radio show. I had that on repeat the entire semester!

  2. Mary says...

    Jane says by Jane’s Addiction. I’m Jane.

  3. Anna says...

    There are so many songs that define times or moments in my life. here are a few songs that are tied with happy memories.

    – Yellow Submarine – my mom has an old 50’s jukebox in her house and Yellow Submarine was one of the records on it. I remember my sister and I blasting it over and over through the rattling speakers singing our hearts out.

    – Dashboard Confessional- Hands down- as a teenager I had a huge crush on the bag boy at our grocery store so I would always make excuses to go there to see him. We were both shy but we would flirt through coy looks and smiles. He finally asked me out and at the end of our first date he gave me an amazing kiss- my first. I remember running into my room and playing hands down- “And you stood at your door with your hands on my waist and you kissed me like you meant it. And I knew that you meant it, that you meant it.” I was on such a high and it was the epitome of teenage joy for me.

    – Such Great Heights – the Iron and wine version of such great heights was playing as my now husband and I held hands for the first time in the back seat of my sister’s car. It was the moment we crossed over from good friends to something more and that song will always bring me back to that time. “They will see us waving from such great heights,
    “Come down now,” they’ll say. But everything looks perfect from far away, “Come down now,” but we’ll stay…”

    – Better Together – Jack Johnson- I remember when my husband and I were dating this song was playing on my stereo as we were lying next to each other in my room. I remember listening to the lyrics and thinking how much it described my feelings for him and I loved it’s romantic simplicity. we ended up using the song in our slideshow for our wedding reception.

    • Andrea T says...

      Hands Down is one of my favorite songs, good pick!

  4. Cheryl says...

    When I was growing up my mom used to put on Billy Joel when she cleaned and “Uptown Girl” will always trick me into thinking I’m inhaling Windex.

    I heard “When Doves Cry” in elementary school and remember wanting so badly to find the right dance moves to live up to the coolness and mystery of that song. It played on a loop and I would sweat it out for hours. Later, when I was a professional dancer I was cast in a show that included “Doves” and when I danced to it I smiled inwardly at the kid-me and felt really fulfilled.

    I had a huge crush on a guy who was dating someone else. We were just friends but the more time we hung out we realized we were beginning to have feelings for each other. “I Melt With you” by Modern English played one of the last nights I knew him and we sat in total silence listening to that song. Then I never saw him again and he married the girl he was dating. When I hear that song I imagine I’m in a Choose Your own Adventure novel and I have a parallel life taking place with this guy in another universe and we are really happy. But luckily I ended up with the right guy anyway.

    “Every Day is Like Sunday” by Morrissey played a drizzly Sunday morning in NYC when I was first dating my now husband. He had surprised me with a spontaneous night at the Soho Grand hotel and we fell asleep around five am because: romance! He had run out for croissants and coffee at a cafe around the corner and I sat looking at the city skyline and feeling like I was at a crossroads in my life and something big was brewing. That song is so depressing and the day looked gloomy but inside I was feeling terribly alive.

    “Perfect Peace” by Toots and the Maytals will always and forever take me back to sleepless nights rocking my fussy, alert baby and praying for peace in my goddamn neighborhood. Sleep deprivation was not something I handled well as a new mother, but repeatedly chanting peace reminded me to stay calm, and hey, bonus points if it soothed the stubborn baby in my weary arms.

  5. Kirsten says...

    “Alberta” by Eric Clapton: My dad used to sing this on guitar ALL THE TIME, including the false start on the Unplugged album. Can’t hear that song without thinking of him. Also “Malted Milk” from the same album–which clearly my dad loved. I had no idea what it was about except for that I hated malted milk balls and couldn’t understand why anyone would spend time drinking it.

    “Sail Away” by Enya: My 3-5 year old self listened to this on repeat on my tiny cassette player.

    In college, whenever I would study I would put on Bon Iver’s first album. The first time I did that it was winter in Chicago and listening to that album just puts me in such a cozy, focused mood to this day.

    “Since You’ve Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson: A friend that I also worked with in college would blast this song every single day. He died during my junior year, and every time I hear this song I still think of him.

    • Lauren says...

      Enya… memories.

  6. I love this post . I come from a musical family so our lives revolved around music. I loved making mixed tapes to all my crushes in middle/high school. It’s funny how certain songs can transport you back to that exact moment when you either first heard it or a memory . The Cure always reminds me of my first heart break and how awful that was. It’s nice to hear them now and able to look back and be in a different place in my life. Awe memories.

    XX-Myrna

  7. Oh, this is a rich, rich post. Love the Meg Ryan bit at the end. My life songs look a little like…

    Fields of Gold by Eva Cassidy– I grew up a figure skater, but it took me years to fully appreciate the irony of Michelle Kwan skating to this for her bronze medal Olympic exhibition– dressed in gold Vera Wang, in a program filled with buttery edges, spirals, and Ina Bauers. I fell back in love with song for its dreamy, romantic imagery of field walks, children’s laughter, and love that barely fades with time

    February Song- grew up with a huge crush on sweet, nerdy Josh Groban. Played this every time we drove up to my family’s home in the mountains, preferably accompanied by snowfall.

    I Know It’s Over- Jeff Buckley (or The Smiths, however you want to look at it)- a song I danced to in my more lyrical and expressive moods.

    Love Hurts by Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons- because it does.

    Pour Some Sugar on Me- danced to this at a Christmas party in one of the more epic moments of my life. The dance floor made way for me and a notorious childhood bully (who may, under that meanness, have harbored a secret crush on me?). He poured hypothetical sugar on me, and… yeah.

    Ulysses by Josh Garrels- oh, this. This this this this this.

  8. Jenny says...

    Such a great post!

    I also have a sibling with autism-my older brother. I have such great memories of changing the lyrics to “Sweet dreams are made of this” and “I wear my sunglasses at night” to engage him as he loved music (still does). In those moments, the music really brought us together.

  9. Rocio says...

    Royals by Lorde. She won the Grammy for best song while we were on our honeymoon in Hawaii. That week the song was played all day long on the radio in our rental cars as we drove through Oahu and Maui. Now we have it in the ipod in our car, and everytime it gets played while we are driving, we are transported to Hawaii and it’s like if we are driving through the Hawaiians highways again.

  10. stacia says...

    1970 junior year of high school our religion teacher would have each girl start the class with a prayer. she gave us the freedom of doing it however we wanted. at that time my favorite song was my “sweet lord” by george harrison. i brought my 45 in along with my little record player and offered that as our prayer. it was a hit

    1971 i married right after graduation and as we married at the alter we had someone play the guitar and sing “the wedding song” (there is love) by paul stookey. unfortunately that marriage only lasted 12 years but whenever i hear that song, i close my eyes and i am back in 1971, that church, the smells of the flowers and looking at this fresh faced boy that was about to become my husband.

    1978 while in the hospital after giving birth to our first child, a daughter. my mom called and when i picked up the phone i could hear the song “isn’t she lovely” by stevie wonder. 2015 christmas eve that same daughter gave birth to her first child, a beautiful boy. my song that i sing (not well) to him is “beautiful boy” by john lennon.

    1985 my now husband told me shortly after we met he heard the song “crazy for you” by madonna on the radio while driving into work. it made him smile and think of us. it became our song and when we had our first dance at our wedding it was to that song.

    almost 30 years later no matter where we are and that song plays we both stop and look at each other and smile.

    i have many other songs that will put me in that time, in that place but those are the ones that stand out in my mind and in my heart.
    thank you for letting me share a minute of my life with songs

  11. I love “Dreams” too, but the defining moment for me was the “My So Called Life” episode where Angela is excited that Jordan Catilano likes her back and she falls on her bed thinking about her life, with that teen excitement and nervousness and the whole world is this amazing, scary wonderful place.

    I love “Lips Like Sugar” by Echo and the Bunneymen because I used to dance at clubs all the time when I was a teen and the words “she floats like a swan across the water” I was sure he was singing about me and I imagined myself floating on the dance floor like a swan. I would love to have that self confidence now!

    “The Reflex” Duran Duran. The song that made me so excited when I heard it, I though I was going to pop. I was sure it was written for me and the other people who realized how amazing Duran Duran were.

    “Thing are Gonna Get Lighter” by the New Pornographers. When my sister passed away 8 years ago, I heard this song and it said, “Things are never gonna get better, but they are going to get lighter” and I can’t even describe how much that helped me.

    “Trees” by Elephant Parade

    “Time of the Season” The Turtles. The melodies and harmonies of this song gives me goose bumps. I also like the terrible crooning confidence of the singer.

    “Never My Love” The Association (my wedding first dance song)

    “Party in the USA” Miley Cirus, because a couple of summers ago I sang it all summer long with gusto, with my 3 kids and it defined and era in our family.

    “YYZ” by Rush. When I was a teen I was so proud of myself for learning the drum beat of this song and I used to blast it in my junky little car with no air conditioning (in the Florida summer) and I felt like it defined my brilliance to the world. It didn’t. But it felt like it did.

    • Sorry, I typed the above comment so quickly and with such happiness that I didn’t check for typo’s.

