the lives of songs

She told me she tried to find this album I used to put on when we were hud­dled in the dark­ness. The prob­lem was that she could only remem­ber the cover, and it was after we stopped talk­ing for the third time or some­thing cause oth­er­wise she would have asked.

Then she was in Chapters one day. This book of best albums of the 2000s fell down, and there it was, Ágætis byr­jun, open at the page. “What are the chances?”, she asked me.

Sigur Rós Ágætis byrjun

I used to think of her lis­ten­ing to the songs I gave her with another guy and grow jeal­ous. But I could never say I didn’t have my own mem­o­ries asso­ci­ated with that album, lying between a wall and warm body on a bed swollen with cov­ers in New Jersey. I watched Jón Þór Birgisson sing into the pick­ups of his gui­tar, his ethe­real voice gen­tly mak­ing the strings trem­ble, in a sum­mer romance so long ago.

That was my intro­duc­tion to Sigur Rós, and in the same way I passed this album on to her. It made me feel so vul­ner­a­ble to be next to her in those moments (whether she real­ized it or not). Every time it came on was an emo­tional flash­back, a short-circuit to this part of my past about which I’ve told so few.

I used to hope she kept the songs I gave her to her­self, and that she didn’t use them to woo another guy the way I had always tried to with her. Perhaps I was a lit­tle pos­ses­sive about my music and some­what judg­men­tal on who I deemed to be deserv­ing enough to hear it. Eventually I real­ized that it’s not fair of me to feel that way. She had shared so many songs with me in turn, giv­ing me as much as I’d given to her, and I’ve since passed those songs on to others.

Now I won­der who else will even­tu­ally expe­ri­ence these songs, and what mem­o­ries of their own they’ll have when they hear them.

Leave a Reply