Have you ever heard a song – on the radio or in a store or someone humming it on the bus – and it just takes you back to a really specific time in your life? The best music can be like a time machine, and these are some of the songs that never fail to take me back.
1 . Sugar, We’re Goin Down – Fall Out Boy
Okay, it’s cheesy and I know it – but I listen to this song and I could be back in 2007; 13 years old and for the first time discovering music that wasn’t in the charts. It was the first time I had fallen in love with a band and I must have listened to From Under the Cork Tree hundreds of times over the course of that summer. It was one of my really good friends who introduced me to it and it will always remind me of long summer days laid on the trampoline in her back garden, talking about nothing and blasting Sugar We’re Goin Down from the CD player in the kitchen because neither of us had discovered iPods yet.
2. Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival
You know how every holiday has an anthem? Well during my two week road trip around California, Arizona and Nevada, this was the unlikely winner. It was like it was following us around: it kept cropping up on our tour guide’s playlist, it was on the jukebox in a bar we went to in San Francisco, it was someone’s ringtone in Seligman, Arizona. I hadn’t heard it in years and yet suddenly it was everywhere, so we did the obvious thing and adopted it as our theme tune. We blasted it as we drove down Highway 1, sang along as we inched through traffic in downtown LA and completely leaned into the fact that the spirit of CCR was clearly following us around the West coast.
3. All Will Be Well – Gabe Dixon Band
This has been one of my favourite songs for a good few years now, but it was in July 2016 that it really found it’s place in my heart. I had just said goodbye to one of my best friends before she flew back home to Mexico and it broke my heart not knowing how long it would be before I would see her again. On the drive home, I had to pull over because I was crying so hard, and I realised that I was grieving: not just for her, but for myself and for all the other people I would have to leave behind. I had managed to push it to the back of my mind that I would be going home soon but suddenly it was this undeniable fact and I couldn’t imagine how I could leave this life I had built for myself. Then, this song came on the radio. It was such a simple lyric, but it was so powerful and it struck such a chord with me in that moment that I won’t forget for a very long time: all will be well.
4. All of the Stars – Ed Sheeran
This song will forever remind me of one of the best nights I have lived so far. It was at a campsite just outside Bishop, California – which according to our tour guide has the best air in the continental US. We were just north west of Death Valley and it had been an absolutely exhausting and incredibly hot day. We were winding down and getting ready to go to sleep, and even though it was cooling down quickly, me and my best friend dragged our sleeping bags out from the tents to sleep under the open sky, surrounded by the peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains. As the lights in the campsite started to go out, the night got more and more beautiful. It was the first time I had ever seen the Milky Way and it was more incredible than I could have imagined; like a ribbon of stars spread out across the sky. I lay side by side with one of my favourite people on the planet, and we listened to this song with one headphone each as the earth turned and millions of stars moved across the sky.
5. Collide – James Bay
I should never have seen James Bay in concert and that’s a fact. Fate was so stacked against me – the tickets were bought out from under us while I went to get my card details, then they sold out, the tickets we finally found didn’t arrive until the day of the concert and we were on track to be incredibly late. The doors opened at 7:30pm and at 8:30pm we were still stuck in barely-moving Philadelphia traffic with no idea how to get to the Fillmore and no clue at all how or where to park. We sprinted into the venue, sure we would have missed almost everything, elbowed our way to where our friend was standing at the front and instantly the lights went out and this song started. We could not have timed it better if we tried and it felt like such a good omen. What followed was one of the best live shows I have ever seen and I stood four rows from the front and belted out every single word, with a very happy heart.
Let me know the songs that take you back in the comments!