  12. LDN says...

    There are so many songs that define every life I have lived… They are all amazing- Ray lamontagne, nick cave, bell x1, Glen Hansard, Sarah mclauchan, erasure but the one that is the base that’s more about me than any other- when I plays it feels like mine is.. Massive attack sung by Tracey thorn- protection.. I remember on mtv but when it really came to me was on a cd my ex had.. If felt and still feels like my song. It’s about doing anything to look after a person- your feelings are only second to that of the person you are protecting. It’s been my life to my fault. It’s been all the males that have come and gone. It’s heart breaking but it’s who I am…

  13. Kate says...

    Certain songs really remind me of my dad, who passed away two years ago. Growing up, my dad introduced me to a wide variety of music – from Vivaldi to Bruce Springsteen – but a handful of songs bring back such vivid memories. I remember him driving me from our home in Pennsylvania to college in Indiana, listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Allman Brothers, and him exclaiming, “Now this is travelin’ music!” At my wedding last year, I asked my uncles (his brothers) to dance with me to the Beach Boys, another one of his favorites. Earlier this year, I heard the ‘Star Wars’ theme song on the radio during my morning commute and I started crying because it reminded me of watching that sacred trilogy with him growing up.

    I’m now expecting my first baby next month, and although this little guy will never meet his grandfather, I love the idea of passing along some of his favorite music.

    • This is just so sweet. I’m so sorry you lost your dad. What a wonderful memories you must have shared. And what a lovely thing it will be to pass the love of those songs to your baby. 💛

  14. Leah says...

    Cake’s “Commissioning a Symphony in C” reminds me of when I found out my family friend’s 14 year son passed away after being hit by a car. I played it over and over while I cried the last week of my junior year of high school. Whenever I hear the song it brings tears to my eyes and I think of him.

  15. I remember an ex who made ‘i’ll never break your heart’ our song and soon after broke my heart.

    It’s a funny scenario looking back ha!

  16. Kristin says...

    Wow, just love this!
    I’ve been tearing up reading through the comments and am now thinking of so many songs that bring up fun, sad, happy, heart-breaking and silly memories.
    I remember singing along to the Moody Blues and Don McLean’s American Pie with my dad when I was about 5 or so. Mariah Carey was my go-to in middle school, I couldn’t get enough of her Daydream album. The Strokes got me through high school, and inspired me to move to NYC – I dreamt of hanging out in East Village dive bars with them. Britney Spears’ Toxic, Madonna’s Like a Prayer and Usher’s Yeah bring me right back to drinking cheap beer and eating pizza with my college girlfriends.
    Looking forward to putting together a nostalgia playlist tonight!

  17. Isla says...

    Loved this! When I was small we played tapes on long car trips and my parents’ pick was Sting. Hearing “Fields of Gold” takes me back to being six years old and long stretches of driving.
    Andrea Bocelli’s “Time to Say Goodbye” reminds me of evenings on the deck staying up way past my bedtime while my parents entertained.
    Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” reminds of the summer I spent in Tahiti as a sixteen year old.
    Annie Lennox’s “Pavement Cracks” was a song my Mum liked and played when friends were over.
    Lastly, Rihanna “Diamonds” playing loudly in the car at night in my late teens!
    Such an interesting post & thread!

  18. Jenine says...

    What a great post and so many wonderful comments.
    When I was 22, I backpacked my way through Southeast Asia and ended up in a small town in northern Laos. There was very little tourist infrastructure and it was probably the most foreign place I had ever been to. I was pretty much the only English speaking person in the entire town so I didn’t have much to do aside from hang out in a little cafe in my hotel. I couldn’t really communicate with the proprietor due to the language barrier and our exchanges were limited to the Laos greeting “sa wa dee”. She must have decided that I like spring rolls because she brought me plate after plate of them (and they were incredible) and I spent my time eating and writing in my journal. After about my third visit to the cafe, and the lone customer that morning, the owner disappeared when I came in. After a minute I heard “So Far Away” by Dire Straights playing over the speakers and proceeded to spend the morning listening to Brothers in Arms, eating spring rolls and thinking about how cool it was to have managed to travel on my own, literally so far away from everything and everyone that was familiar. That song always makes me think of the lovely cafe owner extending her hospitality through music, and the incredible feeling of being young and free.

    I want to mention how great it is that the comments section on this blog is always such a sanctuary of positivity and kindness – so rare to find on the Internet!

  19. I love this! A co-worker suggested to me this week to make a playlist of my “mission” to play when needed (maybe even every day). I love this picture in this post. Sophisticated and drinking a beer – perfect!

  20. Erika says...

    Oh man, there are so many songs that take me right back. The jazz and classical I’d hear coming from my dad’s office as a kid. Staring up at the desert sky from the back of my high school boyfriend’s truck while Pearl Jam’s “Release Me” played on a mixed tape. Dave Matthew’s “Crush” at the college bar where my best guy friend suddenly kissed me. And the Dixie Chick’s “Let Him Fly” that came on the radio as I drove home alone through Monument Valley after we broke up in Colorado. And those are just pre-marriage and kids! The list goes on, and on, and on…

  21. Brittney says...

    Pachuca Sunrise- by Minus the Bear. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, it brings me back to Italy. I studied abroad in Florence living with an Italian family. My roommate was often gone on the weekends. I recall putting on a silk sundress and swinging open the tall windows to watch the sunset. My relationship with my fiancee also began there. My boyfriend from home called me every day. I kept wishing he was there. 7 years later, we’re returning to get married in Florence!

  22. Laura says...

    Ella Fitzgerald- Cry Me a River. It takes me back to cruising around in my dad’s big old bench seat Chevy pickup with him; the windows rolled down, belting out the words and feeling all the feels that a 10 year old can feel.

    Here Comes the Sun- I walked down the aisle to a string quartet version, and so, those first few beautiful notes will always give me happy chills and make my heart swell.

  23. Stella, “you don’t own the phrase ‘around the corner.'” Ha ha! I love that you added that phrase into your tribute to You’ve Got Mail!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Hahahaha :)

      Thank you, Rebecca!

  24. Shannon says...

    Great post. I agree with so many others commenting here.
    Three significant songs stand out for me.
    1. Thank you by Dido: I was about to fall madly in love with an Aussie named Paul back when I lived in Colorado for a year and a half when I was 24 years old. He returned to Australia after living in the states for a couple of years. When we were dating he bought me the CD and the song always – and still does – make me think of him and what he meant to me or could have meant to me if the relationship didn’t end so abruptly. There became a point I couldn’t listen to the song anymore. When I heard it recently it still gave me the sting of the past.
    2. Silver Springs by Fleetwood Mac: A dear friend of mine passed away three years ago and she used to blare that song. It had some deep meaning for her but for me I will always be reminded of her and listening to it at full volume. I love listening to it because it brings her back to me.
    3. Mr. Sandman by The Chordettes: When my son was born I sang this song to him over and over. I only memorized the first two stanzas. I think it soothes him when I sing it to him now and it brings me back to those precious newborn moments I had with him in the middle of the night.

  25. jill c. says...

    death cab for cutie “love of mine” always brings me back to my first pregnancy when I lost (late in my pregnancy) my little boy Luc. I was listening to a lot of death cab music around then and this one in particular stayed with me especially after his passing. Although the sound of this song still brings tears to my eyes it also fills me with so much love and gratitude for him and my family.

    • Shannon says...

      I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your son. Thank you for sharing it with us here. I’m glad the song brings you love and gratitude.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Sending you love, as well, Jill. Luc is a beautiful name and I’m sure he was a beautiful boy.

    • This made me tear up. I love that song too and I can see how it would mean so much to you. I’m sorry for your loss of your son.

  26. Alyssa Leister says...

    This is probably my favorite post of all time! I totally have songs that immediately take me to certain places in my life, not always at critical moments, but just ones that I can pinpoint that a certain song was playing!

    One of those is You Gotta Be by Des’ree. I can remember being about 4 of 5 years old and being in my grandparent’s bathroom where they had a radio. There was a crazy thunderstorm rolling through and I can’t hear that song and not picture their old house and them at that age. My grandmother has since passed away and this song just makes me feel her presence.

    The other song that feels like it’s felt relevant for my whole life is Drops of Jupiter. I can pinpoint moments through my whole life since elementary school when that song played. I can picture walking in Philadelphia with a friend and it was on my walkman. I can picture hearing it while I was in college trying to write.

    I love how music just transports you!

  27. you guys should make spotify playlists of your life defining songs!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a fun idea!!!!!

    • Sadhbh says...

      I love this idea!

  28. I recently read an article about how the music you listen to between the ages of 12 and 25 will always be more meaningful to you because those are your most formative years where your emotions run the highest. This makes SO much sense to me.

    Mine are: “All my Life” KC and Jojo (I know) which I danced to with this boy I was in love with in high school; “Counting Blue Cars”, from this night in college when my friends and I stayed up all night long talking for no reason at all and that song was playing; “You’re My Home” Billy Joel from the first time I fell in love (for a long time after my break up with that guy I couldn’t listen to it, but happily now I can :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Love this. I also had music I couldn’t listen to after a break up — my college boyfriend and I would listen to The New Pornographers a lot at home and when we broke up, I couldn’t listen to them for YEARS.

