Music is a powerful tool for marking parts of our lives. Somehow, our brains pair different periods of our lives with the music that we listened to during those periods – or at least mine works that way.
Manga’s first album was my favorite when I was in primary school. I remember that during that time, my mother bought our first automobile and gave me the duty of buying some CDs to listen to in the car. However, I bought only one, which was, obviously, Manga’s first album.
For at least for a year after that, the only CD we had in the car was that album, and we listened to it literally every day. During all the trips, both long and short, we went on during that whole year, we listened to same songs again and again. We learned all the lyrics and every note of the album by heart. Even now, about 10 years after that period, I still remember all the lyrics.
So that was the first era of my history based on music: the Era of Manga – the beginning of time.
After that, I had the K’s Choice Era, the Kings of Leon Era, the Flyleaf Era, the Jack White Era, the Jimi Hendrix Era and the Blues Era (B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton) during middle school and high school. Currently I would say that I’m in the April Rain Era, but the duration of the eras has gotten shorter and shorter over time.
At any rate, the best part of all this is that now when I go back and listen to those bands, I’m able to remember what I was feeling, what I was thinking and what I was doing with my life during that time. I’m able to imagine all the trips I went on with my mother when I listen to Manga. I’m able to remember the nights when I was listening to B.B. King in high school. And every time I listen to The Kills’ cover of “Dreams,” I see myself going from East Campus to Main Campus to catch a class on a snowy morning during my first year at Bilkent.
Along with all these eras, there are also some songs that make me remember an exact moment in my life. For example, there’s the “Memories of an Old Friend” album by Angus & Julia Stone.
It was the end of spring semester last year. After all the finals and project deadlines, everything was over. However, I wasn’t going to go back home immediately because I was planning to spend some time with a friend before I left Ankara. So I bought a ticket to fly back a week after my last final exam. But then, unexpectedly, my friend had to leave Ankara before we were able to see each other even once. So there I was, with almost no one on campus, and seven days left before my flight to Antalya. As luck would have it, my laptop was also broken.
So on the third day, I was listening to the first song on “Memories of an Old Friend” while lying on the bed in my room, and suddenly the phone rang. It was my mother, calling to tell me that one of the people I was closest to in my hometown had passed away that day. I would have to go to Antalya as soon as possible. After I put down the phone, I just kept lying on the bed, staring at the white ceiling. I listened to the album until the end, with no motivation to do anything, no intention to move any part of my body, no energy to think or talk at all.
Now, almost a year later, I’m listening to same album again and recapturing the same moments, feeling the same emotions. It’s more than just a folk album now. It’s the marker of a time in my life. Maybe not a hopeful one, but still, as long as I remember that day, I’ll remember “Memories of an Old Friend.” And as long as I listen to “Memories of an Old Friend,” everything about that day with me will be with me: every detail, every second and every song.