Music and Memories (Plus 20 Songs that Remind Me of Fall)

Unlike anything else in the world, music is connected to our memories. Hearing certain lyrics or instrumentals can transport us to a specific time in our lives and remind us of what we were feeling at that exact moment.

There are songs that remind me of summer drives with friends and songs that remind me of road trips with family. There are also songs that take me back to times of hardship— and songs that brought me comfort during those times. Often, music has even brought attention to memories I didn’t know I had. It’s very likely that music has done some (or all) of these things for you, too. If it has, our shared experience wouldn’t just be a coincidence. There is research that proves the strength with which music engages regions of our brains linked to emotion and memory. 

When I asked my friends about their experience with music and memories, they were eager to share vivid memories linked with the songs they loved so much. My friend Sydney Fallon, Kenyon ’23, recalled a memory connected to Hozier’s “Almost (Sweet Music).”

“It always makes me think of a road trip I took with my best friend and her dad,” she shared. “We listened to that entire Hozier album. We were silent for most of it, but when that song came on we started having this really long, deep conversation. I don’t really remember what we were talking about, but I remember feeling really happy to be there. Every time I hear the song now, I think of driving in western Massachusetts in the winter.”

Another friend of mine, Paige Keller, Kenyon ’23, shared a story about a time spent with her sister. “I was in Ireland with my sister. We were on tour with our orchestra, and at one point during the trip, my sister was having a really bad day. We were traveling a lot that day, and on our bus ride, we couldn’t stop listening to ‘Myth’ by Beach House. It was making her feel so much better, and the lyrics were just really resonating with both of us. Also, ‘Myth’ by Beach House is just such a good song,” Paige recounted.

Like my friends, I readily recall stories from songs. I’m also a pretty emotional and thoughtful person, which I’m sure has more to do with my love for music than I even realize. I have countless examples of music memories like the ones my friends shared. The free time I have spent listening to music and making Spotify playlists has also led to me linking certain sets of songs to certain time periods in my life. These time periods include relationships, vacations, and even seasons. The coming of fall, changing leaves, and brisk weather on our Ohio campus has encouraged me to start looping songs that put me in an autumnal mood. Like it probably does for most people, music impacts the way I feel both because of how I can relate to the lyrics and how I enjoy the sound. Because of this, some of the songs that I have listed below have lyrics that reflect things I have experienced this fall or in falls past. But some also just have a certain sound that reflects walking to class on a foggy morning with leaves crunching beneath my feet.

  1. “Dizzy on the Comedown” — Turnover 

  2. “Come Back To Earth” — Mac Miller 

  3. “Honestly?” — American Football 

  4. “Robbers” — The 1975 

  5. “Drunk on Halloween” — The Wallows

  6. “18” — Landon Cube 

  7. “SAN MARCOS” — Brockhampton 

  8. “If You Wanna” — The Vaccines 

  9. “Cherry” — Moose Blood

  10. “Pink + White” — Frank Ocean 

  11. “Listen to Your Friends” — Declan McKenna 

  12. “Half of Something Else” — The Airborne Toxic Event 

  13. “Past Life” — Maggie Rogers 

  14. “Cough” — Little Car 

  15. “Sleepwalkin’” — Better Oblivion Community Center 

  16. “Nineteen” —Tegan and Sara

  17. “Keep The Car Running” — Arcade Fire 

  18. “Boys” — Beach Bunny 

  19. “I Can’t Quit You Baby” — Led Zeppelin 

  20. “Pictures of You” — The Cure 

Image Credit: Feature, 1, 2