When Music Takes You Back

Have you ever had a time when your ears caught a piece of a song and immediately you’re swept away to an experience in your past? The time, the place, the faces… the sights, the smells, the feeling. Music has an incredible power to take us back; to allow our minds to revisit a deep memory that we may not have thought about in quite some time. I’ve always found this to be such a magical thing, and I was curious to discover the songs, bands, and experiences that are forever linked in the minds of others… so I turned to five girls right here in our home office.

Free People Graphic Designer Kellyn

Kellyn, Associate Graphic Designer

Paul McCartney – RAM. This album reminds me of my best friends, of singing loud with the car windows down, of dancing, of Philadelphia… of summer! 

Free People Designer Jill

Jill, Design Assistant for Jackets

Metallica is the most nostalgic band for me. When I was little my older sister used to take me to this pop-up carnival in Asbury Park where I grew up. The guys running the Gravitron would blast Metallica’s “Ride the Lightning” record and I remember climbing up the walls, hanging upside down and feeling wild and free! I still feel that way when I listen to them, and I constantly thank my sister for letting me sneak her Metallica cassette tapes under my parents’ radar. 

Free People Editorial Manager Julia

Julia, Editorial Manager

It’s one of my favorite things about music…its ability to transport you, how tied certain songs can be to very specific moments in our lives, so that those moments become almost tangible. There is one song that really stands out for me…it is so tied to a certain place, certain feeling, that to this day every time I hear it I can close my eyes and I am back in that moment. That song is Bob Marley’s “Is This Love,” the opening track on Legend.  Growing up my family spent summers in Ocean City, NJ, and during those summer vacations Legend was played often, usually in the evenings when we were back from the beach, making dinner and spending time together.  Every time I hear the opening notes of that song, I can smell the salty air, I can feel the carpet in our rental house beneath my feet as I dance around, slightly sunburnt, and just so young, innocent, and happy to be with my family. Life was so simple back then.

Free People Graphic Designer Lizzy

Lizzy, Senior Graphic Designer

Van Morrison – “Astral Weeks”. I have best memory of listening to this song… driving home from the beach with the sunset in my eyes… next to my boyfriend, salt water hair and feeling grateful.

Free People Videographer Carrie
Carrie, Videographer

I realize I have tons of stories to choose from…because I’ve come to associate so many songs with my friends — it’s like we curate a soundtrack together. T.Rex, ABBA, The Cure, Elton John, Patti Smith…they’re all representative of someone who means so much to me.

But one of the sweetest memories I have is after a not-so-awesome date many moons ago.
The date revolved around ice-skating, and I cannot skate to save my life. So I wasn’t feeling so confident by the end of the night. But Chris dropped me off at my apartment and said he would be right back. Sure enough, a few minutes later, he showed up with a 6-pack of some IPA something and walked over to the turntable in the living room, which was once the ballroom of the mansion that I lived in (which was broken into apartments – I did not have the fortune of living in a mansion all to myself). Anyway…he pulled out a record, started playing it, and grabbed my hand for a dance. It was “Catch the Wind” by Donovan…and maybe it’s a little tacky, but it was so sweet and my heart felt so happy. So happy. So yeah…Donovan always makes me smile a little bit.

What song or band transports you to another time and place?

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  1. My family and I were on our way back from spending the entire day at Walt Disney World. My father was driving the car and we were all tired; my eyes were droopy when the song “When You Wish Upon a Star” by Gene Simmons started playing on my iPod. Every now and then, whenever this song plays I remember that day and can feel the flush on my cheeks that I had acquired while running around that theme park, feeling all happy.

  2. Blind Melon. Despite their self titled and Soup being in heavy rotation for 10+ years whenever I hear songs from these particular two albums I immediately recall an amazing group of loving musicians that lived around the corner from, my sunflower skort…and i swear i even get a whiff of the orange blossom bath products that I used religiously. Music and scent transport me faster than anything. Blind Melon takes me to a time where its always sunny, dandelions are not weeds, and long warm summer nights lounging on worn in couches listening to the Holistics practice.

  3. So in love with Julia’s comment because I feel the exact same way about Legend! My dad raised me on Bob Marley music, especially this album. I relive my childhood every summer when we go to the beach and listen to this album together.

  4. Oh my, I was just thinking about this yesterday! Certain songs always bring back memories, if not accompanied by tears or smiles!

  5. Anytime I listen to Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd I feel like home. I remember my wonderful sunny afternoons, playing my Dad’s vinyls, opening windows and doors to let the sunlight in. Music takes me there.

  6. When I listen too musicians like Mat Kearney. It takes me back to all those long road trips my family and I take to go visit my grandparents. :D

  7. all too well by taylor swift, it reminds me of a long lost love and how i can’t forget it.
    next monday quote referring to this one “a song is as powerful as a time machine, it can bring you back to a certain somewhere with a certain someone.”

  8. The one song that always takes me back to one of the best summers I’ve ever had, the summer of just having graduated high school, is the song ‘Sea Legs’ by The Shins.

    I was driving in my little, white Ford Ranger with the windows down to go see my boyfriend at the time. I was going over the bridge that connects my city to the next and as I was crossing over it, ‘Sea Legs’ started playing. It was perfect. I was wearing my favorite sundress, the sun was shining, and boats were sailing by, my hair long and blonde blowing in the wind. I can still feel the warmth of the summer heat and the sun’s rays kissing my skin just thinking about it.

  9. I too love this experience. It can be a very bittersweet emotion when it overcomes you but i embrace it fully. I have so many songs that take me back. I cried at a Shins show once when James Mercer began singing New Slang because it brought me back. The strongest musical connection I have though is with Death Cab for Cutie’s album “Plans”. Any of those songs play and I’m mentally transported to my beat up ’92 Nissan convertible with the top down and I’m driving too fast down the back roads on my way home from a night with my friends and the first boy who made me say “I love you”. I was 16 and alive and free.

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