  29. Alicia says...

    “Diamonds” reminds me of a time in my life right after I found out my boyfriend told me he had been cheating on me. It still kills me a little to listen to it, but after lots of therapy we are doing better than ever.

  30. jessie says...

    I was sitting in a cafe in NY with my first love – we had been together for 5 years, had lived in 3 different cities together – and as Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” played in the background, I realized we would break up soon. I cried inside and that song will forever take me back to that very sad moment.

  31. Elizabeth says...

    Oh I love this!
    Starting around the age of 4 I had a slip that had a skirt like a tutu so I’d wear it around the house and dance to The Beatles (specifically the 1962-1966 record because it was red). Yesterday was my favorite song. We have a Betamax home video of me at 7-years-old and my sister at 2-years-old singing Yesterday perfectly on-key. If you’ve been around many kids who didn’t grow up in the church of Christ, you know most kids are tone-deaf until they learn how to sing later in life.
    I wore out these albums in the 90s when I really started listening to my own music: Pearl Jam Ten, Mariah Carey Daydream, Boyz II Men II.
    In high school my best friend and I had just been broken up with so we listened to Against All Odds (Mariah Carey version) all night long.
    In college my go-to song was If You Want Me To by Ginny Owens.
    Now I listen to so many songs on Spotify that I sometimes just get lost in randomness, which is fun, too.

  32. Stephanie says...

    When my husband and I were first dating, we skipped work one day and took a trip to the beach. Later that night we cooked dinner and watched a Marvin Gaye documentary. To this day, anytime I hear one of his sings, I’m returned to that great day when two kids fell in love.

  33. ashley says...

    This is the perfect dress and I absolutely need it. Please please please update the post with outfit details?

    • Nikki says...

      YES! agreed!

  34. mosey says...

    This is so beautifully written – I had to stop myself from tearing up (at work). It also brought back lots of song memories for me. Thank you for this!!

  35. I love this post – I find that memories are often strongly connected to music.

  36. Carolyn says...

    Ohmygoodness. So many songs will give me a flashback when I hear them.

    Janis Joplin, ‘Mercedes Benz’- My mom used to sing this to me when I requested a song at bed time (I don’t think she knew a whole lot of nursery rhymes!).

    Green Day, ‘Time of Your Life’- One of my classmates played this song during high school graduation and whenever I hear it I can’t help but think of that bittersweet time.

    Bon Jovi, ‘Living on a Prayer’- Closing time at the bars during college in NJ, being surrounded by my friends.

    Bright Eyes, ‘First Day of My Life’- The song that played during our first dance at our wedding (also ‘Then I Kissed Her’ by the Beach Boys, the song that played as we walked up the aisle after getting married).

    Love the nostalgia that you feel when you hear certain songs.

  37. Love this! I cracked up at “Like a Virgin.”

    For me… there are sooo many songs I could put on this list. Some of the first that come to mind for me, though, are:
    Downtown – Petulia Clark : I think of my mom for sure. She listened to a lot of Petula Clark and the Mamas and the Papas when we were younger and she was cleaning. We’d sing, make beds. I get good feelings whenever I hear them.
    Jukebox Hero – Foreigner : Always makes me think of my Dad. My favorite memories are going on long drives with me and he listened to a lot of classic rock. I remember the first time I heard Pink Floyd in his jeep driving up to the mountains.
    Within Temptation – I started listening to them the summer I met my now husband. When I listen to certain songs, I remember that summer and the feelings of a new relationship growing.

  38. Shannon says...

    Back in the late 70s, we had driven from Washington to Oregon to buy a car, tax-free. I was 5. Mom was 8 months pregnant and had stayed at home in WA. It was just Dad and I.

    Dad stopped the day before at a store to buy music for the ride home. That was a Saturday; no shops were open on Sunday back then. He bought John Denver’s Greatest Hits and The Carpenters 8-track cassettes(!!).

    Driving to WA on Sunday, the windshield wipers broke a third of the way there (not a good omen for a car, living in the Pacific NW).
    With no car shops or gas stations open, Dad rigged a string to the wipers, in the downpour. With the rain splashing on the tan Naugahyde seats, he’d yell “PULL!” and I would pull with all my 5 year old might. Then he’d pull his side. Rinse, repeat..till we arrived home… 3 hours later.

    8-track cassettes are not very long and radio reception was really bad back then. Those two cassettes were on repeat the whole way. To this day, I can sing every word on each album and I cannot hear “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “Rainy Days and Mondays” without thinking of that trip, my dad and his ingenuity.

    Such a feelin’s comin over me…
    There is wonder in most everything I see…

    • Elizabeth says...

      This is such a brilliant story! :) (And being from Washington, I can appreciate it that much more.)

    • nilu says...

      I can picture you and your dad in the car!! Thanks for sharing.

    • h a says...

      I love your story!!! Those two cassettes were among the few I listened to a lot, after borrowing them from my uncle’s collection, as a teenager living in India. I listened to them for hours sometimes, particularly during the indian monsoons. ‘Rainy days and Mondays’ brings back feelings of being an angsty teenager with so many dreams and hopes.

  39. I love this question.

    “You Got the Love” is a wonderful song and I love the rendition by the Retrosettes Sister Band (from the film Youth – great movie!).

    Since I recently ended an unhappy marriage, I have a new lease on life. I’ve found that the song “Ridin’ Solo” by Jason Derulo is often appropriate for my mood these days, and it has a great beat for dancing. :)

    To squeeze in one more – I have to include “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift!

  40. Sarah says...

    Your “Dreams” anecdote is so perfect! When I first moved to Chicago out of undergrad Rilo Kiley’s “Breaking Up” was popular. Though I wasn’t breaking up with anyone, and my boyfriend had also moved, the catchy hook always reminds me of running after trains and getting caught up in the magic of a new city.

  41. Katia says...

    Great idea, Stella! Here are but a few from the soundtrack of my life.

    MMMBop by Hanson. As an 11-year old, this boy band was the epitome of cool. They were the first band to get me thinking about musical threads, their songs a tapestry of Beach Boys sunny pop, motown, Jackson 5. These were bands of my parents yet I heard them in this Hanson tune. And, they played their own instruments, a fact I repeated to any who considered them just another boy band. My love affair with Hanson faded as I aged through high school, but I still grin like a fool any time MMMBop happens to turn up.

    Today I Met the Boy I’m Gonna Marry by Darlene Love. One of the first nights I hung out with the man who would become my husband, hours melted into conversations that wound through our histories. Leaving his flat to walk home in the cold winter wind, this song popped into my head like in so many cliché romantic comedies. The cynic in me didn’t even notice — I was falling in love. We still laugh about how the music…just knows.

    America by Yes. I’m Simon & Garfunkel folky, my husband is eclectic and meandering as Yes; we meet perfectly in America. This song is Saturday mornings with messy hair, twirling and drumming and dancing in the living room to an American dream we never actually had, or lost.

    • Jessica says...

      I feel the exact same way about MMMbop and Hanson! It was my first introduction to dudes playing instruments which was way cooler (and sexier – let’s be real) than choreographed dancing, in my opinion!

  42. This is such a brilliant post! I have several songs that instantly transport me to moments in my lifetime.

    Kokomo by The Beach Boys was a song my Elementary school P.E coach would play as we stretched and every time I hear it, I am a sweaty 6 year old all over again.

    Thank you by Dido was my late mother’s last favorite song before she passed. I can’t listen to it without flashing back to my driving lessons with her and the time she realized it was the chorus on the Eminem song (Suddenly she became an Eminem fan)

    My New York ‘I’ve made it’ anthem is pretty close to yours as it was featured in a Nora Ephron film ( in my case, When Harry Met Sally). It had to be You by Harry Connick Jr + a crisp Autumn walk through Central Park’s Literary Walk or the Egyptian Hall at the Met sets my heart on fire.

  43. Giulia says...

    Ahhh, yes music memories. Tracey Chapman’s Fast car when I was about 11 years old, Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Down by the River’ when I was 13. The entire Graceland Album, Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn on repeat when I first started work, Jesse Cook Falling at your feet when I first met my husband…

  44. I love how songs can bring back such memories even if i’m not fond of the sound ones! I love hearing all of your memories from songs an they must have such an impact on your life! Dancing in the moonlight always reminds me my mum turning it up so loud and us all dancing around when I was like 5, my twin, mum and i like absolute lunatics it was fantastic and the other is 1000 years by Christina perri as my parents were away on holiday and it was just me and my boyfriend in, we were listening to music, cooking dinner and this song came on and he literally grabbed me and we slow danced and laughed the whole song and that was the first time I realised how lucky and in love I am with him, it was such a special moment
    http://www.pagesfrombeth.blogspot.co.uk

  45. Emily says...

    Hootie and the Blowfish’s ‘Hold My Hand’ and I’m instantly 17 years old again. I went to the University of South Carolina when Hootie and the Blowfish was in their heyday, when Cracked Rear View was selling like crazy and you couldn’t escape them. Their music means so much to me.

  46. I love this post! Songs constantly transport me throughout time and place. Anything from Madonna or Prince takes me back to riding in the car with my older sister when I was 9. She would blast their music (good thing I didn’t understand the lyrics back then) and even took me to both their concerts (Like a Virgin & Purple Rain) when I was just in the 4th grade! Erasure reminds me of my best friend and I driving to school together with her blasting their music (both of us dancing and singing). The Cure- I spent hours listening to Just Like Heaven everyday. The list goes on and on….

