Moments and Songs and Memories

Like most people I meet, if I hear a certain songs, I get instantly transported to different moments in my past. An unfortunate number of these memories have to do with guys, some with deep sadness or immense joy, and some are just memories of driving to school. There are so many songs and albums that I’ll love, or hate, forever because of what they bring up.

Here are some of them:

Keep No Score (album), Sleeping at Last // A few days after I turned sixteen, I broke up with a guy in the car I’d barely driven, while a CD I’d burned just days before played in the background. The guy didn’t take the breakup well and it turned into more of a fight than anything else, him pleading with me and my telling him that it wasn’t going to work out. It was dramatic and hard, and it broke my heart to break his. It was nearly seven years before I could listen to Sleeping At Last again, which was probably the worst part of the whole breakup.

Hello Hurricane (album), Switchfoot // This album came out my freshman year of high school, just months after my parents split up. I was struggling with the adjustments of the split, with being a teenage girl, with what it meant to be a Christian. This album, in so many ways, carried me through that season. I listened to Switchfoot a lot in high school, but this album more than anything else. The idea that a hurricane cant “silence love” is what I needed to hear, and it’s what this album taught me.

Your Love is Strong, Jon Foreman // For a long time, this song was my go to answer for the question “If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?”. It’s still one of my favorites, and it carries me to a lot of definitive moments in my life, but most consistently reminds me of being a camper at LFR, and I think it always will.

DAMN. (album), Kendrick Lamar // This album came out the summer after I graduated college, and later that fall I wrote my first big grad school paper analyzing its lyrics.  More often than not, I would get in my car at school and play the album. After writing about it, and calling out it’s misogynistic lyrics, I haven’t listened to it much, but I still love it.

Speak Now (album), Taylor Swift // Remember that guy I said I broke up with in my car? Let’s just say that later, when he went home and I joined my friends at a sleepover, we listened to this album on repeat.

Poison & Wine, The Civil Wars // I think this is probably one of my top ten favorite songs of all time. It reminds me of a lot of things, but mostly of my sophomore year of high school, driving around in that new car, feeling more than I knew what to do with.

Heroes, Amanda Cook // The morning after I had a heart breaking experience with a dear friend (whom I had to accept would no longer be a friend), I woke up with lyrics from this song stuck in my head. “You taught my feet to dance upon disappointment,” the lyric went over and over again. My heart was so heavy and broken, but I was so sure that God was in the midst of it.

You Make Me Brave, Amanda Cook // Guatemala 2014, when I was so scared of what it meant to truly follow Jesus. Because of this song, “brave” became my word for the summer and a few months after I got back, I had it tattooed on my arm.

We Will Not Be Shaken (album), Bethel // When I was a camp counselor, we weren’t allowed to have our phones, so I had to burn CD’s at the beginning of the summer to play in my record player for my campers. Despite the number of CD’s I burned, We Will Not Be Shaken seemed to be the album most consistently played. So many songs on this album take me to different moments of that summer, but they all remind me of the freedom and joy that came with that job. It was such an incredible season.

Into You, Arianna Grande // In Spain, my homesickness manifested itself in a deep, deep desire to listen to American pop music. I still have a playlist on my Spotify, now titled “SPAIN.” that’s full of the top twenty songs from that summer, but I loved none of them as much as I loved Into You. I’d listen to this song all the time, so much so that it was my most listened to song of 2016. It drove me to become one of those people that would walk around with headphones in and dance as I walked down the street (Sorry, Carolina). I still love it, I still love Arianna.

I Write Sins Not Tragedy, Panic! At the disco // During sleepovers in middle school, we’d play some karaoke game on the Playstation, and this song was a group favorite. We would yell the curse words, feeling unstoppable and grown as twelve year olds. Bliss.

All Too Well, Taylor Swift // I’ll never hear this song and not think of Erin and high school and us driving around and screaming the lyrics as loudly as we could. We still react to the song the same way all these years later, rarely ending up in the car together without All Too Well being played. The lyrics hurt, every time, but I’m thankful I have fun memories with a best friend to overshadow the remnants of heartbreak.

Holocene, Bon Iver // Ivy and I have matching tattoos of lyrics from this song and over a year later I’m still really happy about that.

22 a million, Bon Iver // Senior year of college, traveling to LA, seeing Bon Iver at the Hollywood Bowl, listening to him as we drove across to Portland, seeing him again in Birmingham, nostalgia, nostalgia, nostalgia.

Emmanuel, Bryan and Katie Torwalt // Right after I found out some life shattering news last year, I got in my car and started driving back to my apartment from school. The playlist picked up where it had left off only minutes before, and as I was weeping into my steering wheel, working to make sure I could see the road, this song came on. The lyrics, singing of God’s continuous presence with us, made me cry harder. I felt nothing and everything and my sobs hurt, but God was there. I was at the intersection of 13th and 11th and I felt like my life was ending, but God was there. This song is probably going to turn into another tattoo, but who knows when.

Praise Before My Breakthrough (album), Bryan and Katie Torwalt // The right now.

Ashton Ray