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Danecdotes: Music can have a strange effect

A lot of things can trigger your brain in odd ways, whether it's a smell, a line from a movie or a familiar face.

Lately, I have been noticing how much music affects my thoughts.

I was watching a movie recently that featured a song by '70s/'80s pop band Chicago. All of the sudden, I was taken out of the movie and was thinking about my sister, who spent many of her teenage years in her room listening to Chicago and similar bands. I constantly heard those songs.

The same can be said for the music of Tupac Shakur, which you could hear emanating from my brother's little green truck while he was a block away.

There is a song from a few years back called "Everybody Talks," and the great thing about this song is that it is the absolute perfect running tempo for me. Back when I was running a few miles at least every other day, that would usually be the first song I played when I started a run. It was a frequently played song by yours truly for more than a year.

Now if I hear that song or if it pops into my head, which happens often, it is a simply wonderful reminder that I am out of shape and should really go for a run. Since I don't typically go for a run when I hear it, this song has gone from happy to sad for me.

Right now, two different songs have overwhelmed my consciousness. One is a goofy jingle version of "Mr. Golden Sun" that plays in my son's play mat at least six time a day, and the other is a lullaby from an animated movie called "Song of the Sea" that I frequently hear my wife humming when she is trying to get the little man to sleep.

Those two songs have been in my head for a month now. Usually, that would drive me insane, but they make me think of my son. He's still little, cute and sweet, and it is hard to be annoyed by anything he does - I'm told that will change, but I'll ride the wave for now.

Speaking of father/son moments, one of my earliest recollections in life is sitting in my dad's truck listening to his cassette of '80s country star Keith Whitley - a longtime favorite of mine and my dad.

A few weeks ago, my son was just sitting in his little chair thing (I don't know the name of it) while I was doing dishes and listening to some of Whitley's hits. Just goofing around, I started singing the songs to my son to make him smile, when I was sort of time-warped back 30 years to my dad doing that same thing to make a newborn me smile.

It was, perhaps, my very first case of deja vu. I told my dad about that moment, and he just laughed and said, "Yeah, that probably happened several times."

Apparently, music can be tied to odd inter-generational memories.

The benefits of music have been outlined time after time by people far more qualified than I am, but I am noticing more and more that there are things I will probably never forget, provided the right song is playing. Maybe when my memory starts to slip 40 years from now, I'll have to have a playlist full of songs from the past to jog my memory.

If you have a little time today, I would encourage you to find a song from the good old days. Who knows what you'll remember?

Dan Determan

Staff Writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper.

(218) 855-5879