    XOXO, Amy @ Jeans and a Tea
    http://www.jeansandatea.com

  47. B says...

    Oh my gosh, as my life flashes before my eyes set to music SO MANY songs come to mind. Def Leppard, Meatloaf, Emerson Drive, Green Day, The Cranberries, Tupac, Nelly all come to mind. I love that certain songs bring instant memories, like my best friend and I singing at the top of our lungs to Twisted Sister with my newly minted drivers license, my husband (then boyfriend) and I dancing to a cover of Whiter Shade of Pale (best cover ever) at some dive bar, good new friends dancing to Shook it All Night Long, a much needed night out with co-camp counselors listening to Lenny Kravitz “American Woman” and then banging up our minivan we borrowed – woops. And of course dancing with my daddy one New Year’s eve to Brown Eyed Girl (changing the lyrics as well to Blue eyed) and feeling like a princess! Amazing what memories music brings back. Of course my all time favorite song Green Day “Time of your life”. Love this post :)

  48. Monica B. says...

    I’m sitting here now, churning of all my music memories. I have so many! I grew up with parents who loved music. My mother was a lover of everything from Tchiakovsky to Frank Sinatra to Shirley Bassey to Barbara Streisand, and more. My father was a collector of Three Dog Night (which I absolutely loved at age 9 and would lip-sync in the living room when no one was around), Elvis Presley, the Beatles and more. We had a stereo stacked with vinyls playing in the evening and weekends while cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, or just being, etc. Us girls had the bedroom record player with a large collection of 45s. The Beatles (the apple label), Jackson 5, The Osmonds, to name a few. Our albums where the LPs of Disney movies, i.e. Dumbo, Sleeping Beauty, Jaques Cousteau 20,000 leagues under the sea, and more. I would go to sleep with a transistor radio under my pillow listening to the early music of Elton John – Good Bye Yellow Brick Road and Teacher I Need You comes to mind, Emerson Lake & Palmer, David Bowie and more. Music is an important piece of my life, and I’m realizing the richness in my inner life as I write this comment. It is hard to declare one song, as many can transport me to another time and have a memory of their own. But what does come to mind is the soundtrack to Top Gun! Both Take My Breath Away and Great Balls of fire bring back feelings adventure, my personal style, the people in my life, etc. In my present day my music collection is so wide thanks to my early years!! What a great post! Thank you for bringing so many good memories to the surface.

  49. Crazy Girl by the Eli Young Band! My husband and I have considered it our song for years! Since our early months of dating. It was also the song we had out first dance to at our wedding. Even now years after hearing the song, I still cry when I hear it.

    XO Helen | http://www.KaleidoscopeSpinning.com

  50. Allison says...

    love this post, what a great idea.

    mr. jones – counting crows, my best friend and i took my sisters ’96 VW jetta for a joyride *before we had our licenses* i think we drove it all of .5 miles through the neighborhood, but the rush of blasting music with my best friend while my parents were at work was everything at the time.

    love shack – b52s, this is one of my dad’s favorite songs, and therefore mine too. we always yell the “tin roof, rusted!” part together. i imagine this will be our father daughter song at my wedding someday :)

  51. Kelly says...

    Take It Easy by the Eagles is my “everything’s gonna be okay” song.
    Anything Huey Lewis makes me think of my dad.
    Enter Sandman was my song with my high school best friend.

  52. Jill says...

    I love this post Stella!

  53. Pia says...

    My most memorable song moment was giving birth to my second son. It was a VBAC and I was very excited. My partner and friend were there while I was in labour and I had prepared a number of playlists which my friend was DJing. Anyway, things started to get pretty wild, the doctor arrived and everyone forgot about the music. In between pushes, the doctor looked at me and asked incredulously what the music was. It turns out a War of the Worlds song had come on and was blasting out “The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one”. “Oooooh la”

  54. Deborah says...

    You should check out the show/podcast ‘Desert Island Disks’ from the BBC Radio 4. It’s an interview format where people are asked to choose the eight songs they would take with them to a desert island and why. Fascinating and very entertaining.

  55. Jennifer says...

    Absolutely brilliant post.

    I’m currently studying nursing in Scotland and there is a big project here called Playlist for Life which is about creating playlists of music to stir memories for patients suffering with dementia.
    It’s not just about songs that you like but songs which remind of specific events in your life..exactly what you have described.
    It’s such a horrible disease but there is so much evidence to show that music can help sufferers regain a sense of identity.

    Last. Saturday we listened to Free Fallin on the way to find out we are having a perfect little boy after two long years of trying and a horrible first trimester scare where we were sure we had lost him. Probably not the coolest song in the world but certainly makes me smile.

  56. Jas says...

    I was 17, he was 18. He was my first love but we were never together. Still, we were more then friends. And suddenly, he was leaving the town. Our last embrace in our favourite cafe was during the song called “Wild World”, performed by Maxi Priest.

  57. Laura C says...

    Oh my God. I ADORE music and I am realizing that I don’t listen to it anymore.
    Strange things, when I was 14 I hated REM’s “Losing my religion” and some time later I felt inside that was my song.
    “Goodbye to love” was another one when I got my heart broken.
    And now I can’t find a song that define me. I guess I’ve lost myself a little while living.

  58. Milo says...

    A wonderful post! So many wonderful memory/song links. I loved listening to Mushaboom by Feist when we were settling into our careers but before kids. “Helping kids out of their coats, oh wait, the babies haven’t been born…” Just today I’ve been listening to First Aid Kit’s “Silver Linings,” which feels like a song that is so appropriate as I edge toward 40.

  59. Lindsay says...

    beach boys pet sounds, the whole album, takes me back to our day trips to the coast growing up in northern Ca, as well as the only tape that was ever in my grandmas car too? Ha!
    Madonna “borderline”, Elton John “can you feel the love tonight'” and others take me right back to being in my moms van as we’d run errands around town, she’d leave us in the car a lot and we never wore seat belts! I remember after my baby brother had been spun too much at the park, he threw up in the car and I had been sitting in his car seat with him on my lap! I was like 8! Yuck.
    I have so many more….. Smells also really take me back in time.

    • “Borderline” gets me too. I can feel the exciting sting in my heart just thinking about it. It takes me back to watching “Desperately Seeking Susan” in the movie theaters with my friends for my birthday party.
      I love your memory of your brother, too funny!!

  60. Nidhi says...

    I pick favorites depending on my mood but few songs stay with me, for instance, Tomorrow by Daughter. The studio version of the song gives me goosebumps and the lyrics are so meaningful.

  61. michaela says...

    The entire Aim & Ignite album by fun. reminds me so much of college and falling in love with my now-husband. All of our friends played it on repeat and it was the soundtrack to the beginning of our relationship. We had a good friend play a version of The Gambler on violin as I walked down the aisle. :)

  62. Stephanie says...

    Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Maps”
    Bloc Party, “Signs”
    Interpol, “Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down”
    Kings of Leon, “Sex on Fire”
    The Verve Pipe, “Freshman”
    The National, “Slow Show”

  63. Stephanie says...

    Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Maps”

    I still get chills when I listen to it.

  64. Sarah says...

    I’ve often thought of a song list I’ll play at my wedding, and only I’ll know each one is for an ex, that got me to where I am the night I marry!

    Torn – Natalie Imbruglia: this song takes me back to starting high school. And that was when I had the BIGGEST crush on a neighbour up the street. He went on to date a school friend (and whilst she knew I had the crush, I was rather philosophical)

    Short skirt/Long Jacket – Cake: my first boyfriend thought this song was me, and I see that as a compliment.

    Mambo NO 5: This reminds me of the German/IT teacher I had an eighteen month crush on.

    Royksopp: from the BF whose iPod I borrowed and found this (if only I could pinpoint the actual song)

    Tracey Chapman: not sure which song, but from my brief flirtation and kiss with a girl

    Electric Feel – MGMT: Oh, how he thought he was avant garde when he found this song. And it went mainstream.

    I feel like I’ve missed some critical songs, but still fun to hear them play on a radio and be taken RIGHT BACK!

    • Sarah says...

      Love!

  65. There are so many musical accompaniments to my memories. Bing Crosby will always remind me of my Dad and Christmas. Nirvana’s Nevermind album is high school and evenings spent with friends. Led Zeppelin was the sound of parties. Yellow Ledbetter by Peal Jam was a favorite song at the moment that I heard being played by a big crush of mine. In the Meantime by Space Hog reminds me of driving around Los Angeles, singing at the top of my lungs. The soundtrack to the movie Garden State instantly takes me back to falling in love with my partner. The Album Leaf reminds me of days spent with my daughter. I am always, always listening to music but these are the stand outs. ^_^

  66. Christine says...

    I sing my 6 month old daughter Early Bird by Shirley Temple every morning.. I love the way her face lights up and we both get excited for a new day, even if it was a long night.

    • How sweet!!

  67. Daynna says...

    I can’t get past this: “I have always been close with my younger sister Grace, who has autism.”

