Inside 1979 | Why does music evoke memories?

Inside 1979 | Why does music evoke memories?


1979 is the song that does it for me. There are many hits from the pumpkins especially back in the 90s. with the likes of Tonight tonight, Mayonaise, Cherub rock and Bullet with Butterfly Wings to name a few. However, 1979 itself is exclusively unique even within the “Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” setlist. The uniqueness of this song comes down to the distinctiveness of the music that makes this a pioneer in a sub-genre to the existing alternative rock in its years. – showcasing the marriage of musical elements that are so simple yet compatible with one another. It goes down to the reality that even with how simplistic the sound is you can’t sugar coat with the fact that this is a very well written piece, that not many modern music could match with it even with better equipments available today. This song might not be poignant but enough to emanate all the emotions that it require. This is probably a letter by Billy Corgan that tributes to his childhood memories. That eventually makes the year 1979 irrelevant to the message this song convey. for instance in my context, 2007 to 2009 was probably my very own 1979. If you compare both 1979 by the pumpkins and 83 by John Mayer, one conveys the emotion of a teenager while the latter is exclusive to the emotion of a six year old. and that “1979” or teenage years were the best years of crop of genuine friendships. You no longer make friendship like that as adults, doing fun things- going out in a car together with no purpose in a town you grew up in. Cretien van Campen, author of The Proust Effect: The Senses as Doorways to Lost Memories makes an important observation about what happens outside of our heads. He pointed out that “Smell differs in that it is a personal memory, whereas there is something very social in our experience of music,” “Music memories are often shared with peers.” There are different kinds of memory, including explicit and implicit memory. Explicit memory is a deliberate, conscious retrieval of the past, often posed by questions like: where was I that summer? Who was I travelling with? Implicit memory is more a reactive, unintentional form of memory. Psychologists have called it the ‘reminiscence bump’. It may work this way because this is an especially important and exciting time in our lives, when we are experiencing things for the first time and when we become independent. Everything is new and meaningful. For younger generation today, this music might have been from a different era but it still brought them to the place that they’ve never been to; that nostalgic atmosphere even for the first time listeners. The song reminds you that its eccentricity lies beneath the fact that it is musically intricate yet coherent. original, yet not too radical. a song that is against a typical classical genre, yet still is a classic to those who wants it to be.

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