Sing a song of memories: The music that takes me back in time

Both universal and deeply personal, music is something that can evoke the strongest memories. Knowing where you were, what year were in at high school, or what emotions you were feeling are all distinct bookmarks for life, and they can easily be remembered if the right track comes on the radio, on your phone, or however you listen to music.

As I type this I’m listening to the triple j Hottest 100 of the Decade. They are well on their way to revealing the number 1, all whilst playing many nostalgia-inducing tunes along the way. For anyone outside of Australia or who is not an expert in music democracies, the triple j Hottest 100 is an annual music listener poll, often referred to as the “greatest music democracy”. Each January, the top 100 songs of the previous year are played on triple j, as voted by millions of listeners around the world.

Today’s triple j countdown is a little different as it is counting down the Hottest 100 songs of the previous decade, being 2010 – 2019. As today’s countdown has played out the sweetest thing to hear, besides the songs, has been people’s memories of the songs. It got me thinking about what songs invoke the strongest memories for me, and what songs of the last decade have been a hallmark of my journey from adolescence to adult. I give you some of the songs I voted for in today’s countdown and what made me pick these from literally thousands of options.

Lonely Boy – The Black Keys (2011)

Working part-time in retail in a store that sold hiking and travel gear is what I’ll always think of when I hear Lonely Boy. The main reason for this is because the store I worked in played this song all the time, and you can’t go past that iconic video clip.

Resolution – Matt Corby (2013)

When I hear this song I think of listening to it endlessly on my 4GB iPod Nano, my favourite part always being the piano in the background. I probably didn’t understand or appreciate the lyrics at the time it came out, though I like the idea of it being a love song about finding the person you want to commit to, your resolution.

F for you – Disclosure (2013)

This boppy track straightaway takes me to being on exchange in the United Kingdom, dancing away in nightclubs full of English university students. The lyrics are, well, repetitive, but the groovy sound tempts me to move every time.

Bridges – Broods (2014)

I can’t remember where I was when I first this, though I distinctly remember watching it live at ‘Groovin’ the Moo’, an Australian music festival that travels to regional locations. Donning muddy gumboots and an oversized, waterproof trench coat, I was surrounded by hundreds of people huddled undercover to keep out of the rain, listening to transcendent sounds of the sibling duo from New Zealand.

Alaska – Maggie Rogers (2016)

Maggie Roger’s song about hiking will always make me think of how I fell head over heels for her soothing sound and clever lyrics, eventually seeing her live when she came to Australia. She is the only artist, so far, where I have immersed myself in their album upon its release and enjoyed every track.


Some songs will make you dance, some cry, others stop and reflect, and what is consistent across most music is that it will always make you remember. As you listen to songs from yesteryear, may your memories be sweet and the playlist to your life be ever growing.


Featured Photo by Eric Nopanen on Unsplash

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