I assume I am not the only person to have Pandora streaming at my desk throughout the week.
And I’ve noticed, as I’m sure many of you have, that my Pandora stations all slowly start sounding the same. They all trend to the late 80s synth-pop and 90s emo/grunge. It doesn’t matter where I start. Somehow Erasure and Counting Crows and Oasis and OMD and Pearl Jam all end up taking over my computer. It becomes Perfect Blue Buildings and Oh L’Amour.
Simultaneously, the sounds streaming from the office down the hall pre-date the my Pandora’s by about a decade or so. Jeff has a few years on me and his stations all end up being early 80s mash-ups.
So when Semisonic’s “Closing Time” came on this morning, I decided to lean into it rather than recoil in shame. The song came out late in my high school days. I worked at Outback Steakhouse and remember dreaming with a friend of mine who worked at a different location how cool it would be if they would play that song every night at closing time. (Leave me alone, you were 17 once…)
I, therefore, have some positive association with an otherwise mediocre song. It was a hopeful reminder that my shift cleaning bar mats and baseboards in between discarded food was eventually bound to end.
It turns out there is a science to all of this.
There is a reason that everyone reverts to the music of their “coming-of-age” years, why your Dad probably listens to the same music he always has and why you will too. There is a reason that the first time I heard “my music” on the Classic Rock station I was embarrassed…and why I then made sure to program that preset into my car for future enjoyment.
This link is only a tiny sliver of the research into memory and music and the associations we make. Google it. Go learn. Then head right back into those songs that defined your hormone-infused years before “real life” hit and yearning for the care free days of your youth began.