It’s hard for me to think of anything more evocative than music and smell. I can hear an old song, sniff something familiar, and I’m in a time machine. I might be completely engrossed in one thing and all it takes is the opening chords of “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da,” and I’m right back on the upper west side laughing with Isidra, Maria, and Jesse. An old sweetheart of mine wore Old Spice and there are moments when I pass someone on the street and pick up that scent, and my heart starts beating and I can see him and I can see myself at 24 years old, bounding down Church Street with bare knees, smiling to see him at a bar.
Lately I’ve been hearing song after song that reminds me of old flames and places, different times. I feel like I’m in an indie movie– driving and strolling around Los Angeles, constantly hearing old songs that remind me of old beaus. Some of the memories are so thrilling– my blood rushes to my head and I can’t stop smiling. But some of them are a little more difficult to hang on to, and my stomach drops and my chest gets jittery. My goodness, music is like a frigging drug, isn’t it? It can keep you locked into a moment, but you can also soar back to the past. I can’t get over its power, how it can create such past and present experiences. A few of my greatest time machine hits:
- “Slip Sliding Away,” Paul Simon
- “Strange Magic,” ELO
- “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters,” Elton John
- Romeo and Juliet soundtrack–the whole damn thing reminds me of being 16 and 17 and smoking cigarettes at Isidra’s and obsessing (I mean whole hog, firm grip, slack jawed obsession) over my high school crush
- “Everybody Got Their Something,” Nikka Costa
- “Somebody That I Used to Know,” Gotye