IF I LIKE A SONG, I listen to it 10,000 times. As a result, the songs tend to stick in my head independent of where I first listened to them. But every now and then something clicks and a song and a place become totally inextricable from one another. There’s at least some science behind it — psychologists have found that “the songs we love become woven into a neural tapestry entwined with the people, seasons, and locations throughout our lifespan.”
It’s why a song can almost make you smell barbecue hot dogs, or can make you feel summer warmth on your skin in the dead of winter, or can raise emotions that you haven’t strongly felt in ages. When you travel, it’s inevitable that some of these songs will become inextricable from specific locations, even if there’s no great meaning behind it. This happens to me from time to time, and it’s an immense comfort — in the worst of times, I can listen to a song and be transported somewhere else.