    Really? God, my heart swells in hope. Just utter hope. My 5 year old has autism and his 3 year old sister does not. And we had two children in the hopes that they’d be buds, or ideally, really great lifelong friends and confidantes. But it’s SO hard right now because he seemingly wants so very little to do with her at all when all SHE wants is his love and his fun and his attention cause she loves him so. I worry so much that there is this uncross-able divide because he’s not good at sharing, at normal social interaction, and that she is the punching bag -his literal and metaphorical punching bag, that he can’t just be a normal big brother.

    And then I see bits and pieces of them laughing hysterically over something I don’t get and chasing one another around, even if it typically ends up with scrapes and bruises.

    I hope So Damn Hard that my kids, (my autistic, hard to get and hard to know child and my light up the room, friends with everyone child) will find a way to each other to the point that they will love and care for one another, not out of obligation, but from interest and fun.

    Stella, I’d give anything to hear about your relationship with your sibling on the spectrum. How it was hard, how it was great, when it got good, anything at all really. I’m just so, so deeply wanting to hear more.

    I hope you see this.
    Thanks,
    Daynna
    daynna.shannon@yahoo.com

    • I am so touched and moved by this message. Hope is the one thing that keeps us humans going in this thing.

    • Alice says...

      You sound like a wonderful, thoughtful, mother. I hope with you too – and with you as a guiding light it sounds like they will.

    • deb says...

      daynna,

      I have a 24 yo son with autism, and a 26 yo “neuro typical” daughter, who is a special education teacher….i remember those days so vividly, and while my son is the younger one, they have forged their own, very special bond…after all my daughter chose her profession in large part due to growing up with her brother…keep on keeping on…it’s a tough road, of course, but there are rewards at every turn…would also love to read about stella’s experience moving away for a job in terms of her and grace’s relationship…as my daughter did the same….thinking of you daynna and sending strength…and thank you, stella for your writing and insight….deb

    • Daynna, I too would be interested in hearing about Stella’s experience. I think it would be a great post to share!! Please consider this topic.

    • Kate says...

      Hi Daynna, are you based in the UK? If so, I think there was a Channel 4 programme which touched on this subject. It was about children with siblings and one of the children featured was autistic. It’s probably on 4OD if you can get that wherever you are? Might be of interest!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      This is beautiful, Daynna. We would love to do more about the subject. We have special needs in our family, as well, and I’d love to cover more on the subject. It’s so important to so many people!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Daynna, your note means so much to me. I teared up reading it. Your words are beautiful and thoughtful. You are a wonderful and compassionate mother. Your two children will share one of the strongest bonds of their life. It’s hard to fully recognize or explain that relationship when you are young and growing up. Sometimes it’s so hard – and I didn’t always understand what was happening with her or I found myself wishing it was me who had autism instead of her – but I’m so thankful for Grace. It’s the strongest love I’ve ever experienced. I learn so much about life and perspective from her. I could write you pages and pages, but just hang in there – they’ll find a connection, they probably already have.

      Sending lots of love your way,
      Stella

    • Daynna, Stella, Joanna-

      I love all of this…thank you for beautiful and lovely writing about such a real-life subject! I, too, have grown up with several special needs siblings. My dad and several siblings are on the spectrum in various degrees – some high-functioning and some not. Family life of this kind is so complex – at times heartbreaking, at times hysterically funny, and often a strange, poignant mix.

      I am the oldest and I know that I will inherit the care of my siblings one day, so I’ve done quite a bit of thinking about sustaining relationships like this. Like any parents, mine did some things amazingly and some things poorly. I think one of the strongest lessons I’ve learned is that each child needs to be met where they are. In my large family with multiple special needs, I think the only way to manage was to focus on the special needs. While that was absolutely a good and necessary thing, the few of us not dealing with those special needs were sort of left to fend for ourselves. We didn’t receive the attention or time that would usually be put into the “what do you want to be when you grown up?” types of questions. Life was survival from one day to the next, not dreaming and planning for how much you could grow. It’s way too deep to explain in a comments section, but basically the idea is that each kid deserves goals and hopes for the future that correspond with their needs and skill sets. Each kid deserves their own version of “you can be and do whatever you can dream.”

      Yikes, this got long…I would love to see more on this fascinating and important subject!

    • Daynna says...

      Emily & Alice & Monica: thank you for such sweet words. They really touched me.

      Deb: I loved reading your small story here, thank you for sharing it with me. Another success story! Your children give me such hope for my own. They both sound wonderful, and I’m sure that’s due, in large part, to what a great mother you were and are to them. What a tribute that your daughter now teaches special needs kids. My heart got bigger knowing that.

      Kate: unfortunately, I’m in Los Angeles, so I don’t think I’ve got access to that program, but perhaps with a little hunting, I might be able to find it on YouTube. Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention!

      Joanna: thank you. I absolutely would love to see any sort of content your wonderful team could put together about children or siblings with special needs. You’re so right in that it’s really starting to touch almost everyone you could talk to nowadays. Please let me know if I could be of any use, if you need help.

      Stella: THANK YOU. Thank you for seeing this and replying. Thank you for such lovely words about my parenting. Thank you, really, for every sentence you typed. Because as my eyes filled with tears over your words and threatened to ruin my vision, my heart swelled and swelled. That my kids might find a bond like you and your sister share would be my greatest dream. I know it won’t be all sunshine and laughter and that’s okay. But the love, I want the love between them and I want the strength that people find in sharing (a home, parents, interests, etc), and being able to truly count on one another or, and this one really got me, to see the world through their siblings eyes, I couldn’t ask for more. I honestly can’t tell you how much hearing about your experience with your Grace has meant to me, at a time I really needed it. You’ve been a gift. Thank you.

      Ginny: thank you for sharing so much here. I can’t imagine how tough and delicate that balance must have been for you growing up. I hear you, though, and I get what you’re saying. Both of my children will be met where each of them are, and encouraged and challenged and supported in, hopefully, the exact way each of them needs.

      Thank you, all. This has buoyed me and honestly, made my entire week!

  68. This is so great! I love that you referenced Dreams, it’s one of my Hallmark songs too. Except I remember it from the end of Mission Impossible when he’s sitting at a cafe abroad somewhere after his mission has wrapped up (memory is fuzzy, it’s been awhile!). That songs makes me think of all my feels from the 8th grade. :)

  69. Mala says...

    Madonna is awesome, especially Like a virgin! I remember dancing to that song. I still do occasionally!!! It’s hard to sit still when that song is playing.My favorite is Englishman in New York by Sting.

  70. Kelsey says...

    I am dying laughin at your show and tell choice! I love how original you were in bringing your boombox to lipsync a song.
    Music has always been very special to me, especialy because my dad always made the best mix cd’s and took us for evening summer drives with all the windows down while listening to his favorite songs.
    For me, Landslide by Fleetwood Mac is one of my favorite songs. It reminds me of my dad and is usually the song I listen to on repeat whenever I am going through a hard time. The words always bring me comfort.

  71. Lindsay says...

    The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel. My dad is a farmer and growing up I’d ride around on the farm with him in his truck listening to Simon and Garfunkel, The Boxer was his favorite and we’d listen to it over and over again.

  72. Karin says...

    Great post! The Strokes album with “Someday” was on continual repeat when my son was 2; every time I hear it, it reminds me of when he was so little. (Sadly, of course, HE has no memory of this since he was only 2, so I’ll look at him warmly and he’s clueless.)

    Other memory triggers: Boston “More than a Feeling” — becoming a teenager in the 70s–I hated the song at the time, but it instantly takes me back to junior high like no other.

    Bruce Springsteen, “Born to Run” – finally being old enough to drive and play this song loud in the car with the windows down and my hair blowing.

    Beatles, “Come Together” – being 6 and listening to Abbey Road with my Dad on Sundays.

  73. Emily says...

    This is just great.

  74. M says...

    Just one- Forever in Blue Jeans. Neil Diamond

  75. jlhbhat says...

    I love love love that that picture is of Stella. What a classic image! If that isn’t your fire escape, I’ll be so sad!

    This post was fantastic. I agree that Cup of Jo is the best thing on the internet.

  76. Gaby says...

    I took a whole course on this subject in college (psychology of music and how we like songs that trigger memories). It really is fascinating!!
    When I hear ‘Just the Two of Us’ by Grover Washington Jr. it makes me cringe thinking of my college roommates lying on my bedroom floor helping me text back the guy I was asking out.

  77. Brittany says...

    Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” learning to jive in the kitchen with my dad when I was five. It’s crazy and awesome that music has such as impact on us and inspires such nostalgia

    • Kim says...

      This same song reminds me of my mom when I was also about five. She’d pop in the tape in her ’80s Mustang and we’d sing this song and “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad.” I’d sing in my loudest voice at the part that sang “cracker jack box!”

  78. Fran says...

    More than Words by Extreme – brings me back to high school, angsty teenage years, and an unrequited crush. Listening to it now also makes me very glad those days are behind me…phew.
    Good Vibrations by Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch – need I say more?

  79. Eliza says...

    How funny–I was just today introducing my kids to “Immaculate Collection” (Madonna’s first greatest hits album) and when “Crazy for You” came on I suddenly felt like I was at a high school dance.

