Guest Post: My memory card is (over) full of music…

Woman Listening to Music

If my brain was a memory card, the memories would be sorted by song title and the darn chip would be full and giving you that warning that you are out of space – even that huge card you bought, sure you could NEVER fill it up.

Just the other day, I was driving along when Guns N’ Roses "Welcome to the Jungle" came on the radio. I knew every single word. I lamented the fact that I have to keep lists of every.single.thing I need to buy but know the words to every song on that album. And then I remembered how I used to play that tape (yes, tape) over and over again while I was in the shower. I felt like I was right back there again.

There are so many songs in my life that instantly mentally transport to the time when they played big roles in my life. Outkast’s "Hey Ya" came on the radio last week and I was instantly back in November 2003, visiting my brand new nephew and getting ready for our wedding, just back from a Disney World trip. I can even remember my favorite perfume at the time.

Even my earliest memories are tied to music. I’ve been hypothyroid my entire life and my mom would have to bring me to the hospital every summer to have my blood drawn. I remember riding in the car, probably about 3 or 4 years old, and listening to Steve Perry’s "Oh Sherrie" (and totally mishearing the lyrics, but that’s another whole post).

Unfortunately, this doesn’t only work for just happy memories. "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan was HUGE when my grandmother was dying. I still to this day cannot listen to this song – I turn it off immediately.

A very recent example – we went to a wedding on May 5th. I drank (far) more than I should have but had lots of fun. I was discussing songs we should request with somebody that had been a stranger before that night (another post) and "Starships" by Nickie Minaj came up and how much we both loved that song. I don’t think the DJ ever played it but I still associate that song with the night as well as "I’m Glad You Came" by The Wanted (which they did play).

And apparently I’m not the only person like this. Scientists have done many different studies involving music and the impact it has on our brains. A study discussed in 2009 and published on Live Science tells us that the ties between music and memories live in the medial prefrontal cortex of our brain. This is also the last area of the brain to atrophy, which explains why some Alzheimer’s patients can still identify with a song relevant to them, even when they don’t recognize anything else. This just demonstrates once again the powerful impact that songs can make on our lives. (Sorry for the psychology geek-speak; it was my major in college)

I don’t think I’ve even laid bare 1% of my medial prefrontal cortex to you in this post – music has embedded itself that much in my mind. It may sound like it bothers me but I love it for the most part – I can be redelivered to some of my life’s happiest moments with a few musical notes.

What songs are stored in your memory chip? What memories are they associated with?

Maggie blogs at Tethered Mommy and Literary Winner. She is a married SAHM to 2 kids. She is addicted to the Internet so you can find her online just about 24/7.


  1. […] already discussed in a guest post how music brings memories flooding back to me.  Well, aromas do the same thing to me, especially perfume smells.  I wore Tresor a lot in high […]