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time travel will be the death of man, probably woman too, mr. skelly

2014-04-15 - 9:41 a.m.

Despite the terrible rain and wind last night, and the continued high winds this morning, the Indigo Bunting push continues...

Eleven years ago, on Good Friday April 18, 2003, I talked about time travel. It will soon be Good Friday April 18, 2014, so maybe it's time to revisit the topic.

The name of that entry was "radio is aimed at balding guys who can't get laid, can't get car insurance, and can't pay their bills on time." Now it's aimed at teen-aged girls who can't get car insurance and want to win trips to Vegas. Is that some kind of progress or what?

I wrote then:

One of the primary purposes of old music is the time travel effect; one hears a song from back in the day and is instantly if momentarily transported through time. Unfortunately, one quickly develops a tolerance to this effect. If you haven't heard the work in 20 years, and then, boom, you hear it unexpectedly in a movie or a cafe or even if you discover it in your record collection after not having played it for many a year, then you experience the magic of time travel ...and this is true even if you disliked the song when it was originally issued.

If, however, you are a regular listener to the "golden oldies" or "the best of the 70s, 80s, and 90s," then you won't experience any time travel effect, because the music has become unglued from its moment in time and become more closely associated with being stuck in traffic yesterday than with the events of years ago. All magic and meaning have been effectively and efficiently drained through repitition.

My claim has since been vindicated by science. Go me! Here's what Daniel J. Levitin says in This is Your Brain on Music:

A maxim of memory theory is that unique cues are the most effective at bringing up memories; the more items or contexts a particular cue is associated with, the less effective it will be at bringing up a particular memory. This is why, although certain songs may be associated with certain times of your life, they are not very effective cues for retrieving memories from those times if the songs have continued to play all along and you're accustomed to hearing them -- as often happens with classic rock stations...

I knew it. Shut those fuckers down already!

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