    So many songs bring up so many memories, I couldn’t possibly name them all. “The Mm Mm Song” (if that’s what it’s called??) by Crash Test Dummies reminds me of 6th grade, when I had my first boombox and always turned that one up when I heard it on the radio. That was the beginning of a new era for me, which was exploring new music on my own and making mix tapes off the radio. Before that I had awesome music influences from my parents and older siblings- lots of 80s New Wave from the siblings, and 50s and 60s folk and pop from my parents.

    My husband of 13 years and I both love music and have a wide variety of tastes. They only overlap somewhat, though, so when we listen to music together it’s not a super long list of bands. “Simple Song” by the Shins, “True Love Waits” by Radiohead, “Brand New Colony” by the Postal Service, and “Slow Show” by the National always make me think of him and our marriage and put a big smile on my face.

  80. This is so cool. It’s crazy, how sounds can bring us back to certain times in our lives! I love that you can pinpoint these songs and remember the memory behind it. I can’t particularly point out a few songs that define me, I think… actually… there might be a few but I just can’t remember the names of them!

    I remember one, that reminds me of my early, early childhood, road tripping to our new home from NSW to Western Australia: “Evil Woman” and “Mr Blue Sky” – such old songs that my dad would play on a tape in his car while we drove!

  81. Melissa says...

    Ok. Simply because this post elicited a huge wealth of emotion and memory… 1. Muse: Madness. I was in between a marriage of 21 years and a new relationship that was equally a puzzler. 2. Eric Clapton: Layla. I was Layla if only in my imaginations. 3. U2: I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. For obvious reasons.
    4. Jon Bon Jovi: Livin’ On A Prayer. Because Bon Jovi that’s why. 5. The Killers: Jenny. Story song of the century. 6. Mumford and Sons: Snake Eyes. Because we’ve all been “there”. Love to you and your readers.

  82. alison says...

    The acoustic version of “Land Down Under” by Men at Work always makes me tear up. I know its dumb, but hear me out! Driving home from dinner one freezing cold night, in the budding stages of a relationship with a wonderful but significantly older man, it came on the radio. We both quietly listened. And as it played, I realized how much I loved him. And the fears I had about our ages seemed so small, and so worth the risk. And I was thankful just to be with him, in a car, listening to the radio.

  83. The entire Incubus album “Morning View” takes me right back to my Senior year of highschool… driving my firebird with my t-tops off and feeling so independent and free and like anything was possible!!!

  84. M says...

    I think NPR put out a similar challenge to this years ago- to pick 5 songs that defined your life and explain why. While I could easily rattle off 10-20 songs, here’s a few that are part of my formative memories:
    1. Being woken up by the Dixie Chick’s Ready to Run title track in middle school (thanks, Mom.)
    2. My Dad blasting Stevie Nicks’s Edge of 17 the day before my 17th birthday.
    3. My then-friend, now husband, sent me Ben Harper’s Forever on facebook message. We’d spent two months hanging out on a Greek island far from both our homes, bonding over music, running and great books. Such incredible memories.
    4. When I was in high school our town got hit by two bad hurricanes in a row. We were out of power for 2, maybe 3 weeks. At some point you get so desperate for air-con that we all climbed in my Dad’s truck and drove to the next town. The classic rock station kept playing the Scorpions’ Rock you like a hurricane. To this day hearing it brings me back to a muggy August day driving around South Florida surveying all the fallen trees and damaged storefronts.

    It’s a bit of an interesting question, as there are plenty of songs that I love and consider all time favorites, but these examples are actual moments associated with music that are ingrained in my memory. It somehow makes the songs even more special

  85. Caitlin says...

    I walked down the aisle to dreams by cranberries!!! An all time favourite and one that makes me cry every.single.time! Also the live version of Jane Says by Janes Addiction, it was playing after our 20weeks ultrasound with our little girl and I cried and cried (song is sad, moment was happy) and now it takes me back there every time I hear it. Great post 😊

  86. Beth says...

    Oh my gosh, yes! You’ve got mail and that song were part of my dream of moving to New York City, too. My best friend and I moved there from Mississippi after graduating from college to share an air mattress on the floor of a friend of a friend’s apartment. You better believe we went to Café Lalo the first week!

  87. Christie says...

    Love that dress! This is great; I’ll have to think more, but what comes to mind is Smashing Pumpkins, 1979. Smashing Pumpkins was a bit of a make out group with my high school boyfriend. Also, driving in high school and blasting Alanis Morrissettes Jagged Little Pill (the album) on my cassette player. Finally, Louis Armstrong’s Kiss to build a dream on, which reminds me of cooking in my now husband’s apartment in college, drinking cheap wine and listening to jazz. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  88. Emily says...

    Seriously. This blog, it’s writers, it’s content is THE BEST. Nothing compares

    • Liz C. says...

      totally agree! just said the same thing out loud to myself!

    • Rachel says...

      I couldn’t agree more!

    • Music lover says...

      Yes. I never fails to uplift me with everything from an honestly touching post, some dress inspo or nosing around some cool woman’s Brooklyn apartment. I LOVE it!

  89. Anyone who likes Joe Fox + Kathleen Kelly is alright with me! A couple of songs come to mind that have become part of my life’s soundtrack….Breathe Me by Sia because I always intentionally played it during times of transition in my life and Wait It Out by Imogen Heap because I’ll always associate that tune with one particular day.

  90. Brittany says...

    When my son was born, I was surprised by how much he hates his car seat. His screams would leave us both in tears each and every ride. By chance, Johnny Cash’s song Like A Bridge Over Troubled Water came on and he magically just… stopped crying. I played it super loud, on repeat, every drive with him. Now he’s over 2 and Johnny Cash is no longer needed since we can have conversations in the car. I still think of those lyrics and how appropriate they are for motherhood, and I daydream about dancing to the song at his wedding someday, and I end up in tears all over again.

    • Bethany says...

      And lyrics that are so fitting for a mother-son relationship, too! Great song!!

  91. Jenn I says...

    Nothing compares 2 U reminds me of singing at the top of my
    Lungs with my girlfriends while my Mom drove us to a gymnastics meet.

    Anything Frank Sinatra reminds me of my mom

    Dave Matthews Band Remember Two Things album reminds me of making out with my high school boyfriend under his pool table

    Garth Brooks reminds me of laying on the bed with my roommates in college singing all of the songs

    There’s so many more. :)

  92. Music lover says...

    Oh my gosh I love this post. A very significant song for me is Etta James’ At Last. When I met my first real boyfriend he had it playing one night when I turned up at his house and we stood in his doorway kissing to it! He was such a romantic guy (he once kissed my whole body in time to Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue… we were 18!) and introduced me to so much old time music. Not hard to see why I fell in love with him. We’re both happily married to other people now but I still can remember this time so clearly.

  93. Eliza says...

    Bob Seger’s Against the Wind album is so nostalgic for me. My family spent each summer of my growing up at a nearby beach club with friends. My dad would let me play that tape over and over during the drive there and home each day (yes, it was most definitely a cassette player back then). I always smile when I listen to it. Mazzy Star’s Fade Into You takes me back to the early (dorm room) days of my relationship with my husband. It’s moody and calming to me still and makes me want to snuggle up under a black light.

    :-)

    • Cherie says...

      Mazzy Star Fade Into You, this takes me right back. I still love it

  94. Amy says...

    Willie Nelson songs take me back to early childhood. ‘Grove is in the Heart’ by Dee-Lite to high school swim team. I can smell chlorine when I hear it now. ‘Seven Nation Army’ by the White Stripes reminds me of walking to work in the snow very pregnant with my first child. ‘Tongue Tied’ by Grouplove takes me back to seeing them seven years ago. It was so much fun that my husband and I made a resolution to see live music once a month. Now it’s usually 2 or 3 shows. Best resolution ever and the only one I think I have ever kept.

  95. Sara says...

    YES! The Graceland album in general is the soundtrack of my childhood, my first musical memory and absolute favorite album. Seeing Paul Simon perform You Can Call Me All this summer was magic.

    James Taylor’s “Sarah Maria” was my favorite lullaby, I think my Mom sings it best.

    Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors.’

    Cory Branan’s “Tall Green Grass” always takes me back to college summers- it sounds like soft filtered light, country roads, and all things warm and wonderful.

    Lucero’s “Nights Like These” is the sound of countless open window, late night car rides with my best friends. We’d drive all up and down the east coast to hear Ben Nichols sing each raspy word in person, always at the front with fellow fans who became friends, beer spilling on us all as we’d dance and sing until we were hoarse.

  96. Kelly says...

    Love this post! I’m excited to see more new content, coming from new editors, that still manages to feel authentically “Cup of Jo.” Well done Stella :)
    The all american rejects -It ends tonight helped me put so many miles on the treadmill after my first real heartbreak lol.

    • Emily says...

      Haha! Yes, but for me it was Ben Folds Live and stationary bike.

  97. Lisa says...

    Growing up my dad would sing us Cadillac Ranch by Bruce Springsteen every night as a lullaby. It was actually the song we chose as our father-daughter dance (originally I wanted it to be Jimmy Buffet Little Miss Magic, but my dad said he would cry through the whole thing so we chose Cadillac Ranch). I still remember his rough, gravelly voice singing that not so appropriate for a lullaby to us as I fell asleep.

