The strangest thing happened to me while reading a book in my apartment at the end of a long day at work and perhaps one too many glasses of wine. I was listening to Spotify, a song I’d never heard before. It felt both new and vintage, not old enough to fit in the memory that it evoked.
It was a memory of a rare time I spent in Boston. I’m sure it was the late 80’s, though when exactly is lost. I stayed in my parents apartment they had in the South End, because there was an event at the Collonade, which is only a brief walk from there.
They had a nice stereo at the time with a 6-CD (or maybe it was 5?) CD player. At the time it was amazing to think you could play 5 and a half hours of music without changing the CD. In it were usually the Talking Heads, Siena’s OConnor, Tom Waits, and Sting, or alternately Lori Anderson, Pat Metheney, Phillip Glass, and Steve Reich. They composed the sound of that time and space.
And somehow this song on Spotify brought on a melancholy that was that time and place and CD player. I felt a tear well up in my eye, the kind of tear that is half pain and joy, and nostalgia. I was there again. I found myself remembering the lover I had, the time we spent in that room, how we later grew apart. I could feel myself there, watching the street lights shine into the otherwise dark bedroom. The sounds of cars whooshing past. The smell of her hair. The feel of her hand in mine. The rhythm took me to a place and time that was thirty years and ten thousand miles removed.
Until Spotify interrupted with an ad suggesting that if I paid for premium service then I could listen uninterrupted. I both profoundly agree with their suggestion, and after that interruption, flat out refuse to do so.