#376 Realizing you still remember the words to a song you haven’t heard in years

Your brain is a machine.

Yes, that soft and squishy lump is bursting with colors and pictures and people and places and smells and sights and sounds. Your brain knows things it hasn’t even told you yet. Sometimes it surprises you with forgotten flickers, crystal-clear connections, or moments of sparkling intensity. Lightning bolts zap, connections crackle, and memories zoom and float around the distant outer recesses of your ever expanding world.

Of course, sometimes things also fade away.

People leave, distances grow, and memories dissolve into blurs. Photo albums collect dust in creaky attics, cracked jewel cases get buried in the closet, and today’s moments plaster over yesterday’s highs and lows.

That’s why it’s great when your brain surprises you once in a while.

When an old song pops on the radio it’s always beautiful when your spider-web recesses suddenly spin the wheels and crank out all the lyrics to that dusty gem. Your head bops, your eyes twinkle, and you flash back into a moment from your past… to late night driveways chats… nervous hearts in dark basements… and beautifully distant memories that remind you who you are.


Our friends at PostSecret posted a new video this week:


Photos from: here, here, and here

36 thoughts on “#376 Realizing you still remember the words to a song you haven’t heard in years

  1. I love music so so SO much. It is so powerful!

    I always say my brain is full of childhood memories and song lyrics (many are one and the same; childhood memories connected to songs). So what if my brain can no longer accommodate new information? I’ll whip your butt in music trivia! ;)

    That video is so touching and goosebump-inducing. So appropriate for Veteran’s Day … everyone be sure to thank a veteran or soldier!

  2. Happens to me all the time with songs from the 90’s. It’s a little embarrassing to see just how many boy band songs are stuck up in that brain but it’s always fun to sing along! Neil, you perfectly described how that memory comes back, the snapping and the lightning bolts and everything. Couldn’t have said it better! Well done.

    1. He’s so good that way … every post is such a quintessential description of absolute awesomeness. Very in-tune, that Neil.

    2. Haha, I do the same – I still have an entire N*Sync album and a full Avril Laveigne album stored in my memory backlog. I’m pretty sure they will always be there, too.

  3. “Jump” by Kris Kros. Had the entire album on cassette tape. Must have been like 10yrs old.

    “…and everything is the back with a little slack. An inside-out is wiggida, wiggida, wiggida wack!”

  4. I am NOT a music person, so I am always super surprised and shocked when this happens to me, and I realize (or remember) that I know all the lyrics to the few songs I listened to as a kid.

    And this site never seems to amaze me, with its mind reading powers. As one of these rare and amazing moments just happened to me today.

  5. you know what’s really awesome? Catching up on Awesomeness!! I started back in March on #548 The moment in the shower where you decide to make it a really long shower and now I’m caught up!! yay!!


    1. Well, of course. The best part of knowing songs that well is that you sing not only the words, but the instrumentation, as well! There are a few songs that I actually DON’T know the words to, because I’m always too busy singing along with the guitar or something, haha.

  6. I love this one! Just the other day my roommate was revisiting popular songs from early 2000’s when we were in middle school. I still remembered all of the words! Also, PostSecret is incredible! What a powerful video for Veteran’s Day.

  7. I’m a slow poke. I love being one too. I am so far behind on whats new and it doesn’t bother me in the least. Which brings me to you and your blog, so late in the game. First I want to congratulate you on your successes, yes, there appear to be many, especially of late. I truly I wouldn’t even know about you if you hadn’t gone and done that interview which finally got posted in RD in September, and which I finally just read this morning while on the crapper. Second, I have to admit we have something in common. I have been seeing awesomeness for most of my life while you have only just begun, so to speak, and I am so glad for you too. People think I am nuts when I tell them about the little things in life that people pass bye every day without a thought. People are so in a hurry it’s amazing they don’t forget their heads when they head out the door. It’s nice to remember, everyday, that a smile goes a long way, that paying it forward, without someone paying it forward, is so worth it to the heart and mind, that being nice is not some sweater we put on when we’re in need of someone to do something for us, that mind games don’t belong in the office, that treating each other with respect despite their misgivings is better then talking about them behind their back, and so on. My hat is off to you for jumping on this blog and letting truth shine, and for bring my life into the perspective it has so long deserved. So the next time you are walking down the street in your nice clothes just go and up to anyone and ask them for a quarter. See what the response will be.
    May our world one day meet and find a rose in bloom.
    Forever Awesome

  8. “It was a one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people-eater…”
    “Witch doctor, give us the magic word! Alright…Ouh-e-ouh-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang-ouh-e-ouh-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-walla-bang…”

    Two of my FAVORITE songs from childhood.

  9. This is sooo true. So many songs that I now re-visit as guitly pleasures because its a blast from the past, and Im so proud because I still remember all the words :P

  10. What really gets me is that I remember many of the NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, Britney, etc songs from my early teen years and could still sing along with most of the lyrics, if not all, but I have difficulty knowing all the lyrics from songs I’ve actually heard a lot recently. hmm

  11. Every once in a while I listen to the 60’s and 70’s on satellite and think this is really remarkable! During a storm the other day, I was transported to grade 3 choir, friends, a theatre audience; my favorite teacher saying, “Sing from your diaphragm,” and I did, with total recall of “Raindrops keep falling on my head,” every word…amazing!

  12. I remember my mom singing “Hey Jude” to me as a lullaby and 20 years later I hear it for the first time on the radio and I surprised myself by knowing all the words. Great post!

  13. Currently listening to my 2000s-alternative Spotify playlist and Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” played a little while ago, and I hadn’t heard that song in at least five or six years but I immediately started singing along with it as if I had just heard it yesterday (“It’s a one two three take my hand and come with me ’cause you look so fine and I really wanna make you mine”). Ditto the other day when I was listening to a mix CD I’d made in like 2007 (which, again, I hadn’t listened to in aaaaages) and DeVotchka’s “Till The End Of Time” came on, I instantly remembered all the words to that as well.

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