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Reliving good times through music

By OLEEN FLORENDO, The Philippine Star Published May 28, 2021 5:00 am

When life came to a standstill, music and nostalgia naturally turned into a classic remedy for days that felt resoundingly stagnant and endless.

Songs have become a way to patch the longing that shows no signs of leaving. With music, I get to live through memories that sometimes seem no longer possible given how this situation we’re in has taken its time. 

When I think of my playlists, I see most of them as a repository of miniscule and large episodes of my life. They’re emotional experiences wrapped in a series of three-minute melodies.

I listen to Carly Rae’s Emotion and, for all I know, I am back inside the now-closed TodayxFuture dancing with my university friends. Play Avril Lavigne’s Complicated, and I’m transported back to the dial-up days of the internet with its distinct sound echoing behind closed bathrooms.

Thing is, the elusiveness of new experiences in our lives had us looking for any comfort to latch onto. There’s not a singular antidote to the dread and grief brought by our situation — but music and our memories have opened up ways for us to endure what, perhaps, could be the most exhausting years of our lives.

Young STAR asked working professionals to take a short trip down memory lane and share the music that has turned their days around because of what it reminds them of.

Sign of the Times - Harry Styles

This is a reminder of that evening I spent at UP Fair with a guy I used to like. Strange as it sounds, while that night was filled with live music from different local bands, the one that stuck the most was this Harry Styles song playing in the Grab car we rode on our way back to our places in Manila.

We were both in the back seat, already past two in the morning. We shared an emotional conversation about our life problems before falling silent, and with us just staring at the closed establishments in QC through the car’s window. From my perspective, there wasn’t anything super romantic about it, but his presence in those wee hours of the morning just made me feel safe then, even hopeful.

Hearing this reminds me of youth and young love. When I need a little breather from work, I listen to this, not because I want to romanticize that moment, but because it takes me back to this short but sweet memory of myself as a college student. - Clara, 23, Marketing Specialist

Our Song - Taylor Swift

My sisters and I have been fans of Taylor Swift since she started her career. We would listen to this song in our room na sobrang lakas habang sinasabayan namin ‘yung kanta. Minsan sumasayaw pa kami while wearing these silly facial expressions. We were still in high school back then kaya pag pinapatugtog ‘to eh maalala ko ‘yung mga panahon na wala pang stress compared ngayon na mga adults na kami.

It really takes us back to when we were just having fun, belting out Taylor Swift songs, and just a lot of sibling bonding. Listening to her brings feelings of peace and happiness in my heart. There are also times that the music takes away the stress and negativity from my life, while helping me be more productive at work. - Lyra, 26, Agent

A Horse with No Name - America 

Sunday morning, you’ll wake up to the smell of heavenly Champorado. It’s your mama cooking breakfast in the kitchen. But this won’t last long ’cause you’ll probably begin to smell and recognize the red floor-wax grazing in your living area, too. It’s your papa! Because Sunday is general cleaning day!

I can still remember so vividly the sound bursting through the walls of our tiny house in Pasay: I’ve been through a desert on a horse with no name, it felt good to be out of the rain…

Papa would then help us get up from our beds and we’d all chime in with the chorus: La, la, la-la, la-la… You’re a kid, it’s your summer break and life is just good! This song would always bring me back to my happy childhood memories with my parents.  - Lia, 33, Database Administrator

Accidents – Cheats

Accidents concludes a great night; it is when you give your everything, you sing your lungs out and dance with no care at all. It is usually Cheats’ closing salvo (“Calling out the animal, the animal inside of you”) that’s inviting everyone to let go of all inhibitions, and moments later, not a single soul inside that room would be able to stand still. 

Just like any career-driven young professional, I’ve always felt like I’m running out of time. I am almost always tired and in dire need of sleep. I used to seek refuge at SaGuijo, Route 196, B-side, Mow’s bar and, on the rare times I’d get nights off, I would definitely go to a gig; more often than not, it was Cheats playing. 

Working in a COVID-19 facility, I sometimes find myself playing Accidents and it makes me remember the good old days. It’s an instant pick-me-up. The mosh pit, the sweaty guys beside me, the chatter, the cold beer I have in my hand, the bar stamp I really hate, the loud music — and somehow, Accidents telling me that I had one hell of a night. - Justine, 29, Medical Laboratory Scientist

Island in the Sun – Weezer

A scoop of sugar, two packets of cream, and five spoonfuls of coffee grounds which I wait three minutes for our office’s cranky coffee maker to brew. I’ll pick it up from the small corner of our pantry and bring it back to my desk before 9 a.m. There’ll be muted sounds of traffic from below. That’s how my day used to start in the office, pre-pandemic. No 3-in-1 coffees because they’re too sweet for my liking.

Weezer would be singing either the chorus or bridge by that time. This was my routine. I liked having habits because it made it easier to organize myself into productivity. Once the band was singing the last verse, I would be reminded of that first whiff of coffee and one colleague after another coming out of the door with their cups of joe. They were short but peaceful morning moments in the office before the pile of responsibilities came knocking.  - Gerard, 24, Junior Producer