Who doesn’t love a good MEAM? I’m not talking about those viral images with hilarious text (although thanks for the fodder Trump), but rather Music Evoked Autobiographical Memories* – the pure, unadulterated, whole-body felt memories of a time, moment or person triggered by particular songs or albums.

As I drove my car the other day I paired my devices to listen, for the zillionth time with great fervour, Sound & Colour by Alabama Shakes.

By the time Shoegaze was spinning, I had an eargasmic epiphany – when I discover an artist or album that hits the spot, I listen to it so intensely over a period of time that it becomes imprinted on my DNA.

Or, more scientifically, it forms deep neuro-psychological networks that will, at some point in the future, evoke a strong memory or emotional response linked directly to that time in my life.

Of course, this isn’t a new revelation to the world – much research has been done on the powerful effects of music in creating and evoking personal memories, a.k.a. ‘MEAMS’. So powerful, it is used to help Alzheimer and brain injury patients rehabilitate those parts of the mind.

Some of my most vivid MEAMS include:

U2’s The Best of 1980–1990 B-Sides – I’m instantly back to living in a share house at 18 devouring Wilbur Smith’s Birds of Prey late at night. It was my first real foray back into reading for pleasure since high-school’s mandatory texts robbed me of the joy!

Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill marks my very first true year of freedom and independence driving to and from Queensland University in 1996.

The Big Chill Soundtrack evokes an early memory – 8 years old on a road trip with Mum and the tape (yes tape) was stuck on repeat in the deck for 12 hours.

And, Roy Orbison and Credence Clearwater always bring with them warm ‘n’ fuzzy feelings, reminding me of my Dad and the soundtrack of my childhood.

I wonder what feelings and memories will be sparked from these Sound & Colour days?

What are your stand-out MEAMS? Share and tag us online



Kylie Cobb

* Why Do Songs From Your Past Evoke Such Vivid Memories?, Christopher Bergland, Psychology Today.

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