When you walked out your door this morning, it was probably the first thing you smelled: spring. It’s a sweet ripeness in the air that contrasts with the smokier, earthier scent of colder days weeks prior. It triggers an immediate emotional response that, at least in spring’s earliest days, is impossible to ignore.
It makes us more energetic, happier, louder. The Diag is bright, crowded and unnavigable. Palmer and Elbel are ridden with runners and frisbee-ers. The library feels just that much brighter. Spring’s early days have always been injected with this kind of energy and each time they roll around, I feel great nostalgia for the places I’ve been and the person I was the past times they’ve made their visit.
This year, nostalgia has manifested itself in a great appreciation for the music of my childhood: Beck, Gorillaz, Moby and Oasis to name a few. These are artists my mom would play on our household stereo (essentially a round boombox with CD and cassette capabilities) back in 2005.
Beck’s “Que’ Onda Guero” from his 2005 album Guero is a bouncy Mexican-infused funk anthem. I only found it again while going song by song through the album, which I recognized from seeing its hard-copy form as a child. Gorillaz has a couple well-known hits from this time: “Clint Eastwood” off their 2001 Gorillaz and “Feel Good Inc.” off their 2005 Demon Days.
What’s really excited me lately though have been lesser-known bops like “Rock the House” and “Dirty Harry.” Moby’s “Extreme Ways” will always be a post-9/11 era period piece for me, especially given that my mom works in news research. Oasis’s (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? is another cover I instantly recognized when Spotify suggested “Some Might Say.” Oasis’s sound — though influenced by a lineage of English rock from the Beatles to the Clash and beyond — is incredibly recognizable, even if all you know as a University student is the “Wonderwall” frat remix.
I’m still able to associate vivid memories with some of these sounds from the deepest chasms of my memory. They make me remember the one time my whole neighborhood’s power went out, and my parents and I burned candles and listened to our CD collection as we played “Go Fish” (this was, in retrospect, the first time I understood the ambience of candle lighting). They make me remember making paper maché volcanoes with the Beck lyric “make their dreams out of paper maché” standing out in my head. They make me remember dancing with my best friend Nikita on a gym bench shouting, “I’m happy, I’m feeling glad, I got sunshine, in a bag!”
Now, looking back, it is a bit funny that I had a vague understanding of some of these explicit themes at such a young age. It doesn’t matter if you were listening to Bruce Springsteen or Biggie, though. The tunes of your childhood still have a transportive quality that no other music you’ll discover in the future ever will. If you haven’t recently, go back to those first sounds that defined your idea of what music was. Walking on a sunny spring day, you’ll hardly feel like you’ve gone anywhere since the first time you heard them play.