You don’t need to be a scientist to know that music has all sorts of lovely and positive effects on us. I’m also finding that it’s helping me recall events while I write. Ever hear a song that brings memories flooding back to you faster than water running from a faucet? I find that I recall entire days just from listening to a particular song that I loved around that time.
So I’ve found myself turning to music whenever I’m trying to piece events that happened years ago together while writing my memoir. When I feel like I have a bit of a memory block, I try and think of the songs that I was listening to a lot at that particular point in time, then I play the song and let my brain do the rest. Usually the music not only brings back memories, but also helps me to relive whatever emotions I was feeling at the time. Cool, huh? (Well, not so cool when it’s something that you’ve been trying to forget, like the incident that involved a kebab and the pavement. I’ll let your imagination do the rest).
Here are the main songs I’ve been playing over the last couple of memoir-writing months, and the scenes that they have helped me with.
Aaliyah feat. Drake – Enough Said
When I first moved back to Dubai in 2012, this was my ringtone. So whenever anyone* would call me (*Ankit), this would play for a few seconds. When I listen to it now it brings back a lot of lovely memories of those first months that Ankit and I had together as a couple. Reminds me of walking on the beach and eat Timbits, and late night conversations with homemade mojitos and fajitas!
David Grey – Sail Away
This was the first song that Ankit ever ‘dedicated’ to me. Just after we first met, I left Dubai ‘for good’ so we were apart for four months. When I got to Cyprus, we were talking on Facebook, and he asked me to listen to this song and said it was for me. SO ridiculously cheesy of us, but I absolutely loved it, and spent many hours playing it and thinking of him. Altogether now: baaaaarf!
Calvin Harris – Feel So Close
Aaaand in response to Ankit’s cheesy gesture, I sent him this song. I was obsessed with this throughout 2012 and a lot of 2013, too, so it brings back a lot of general memories of living in Dubai and getting ready to leave the city I had called home for seven years. Some questionable ‘drunk and stupid’ memories are associated with this tune, too.
Bananarama – Venus
For my memoir I had to recall some incidents from my childhood, which is easier than you think. All I had to do was play songs like this and plenty of stuff came back to me. My mum was obsessed with Bananarama back when I was about eight-years-old, so their tape was playing in our car pretty much non-stop (Yes, a tape. Yes, I’m old). This is one of the songs that I loved. I mean, who doesn’t love 80s music?!
Madonna – La Isla Bonita
Just like Bananarama, we used to play a lot of Madonna back when I was a little kiddie. This is another song that I liked to write those early scenes to.
Rihanna – Diamonds
Ah, this was another song that I was obsessed with back in 2013 and that, strangely enough, I never got bored of! This again reminds me of the early months with Ankit, living in Silicon Oasis, getting used to being in a serious relationship for the first time, and focusing on trying not to kill each other…
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan – O Re Piya
Spoiler alert: Ankit and I broke up briefly back in 2013. It was an utterly miserable time; I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t do anything but cry my eyes out and drink cider in my PJs. I’ve never experienced anything as bloody horrible as that before. I played this song on loop, over and over again, to the point that now when I listen to it I still feel pangs of sadness. Great for emotive writing!
Aretha Franklin – (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
More cheese at its best. When I first got together with Ankit I used to play this. A lot. And I found it’s also a great song to write to, so it makes the list!
That’s it for now! I’ve turned to so many songs over the last six weeks that I have enough for a second list…
What songs do you like to write to and why?