Why the music we hear as a kid or a teen stick with us
Have you ever had that moment, where you just go like, “Hmm, let’s listen to songs from past years”? Then, you would search on Spotify or YouTube for those songs from when you were just 10 or 12 or even 15. That’s when you realize that those songs are from years ago! How amazing is it, that you would have this sudden yearning to listen to these old songs?
Question is why do we turn to these songs at some points of our lives? Be it doing an assignment, reading a book or just sitting in a subway train.
Why We Sometimes Go Down the Old Road
Does anyone still remember these beautifully-written lines of poetry? That one song where you always wished you could sing it to your Crush? Get this, though, this song was released 10 YEARS AGO! Whew, time sure does fly, right?
Sometimes, I just think that we turn to nostalgia, just because they leave such a big imprint on us, as we were growing up. I can imagine nostalgia being an unseen entity that brings so much calmness and warmth, which is not provided in the new generation.
Besides, the other reason is that we, as avid listeners of music, do not have the same invisible thread of connection with songs these days. We would feel that songs in the previous years were so much better. Compare “Lose You to Love Me” and “The Heart Wants It Wants”, both by my favourite gal Selena Gomez. Which one would you feel like you would listen to more often? I would choose the latter because I could understand the amount of pain and grief that flows through the entire song.
Now, I’m definitely not saying that there is no emotion in songs these days. Just not enough. I might be prejudiced but hey, everyone’s gotta have their own opinion.
Why We Can’t Stop the Feeling
Now, in this article, I ain’t gonna touch the science stuff. But basically, when we are younger, our brain would be loaded with so much auditory stimuli after listening to a particular song. With that stimuli, the brain processes every single detail: syncopating synths, rhythmic drum beats or the melodies in a guitar solo.
When you dance to a song, your neurones get signals from your premotor cortex (coordinates your movement), allowing you to move your body to the beat, just You & The Rhythm. Meanwhile, listening and analyzing a verse of lyrics, or the beats of an EDM instrumental, wakes up your parietal cortex (interprets sensory information). While all you have to do is hum along with the melody of the song, and you would instantly remember the song because it triggers the prefrontal cortex (controls planning, behaviour and our personality traits).
All of these experiences create this wave of pleasure that just overcomes you, an influx of dopamine (your feel-good hormone). The song then embeds itself inside your brain. As time passes, you might think that you have forgotten about that song, but you did not.
Yeah, that’s it. The science behind the song in your head.
Feeling a little nostalgic today? Listen to our playlist here!
Written by Ivan Ling