Obviously, I know that, to some extent, everybody associates certain music with certain specific times of their lives. But does anybody else have false musical memories? Everytime I listen to Death Cab's "We Laugh Indoors" (and, to a lesser degree, "A Movie Script Ending") I'm all, "oh yes, this takes me right back to that fall I spent with Holly in Seattle." Except I totally wasn't listening to that album at least until three years later. What the hell, Gibbard? Way to distill the exact emotional and experiential tenor of the Pacific Northwest and write it directly into the spaces in and around your songs. The same goes for pretty much the entirety of the Clientele's Strange Geometry, which feels so much like the summer I spent studying abroad in London during college that I can all but smell the pee and exhaust fumes from the Underground when I listen to it on my iPod. That album came to me in the dead-freezing cold of January 2006, so, again, I have no idea how the combination of Alasdair MacLean's songwriting and the muted haziness of the production in general can evoke my wistful, romanticized, undergraduate's sense of London so uncannily. I'm thankful for it, though. It's nice to be approached and kind of waved at by one's own past in these unexpected places.
Kids, I hope you're not sleeping on the Kills' Midnight Boom this year. It came out in March, and now that I've been living with it for a few weeks, I'm lamenting that I didn't pick it up sooner. It's so ballsy and smart and sexy. I want to get the lyrics to "Cheap and Cheerful" tattooed down the length of my torso: "I want you to be crazy 'cause you're boring, baby, when you're straight / I want you to be crazy 'cause you're stupid, baby, when you're sane."
On the total other end of the spectrum, Adele's 19 (thanks again for the rec, Giddy) has an amusing way of turning my life into some kind of Bridget Jones-esque romantic comedy every time I listen to it. Something about the sound of a British soul singer crooning over tastefully produced horns, I guess. She oversings like mad, but there's such a purity in it, like she's just discovered what she can do with her voice and is hollering at the top of her lungs to keep herself company. The fact, too, that pretty much all her songs are about being lonely but hopeful about love is hitting me in just the right places in the moments when I need that squishy kind of reassurance and commiseration. Plus, if one has to make a Britney-vs-Christina choice between her and Duffy, well, give me the cute chubby girl any day of the week.