I find that music, like the sense of smell, is closely tied to nostalgia. One may smell fresh cut grass and think of peewee football, his first home, or a college campus. One may also listen to The Clash and think of high school, the history channel, or a bad date at a dive bar.
Music often transports me when I least expect it.
Upon hearing Dancing Nancies by Dave Matthews band, I think of a campfire with friends and guitars; a midnight drive in high school when I jumped out of the car at a stop sign and began to dance in the headlights as my friend rolled down the windows, turned up the volume and laughed; an intimate night with a girlfriend.
Upon hearing Alison Krauss singing Slumber My Darling, I think of a time when my brother was in devastating circumstances, sunken on my thrift store chair, and healed through tears while listening to her voice.
Upon hearing Dollars and Cents by Radiohead, I'm transported to a midnight session of text books, coffee, computer and frustration of marathon studying for college finals.
Upon hearing the Hairspray soundtrack, I'm on the back of the stage of the Neil Simon theater, hearing my wife's foot steps pounding out the dance number of You Can't Stop the Beat as her silhoeutte sways over an empty stage.
And upon hearing Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, I'm in multiple places simultaneously: on the couch with my brother in a rented house and reverie, in a shuttle bus at the airport with my head in the stratosphere, with a good book and good coffee.
I find that music is a constantly cascading photo album that turns to an obscure page when I least expect it and sucks me into a memory all but forgotten.