    • Nicole says...

      So sweet that your lullaby became your father daught dance! I grew up with James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James as my lullaby and love hearing other non-traditional examples!

  98. Lynn says...

    I spent a majority of high school singing Third Eye Blind songs while driving in the hills finding myself (well that sounds pathetic, ha!) and pining over Stephen Jenkins, the lead singer. Their songs take me back.

    There’s a Strokes song (not sure what it’s called) that was playing on my ipod after a fight with a boyfriend. I remember loving hearing it at the time, I was walking in North Beach in SF and full of anger but that song was like a ‘Yeah! It’s gonna be fine! Whatever!’

  99. Ann M says...

    I turned the big 5-0 a few years back and reflected on the one or two songs that defined each period of my life. I referenced Billboard’s top sellers lists, too. I made a list and my brother burned cds (old school, I know..) that we played at my birthday party in our backyard. It is like the soundtrack for my life! (in case anyone ever wants to make a film) I still love to listen to these cds on road trips. Our House by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young is the ode to my newlywed life. Ah, music.

    • Leah says...

      What a great idea for a milestone birthday!

  100. I adore the scene in You’ve Got Mail where the Cranberries song plays. I heard the song last week and it gave me such a rush. Don’t be embarrassed! :)

  101. Caitlin says...

    One of the bests posts I’ve ever read. This is perfect.

  102. Sweet Thing by Van Morrison and again by The Waterboys. Same song, different times of life invoking different members, by different artists. Oh, that one gets me big time. Heartache, heartswell, independence!

    Middle Cyclone, Neko Case. I was in my first apartment alone. I was freshly single, just me and my beloved pup. I remember wine and an ever-present roar in the fireplace.

    Don’t Do It, The Band. Oh, unrequited love and road trips! I’ll be real, anything by The Band or Levon Helm will transport me somewhere else.

    1,000 Kisses by Patty Griffin. The entire record takes me back to being 20 and feeling like I was starting to figure this whole life thing out. I wasn’t.

    Ordinary Child, Paul Simon. Being in love and going on adventures.

    • Karen says...

      Sweet Thing makes my heart jump and I have to catch my breath whenever I hear it. Even just seeing the title in print brought back my 17 year old self.

  103. kim says...

    “you made me so very happy ” blood sweat and tears , “crystal blue persuasion” tommy james and the shondelles , “I just want to celebrate ” rare earth, “all day music” war. pretty much songs that were played during the summer at parties growing up – all happy, all up beat which is where i want to be.

  104. Elizabeth says...

    Hands down, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors album — 1977 — most evocative music in my life. Next would be anything from the Talking Heads in 1988. Two really great years for me!

    • M says...

      Hearing Rumors as my first real high school relationship ended changed my life. That is not an exaggeration. What a beautiful, heartbreaking, perfect album.

  105. Darnelle says...

    Music has always had a strong influence to me and anything by Todd Rundgren, is the soundtrack of my life…

    • kim says...

      ok, i can’t believe i forgot Todd Rundgren!” love is the answer ” is so the best song and ‘hello it’s me” ?? – I LOVE that song!

  106. Lauren says...

    Love this topic so much.
    While My Guitar Gently Weeps – was on a mix (CD, I think?) my high school boyfriend gave me. He was a musician, later broke my heart :)
    Highwayman by the Highwaymen – reminds me of singing this tipsily with my current boyfriend when we first got together.

  107. Gigi says...

    “Lift Me Up” by Jeff Lynne immediately brings me back to my childhood in Nashville. My dad used to crank it up on the stereo in our living room after dinner. Out of all the truly great music that he’s introduced me to, nothing feels more intimate or familiar, like the soundtrack to the home movies of my memory. When I get married someday, I hope my dad and I get to dance to “Lift Me Up,” because he certainly has.

  108. I love this! Mine would be “Walking on Sunshine ” – Katrina and the Waves, for the bleary eyed drives down to Cornwall, “Dream Catch Me” – Newton Faulkner for the days I spent at University and “Still Into You” by Paramore which is “our” song, the lyrics sum up mine and my husbands 14 year relationship perfectly! x

  109. Sharom says...

    Depeche Mode, Somebody. Cassette player, in a VW Bug, McDonalds parking lot with ‘my friend,’ but future husband~

  110. Lovely post! Every day on the way to high school, my twin sister’s boyfriend drove us. I was literally the third wheel, but from the back seat I’d demand he played “Number 18” on his CD which was “Still Fly” by Big Tymers. To this day, I can’t listen to it without smiling.

    The second song is “Hey Stephen” by Taylor Swift. I weirdly loved this song when her first album came out, and listened to it religiously to get through a break up. Years later, I’m married to a man named Stephen. :)

  111. Ivy says...

    When I got married, I picked the George Strait tune “I Cross My Heart” for my father-daughter dance. My dad emotionally (and a little sloshed), later told me he thought it should have been “Cowboy Rides Away” instead. He’s always worn a cowboy hat and been a tough man, so I was brought to tears when he said that. He felt his job raising me was “done” and it was his time to ride away. Seriously, cue the waterworks!

    Can’t listen to 50 Cent songs without thinking of my mother’s midlife crisis. “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz was the first song my gushingly sweet 18-year-old boyfriend told my 17-year-old self reminded him of me; we’re married now! Every Weird Al son reminds me of my brother. And “Carry Out” by Justin Timberlake brings me right back to the dorm room and unplanned dance parties.

    Songs really do hold so many memories!

  112. Barbara says...

    Ok, really going to show my age here! You’re So Vain reminds me of a family trip to see my cousins. I was with my slightly older cousin as she got dressed to go to a school dance and we both started singing, grabbing hair brushes for our mics! I grew up in NJ, so any Bruce song, but at the end of summer (not necessarily when I send my kids off to school, but when I can’t possibly make it to the beach anymore), I have to listen to 4th of July (Sandy), and The Boys of Summer by Don Henley to signify to myself that summer is, indeed, over, and fall is here! And For a Dancer by Jackson Browne, just because it is one of the most beautiful songs and was on a constant loop during my high school days.

    • Jenn says...

      For a Dancer is one of the best songs ever written. But then again, pretty much most of Jackson’s songs are pure genius. My family saw his solo acoustic show this past summer. Just amazing.

  113. Katelyn says...

    this post is so great. brings back happy memories.

    when I was a child, my mom used to sing the mamas and the papas to me – specifically “Dream a Little Dream (of me).” I ended up having it played at her memorial service. Almost 9 years since she passed, and I still cannot listen to it without being happy/sad/comforted all at once.

  114. I want to hold you hand, I babysat for a wealthy family growing up and they had a record player with original Beatles Vynils from the 60’s. I always remember thinking how I wanted to live in a big house one day like theirs and sing Beatles songs to my kids!

  115. This was so good. Songs can bring you right back can’t they?
    I had a very strong connection to my childhood dog, Sox. We got her when I was six and I spent my childhood tromping through the woods with her from breakfast until dinner. One summer while I was home from university Sox suddenly got sick. She was really old, 18, but she had never shown it and it was somehow a huge shock to me. The vet told us her kidneys were failing and there was nothing to be done. We took her home and I slept next to her on the floor for our last night together. I couldn’t sleep and just as the sun was coming up I put on Billie Holiday’s I’ll be seeing you and we listened to it on repeat for hours. It seems like such a peaceful way to say goodbye to my old friend and I still tear up when I hear it.

    • Jeannie says...

      Okay, your sweet story legit made me cry. Rest in peace all the best dog friends ever!

    • alison says...

      me too! what a sweet story. xo

    • Awww thank you Jeannie and Alison! It was one of those moments that is so sad, but that I still feel so grateful to have lived with her. It taught me that there is a good way to leave this world, and I really believe she wasn’t afraid because she felt loved. All dogs to go heaven after all ;) xxx

  116. Dee says...

    My college roommate (now my best friend) was a U2 superfan and had their entire catalog. She had an unrequited crush on a total idiot of a sophomore, and she ended up playing With Or Without You on many a lonely night. I still love that song, but I can’t hear it now without chuckling a little. We both learned to harmonize by listening to Simon & Garfunkle, and belted the la-la-la part in The Boxer at the top of our lungs. And we absolutely WORE OUT my Sublime CD, and sang the raunchy parts in Caress Me Down extra loud because we were just SO badass.

  117. Oh god. Just reading you mention “Someday” by the Strokes gave me a big hit of nostalgia.

    Tables they turn sometimes…

  118. It’s funny, but for some reason I can’t think of any songs that stand out. I’m just not terribly musical. The only thing I can think of is Fleur de Lis and Moonlight sonata reminding me of my grandfather who still, at almost 98, plays the piano every day.

    Smells, on the other hand, there are millions! The smell of bacon reminds me of my paternal grandmother, as does the smell of bourbon. Breakfast sausage reminds me of my maternal grandmother. Coty powder takes me back to watching my mom get dressed when I was little. The smells of leather, sweat, and glue transport me back to the ballet studios of my youth. Finesse shampoo makes me think of annual beach vacations with my sisters and friends when we all shared a bottle in the outdoor shower. Pearberry lotion from Bath and Body works takes me back to sitting in my first love’s parent’s basement and not making out with him, but DYING for him to kiss me. I have a perfume that takes me instantly back to my honeymoon, and Burt’s Bees bubble bath makes my mama heart explode. Smell memories are so strong for me I even use different lotion on my kids on vacation so they will form the same memory links. My four year old will sometimes ask for “vacation lotion” so she can pretend she’s at the beach, and it makes me so happy.

