A guy in the car stopped at the traffic light was blasting “Hit the Lights” by Metallica as I was walking by yesterday. I thought — “Wow, I haven’t heard this song in AGES”. So obviously, after I got home, I put “Kill ’em All” on the stereo (loud, but manageable for the neighbors, at least I haven’t heard any complaints). The music is still good and powerful for an album that is almost 40 years old. But it is not my point. My point is — I haven’t listened to Metallica and this album for at least 10 or 15 years and yet, with the first sound of the first song, all the lyrics came back to me and I was singing along — every single verse and every single word. I just knew all the words to every song. That was surprising to me — ok, I was a metal-head and head-banger in high school. I was a huge Metallica fan for many years, and I listened to this album hundreds of times. But that was so many, many years ago, but even now all the lyrics were crystal clear in my head. I had no idea that those (albeit simple) words were somehow kept in my brain and after so much of non-use and non-think just like that, with just a single sound can come back to me.
I decided to experiment even further. There are some artists that I was obsessed with for a while but haven’t listened to them for decades. Like Ani DiFranco — for a while in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was a huge fan of hers. I went to see her live I think at least 15 times, played her music all the time. Since that time — I don’t think I listened to a single song by her in the last 15 years. Until yesterday, that is — and the same way as with Metallica, all the words to her songs just come up from my memory and I sang them as well. Loud and energetic, but not too loud — I cannot carry a tune for the love of me. And I have tried it with some other artists with the same results — as soon as a song that I haven’t heard in YEARS starts playing, all the lyrics start appearing in my head and without any trouble remembering, I can sing them along.
Apparently, my memory is quite good. That is a huge surprise for me. And a new thing I discovered about myself. Many times, I complained to myself (and on here as well) that I have huge gaps in my memories — where whole years are missing from my conscious memory. But it seems obvious that those memories are stored in some deep recesses of my brain. In the case of music — the first sound of a song can bring them all up, and I can sing all the words from memory.
Now — how do I bring all other, I guess more important memories, from this hiding place in my mind?