Ethan Marcotte now blogs at Unstoppable Robot Ninja.

Weblog entry:


I sit here, typing, with a long-lost album playing softly on my computer’s speakers. I haven’t played this album in—well, it’s been quite literally half a decade, but a track happened to pop up in shuffle yesterday. Since then, I’ve switched into one of my musical binges: putting aside my electronica and clank-rock, I’ve been playing the album on repeat for the past day, rediscovering the different tracks, remembering the passages that made me play it so frequently so long ago.

But as I do so, I find that my fondness for the music’s secondary to the memories it holds. Even now, sitting here in my office, images of my senior year dormitory are all too vivid: the dull light of my monitor at three o’clock in the morning, my five-dollar coffee maker gurgling in the corner as I type away at a paper that’s seven hours from deadline. In the hallway outside, I can hear other keyboards at work, their doors also closed in the silent, early morning.

Thinking back now, some of my favorite albums act in the same way; one of the first albums I bought after college reminds me of the woman who introduced me to it, and of quiet walks along Lake Michigan, with Chicago alight on the horizon behind us; another brings back my first year of high school, and the two friends who shared that first listen with me, both of whom are now married and elsewhere.

Last night, in the subway, I noticed two sets of tracks on the rail line: one narrower and ancient that ended abruptly, with the newer, modern track straddling it. With my once-again-favorite album on repeat in my ears, I finally understood. These things we love, then forget, then rediscover to love again—they’re inlaid with what they once were to us, which makes them something new, something better. What they were, they will be again…and then more so.


Hooray, technical difficulties.

There’s a WordPress issue that’s currently preventing old comments from displaying correctly. Sorry for the inconvenience, but hopefully we’ll be back online soon.