Even though I think I'm a "musical" guy, I don't listen to a lot of music - like during work or while running on the treadmill. Part of it could be because I don't enjoy putting on headphones. While driving, though, I love it. So much so that I'm willing to say, I need it. I mostly listen to the radio. The zone between unpredictability at one end and the comfort of familiarity (e.g. the Today's Hits station that each city has) is perfect for me.
Enough of beating around the bush. The reason I wanted to write this post is because with so many songs there are these places and people associated in my head that have become inextricably linked with the songs themselves. Every time a Don't Stop Believin' or Pour Some Sugar On Me or The Scientist or Collide or Coming back to Life or Dust in the Wind plays (I'll stop here, because the list is pretty long!), I invariably end up thinking about those associations. Some go back to the hostel rooms of IIT. Some to the pubs or even my house in Bangalore. Others are more recent and trace their origins to Saturday nights at a certain No. 3 in Charlottesville. Then there are the people with whom you shared the song - singing, listening along with pitchers of beer, dancing or even just sending the mp3 and having a conversation about it.
I don't know how it is with you; but for me, nostalgia is almost always bittersweet. There's the high of having had such a great time and reminiscing about it. And there's also the sense of loss. These songs are part of nostalgia too.
Fortunately, I've found my staple radio stations in Dallas. Today's Hits, Classic Rock, Alternative New Rock and this station which mixes up everything from a Matchbox 20 to a Bruno Mars. Not surprisingly, a lot of these songs come up during my drive to and from the office. It's a pleasant distraction from the 105 temperatures and occasional traffic on US-75.
P.S. Watched this absolutely riveting movie about street art - Exit Through The Gift Shop. Best thing I've seen in a long time.