    • stacia says...

      songs bring back great memories as do smells.
      a garage on a hot summer day with a lawnmower inside. i can smell the cut grass from the blades and it puts me in hendersonville tenn in my aunt and uncle’s garage. still to this day i love that smell. :)

  119. Olivia says...

    Listening to Maria Mena’s album White Turns Blue still makes me feel like a 14-year-old experiencing her first heartbreak all over again!

  120. Tyler says...

    oh man, that feeling of a song taking you back is so powerful and instantaneous. paul simon’s graceland definitely reminds me of driving with my mom. she loved that song so much.

  121. Jessica says...

    Gosh I love this! The first song that defined my life was MMMBop. I just loved it. I remember thinking how cool the guitar and drum parts were. I found an old diary at my parents house that proudly declared, “I listened to MMMBop 47 times today!!! IT’S SO GOOD.” I’m sure my obsession was much to my parents chagrin but, man, I still love it to this day.

    So many others come to mind: Bohemian Rhapsody, The Future Freaks Me Out by Motion City Soundtrack, There Goes My Life by Kenny Chesney – which my parents (who were married as teenagers) and I listened to on an endless loop on our boat the summer before I left to go to college in Nashville and basically just sobbed for 3 straight months. I listened to La Cienga Just Smiled by Ryan Adams pretty much every day on my F train commute from Flatbush into Dumbo the fall I moved back north and interned at a music publicity company. Every time I hear it I can practically taste the light and sweet coffee in my hands, watching the seasons change as my train went through Brooklyn. I could go on!! Great post.

  122. mimi says...

    My first serious boyfriend in college had a CD by Saves the Day that would play as his alarm every morning. Every single time I hear the opening notes of that album (the song is “At Your Funeral” from the album “Stay What You Are”), I remember being in his bed. That was 15 years ago this month actually.

    • Tyler says...

      ooh boy saves the day was my high school soundtrack for sure!!

    • Abbie says...

      Yes! This album takes me back to freshman year at our Catholic high school, carpooling with my friend’s older brother, packed in the back of a Ford Explorer.

    • Gigi says...

      Sooooo much nostalgia when I hear that album. Saves the Day actually just performed at FYF Fest in LA this past weekend and they played Stay What You Are in its entirety. The crowd was going insane. Nostalgia is so powerful!

  123. laetitia says...

    Love this!!
    Here’s a few of mine:

    My dad would put on Walk of life by Dire Straits every Saturday morning, while vacuuming, windows wide open, and my sister and I would dance!

    As a little girl listening to this song on repeat in my grandma’s house by the ocean, on a small record pick up: Elle etait si Jolie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuHr_FhZGIQ

    Sharing earphones with my friends to listen to Smells like Teen Spirit by Nirvana while hiding to smoke cigarettes!

    At 15, Kissing my boyfriend (now my husband!) for the full length of Fool to Cry, by the rolling Stones: Over 5 min long!

    20 years old and in Rome for a year, in love with the city and a musician, we would listen to Parachutes from Coldplay almost everyday, and the opening of the album brings me right back to those lovely days…

    First year in the US, driving around Atlanta and blasting off Rio from Duran Duran – I especially loved that the song was named just like my (first) car – a Kia Rio!

  124. Pnid says...

    Edith Piaf’s “No regrets ”
    On another note–iPods existed when you were a freshman in high school?? You just made me feel so freaking old…

    • M ew says...

      Ha! Had the same thought!

  125. I was in college when Leona Lewis’ song “Bleeding Love” came out and there was one night about 6 of us girls were all crammed in a car late at night grabbing food and that song came on and we all whipped out our microphones (aka our cell phones) (mine was an LG chocolate, remember those??) and sang along for our “music video”. Haha! I think the video of it is still on Facebook somewhere.
    About 5 years ago, I had started seeing a guy who worked at the cafe I frequented and the first Dawes album, North Hills, had just come out. While the relationship didn’t work out, I can never listen to that album without all those warm fuzzy feelings of a new relationship, as well as the melancholy of it not working out, springing to the surface.

  126. Over the past two years I have reached a crazy level of fandom over the band Lord Huron, specifically the song “Time to Run”. Their songs tell such gorgeous stories and are absolutely perfect for day dreaming, and conjuring up one’s own tales. They have inspired me to take my creative writing to the next level, and for that they will forever have a piece of my heart.

    • Ann says...

      Oh my gosh, they’re the best!

  127. Simone says...

    You are the Best Thing by Ray Lamontange always makes me feel mushy/romantic and takes me back to my wedding dance.

    There’s a band called MUTEMATH who wrote a song titled “Prytania,” and it reminds me of when my oldest was a newborn. He loved the beat of that song and we listened to it pretty much on repeat for the first month of his life because it would instantly calm his fussing!

  128. Joanna Goddard says...

    Sarah McLachlan reminds me of college, Sondre Lerche and Serge Gainsbourg remind me of my twenties, and songs like Edelweiss and I Woke Up in a Fire Truck remind me of my thirties :)

  129. Oh this is so relevant. I think about this often when an old song comes on. Young The Giant’s song ‘My Body’ takes me back to graduating college and the elation I felt after my last class. Ellie Goulding’s Halycon album takes me back to a depressed time in my life where I felt lost, and about to graduate college. So interesting!

  130. Lauren E. says...

    I love this essay!! So many feels.

    There are so many songs in my life that trigger intense memories, but one of my favorites is “Take Good Care of My Baby” by Bobby Vee. All throughout my childhood my dad would sing the opening line (“Mah tears are fallin’!”) and it took me until I was about 13 to realize that was the opening of a song. Now whenever I hear that opening line I think of my dad, and I’m toying with using it as the father/daughter dance at my wedding in October!

  131. Samantha says...

    Mac Demarco’s Salad Days album always reminds me of a trip I took to Paris to see my best friend with my then boyfriend, now fiance. I can’t hear any song off that album without feeling like I’m back there!

  132. molly says...

    Love this post!!! My memories are usually related to either food or music and I have several songs that define major moments in my life.

  133. Natalie Brennan says...

    What a beautiful photo, Stella! Where is your dress from?

  134. Alice Quin says...

    I loved this essay! For me, my first time hooking up with my now husband, we were listening to keane. It is pretty cheesy music but really nice for that ;-)

  135. HILLARY says...

    I LOVE this post! I have always thought how crazy it is that you can hear a song 10 years later and the lyrics just come back to you. Nelly Furtado’s “I’m Like A Bird” came out right when I got my drivers license at 16. Every time I hear it, it takes me back to driving my friends around in my old Jetta blasting it and singing along

    • Jame says...

      haha, I accidentally rear-ended a car when I was 16 because I was belting along to “I’m Like a Bird” (so that’s always my first association with it).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes to that song! i remember listening to it with friends, too.

  136. Bridget says...

    Back to School by Jack Johnson- it makes me cry and used to make me sob! I went back to school to get my law degree when my youngest of 4 went to kindergarten. We moved for my law school, moving to a big city and small apartment and away from a sweet house in a sweet neighborhood with sweet friends. It was a tough move and I thought that my kids would never make great friends again and that I ruined their lives. I definitely changed their lives, hopefully for the better, but when that song comes on I still get a little weepy and nostalgic for a simpler time.

  137. When Beyoncé’s self titled (secret) album came out 3 years ago I had just left on a trip with my new husband, than boyfriend. We spent a week in Malibu, rented a small house on the beach and made no plans other than relaxing and enjoying the stillness of the quite beach town. I was pregnant and it was our last vacation alone (we now have 2 children together). Every song on the album reminds me of driving in our rented convertible up into the canyons, along the ocean, singing, smiling and laughing together. It was a special trip. We did so little, which gave us all the time in the world to enjoy each other, rather than activities. I always think of that trip so fondly, and Beyoncé was part of that :)

    xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  138. What a great idea for a post. The first song that comes to mind for me is Swing Life Away by Rise Against, it played all the time the summer I met my still boyfriend when we used to work together. Another would be Skater Boy by Avril Lavigne (no regrets!), when I was 16 and got my driver’s license my girlfriends and I would drive around with this song on repeat.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Omg, Sarah, I lived for those songs, too. So funny to think about.

  139. Susan Davies says...

    Born To Run, Bruce Springsteen – Grade 13 teachers strike in Toronto, Canada. She’s No Lady She’s My Wife, Lyle Lovett – first dance, second wedding. Handle Me With Care and You’re Not Alone, The Travelling Wilburys – when I am happy. Suddenly I See, K.T. Tunstall and Cause the Next Time He Cheats, Carrie Underwood – anthems.

  140. Jame says...

    I absolutely love this (and the picture). The Strokes always remind me so vividly of being 17 years old. I think my best date in recent memory involved pouring over the fella’s ipod and comparing how much we loved particular songs at certain points in our lives (and finding out where those songs overlapped).