On Repeat


Sinarely Minchala

Before really beginning on this podcast, I didn’t realize how great the effect of nostalgia evoked by particular media could have on me. Being that I was born in Ecuador, the things that I was exposed to when I moved to America were vastly different from what I was used to. Growing up in the States, like most children, I would assume, I simply absorbed all the images and sounds around me without really questioning much of the psychology behind them. I remember lots of movies, music videos, TV shows, and music from my childhood, but there are particular ones that really elicit a strong sense of nostalgia within me. Some of my earliest memories of music include Avril Lavigne, Eminem, and JLo. I remember having an Avril Lavigne CD, which I listened to on repeat, while writing down as many song lyrics as I could (this was before lyrics were readily available on the Internet). I would play, pause, and rewind for hours trying to understand the lyrics, and then proceed to writing them down on a piece of paper. I have a particular memory of listening to Avril Lavigne’s “Don’t Tell Me” with my mom.

Eminem has also always been a huge love of mine. I started listening to him when I was about seven—I know, something seven-year-olds should probably never be exposed to, but one of my close friends used to listen to him and I couldn’t help but start listening myself. I would do the same thing for his songs, starting with “Mockingbird,” which always brings me back to sitting at my sister’s desk, writing down as many lyrics as I could understand from the YouTube video with blue ink right before bedtime. I then slowly got pretty good at rapping along with him, ha!

My most prominent memory of both music and visual representations is a JLo CD that my older brother got for my older sister. In the beginning, I was pretty jealous that it was hers, but she quickly outgrew it, and I continued putting the DVD into the DVD player in the living room and learning all the songs and watching all the music videos. (I would also totally copy her in the music videos, and pretended to be her in them). One of the songs from that DVD that stands out most to me is “Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” and every single time I hear it now, I am taken back to the days after school when I would watch the DVD religiously instead of doing homework. Once I outgrew the JLo CD, even though I thought that would never be possible, I started listening to other artists and developing my taste in music, which is ever-changing, I’ve learned.

In my teenage and adult years, I haven’t listened to many artists that I used to always listen to as a kid—except for Eminem, yet I still get very nostalgic when I listen to “Mockingbird.” Even though I have been re-exposed quite frequently to that specific song, its original meaning and feeling remains with me throughout the years. Other songs, however, still provoke specific memories, but I think overall, their meaning has changed and their memory is no longer as close to my heart as it once used to be. I guess that’s part of the magic of the immortalization that songs and movies fall into: they will always be there and be the same, but the viewer will grow and evolve around it.


Girl Scouts, American Pie, and The Fray


Leah Mangold

The more I talk about memorable songs with other people, the more I realize how deeply personal and unique my memories of them are. My specific nostalgia surrounding certain songs is woven by threads of my experiences, and have shaped the way I remember–and will remember—these songs.

It was at a third-grade Girl Scouts “pretend sleepover,” for example, when I first heard the song “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne. I had no idea who she was and what the song was even called until maybe ninth grade, but I had parts of the song stuck in my head at random times throughout my childhood. I specifically remember humming it to myself outside my house, as I balanced one foot in front of the other and pretended that the crack in my driveway was a tightrope. I had the lyrics wrong for years, but the memories of singing it resonate any time Lavigne’s name or song comes up in conversation.

Sometimes songs do more than remind me of specific memories. Some songs represent actual events or people in my life—to the point where the song remains solidified in meaning. Taylor Swift’s “You Belong with Me,” for example,  is about my fifth grade crush. The angst of liking him is so converged with that song that it can never be about someone or something else. Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway” represents a major life choice I made in high school, and “How to Save a Life” by The Fray is about a moment the downward spiral of my mental health due to this decision lent itself to running away from home and seeking refuge at my aunt’s house across town. I lived there for three months.

Songs can be deeply personal, so much so that it plays a role in shaping identity. My late aunt’s favorite song, for example, was Don McLean’s “American Pie.” She died when she was seventeen, two years before I was born. As her namesake, I took it upon myself to memorize all eight and a half minutes of the 1971 classic. I printed out the lyrics and laid the papers out in a row on the floor of our piano room. I was hungry for the meaning of the lyrics, as if understanding the song would bring me closer to understanding her. The song became an integral aspect of my perception of her identity, and as a result, became part of my personal identity. I hid my love for the song because I knew hearing the lyrics made my mother cry, but secretly, whenever I felt like I needed guidance, I would play it over and over, grasping for strands of Auntie Lisa that I could hold onto and never let go.

Since then, my music tastes have changed. And in a few years, I’ll have new memories with new songs. But for now, I’ll turn up the volume on these songs from my past and pretend my life is as simple as it was back then, one balanced step at a time.

Memories and Movies


Matt Gramegna

When I was younger, I was introduced to films like the Indiana Jones, Star Wars and the James Bond films by my dad, which probably furthered my big interest in movies today. I also grew up reading the Harry Potter books and ended up seeing every film in the franchise in theaters except the first one. I have a few memories of some of these movies, specifically the first Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Firstly, for Raiders of the Lost Ark, I first saw when I was relatively young, so my parents didn’t want me to see the more violent parts, though later viewings as I got older knew these scenes were very tame. The specific scene though was set in the desert where Indy comes across an airfield and attempts to steal the airplane with Marion Crane. Indy is attacked by a more muscular man and eventually ends up with that man being pushed back into the spinning blades of the plane and killed. Before this happened I remember hiding behind the couch in my basement so that I wouldn’t see what happened. The scene actually just cut away from what actually happened with just some blood spatter and reactions from Indy and Marion. The ending of the film with all of Indy’s enemies faces melting from opening the Ark of the Covenant was another story. The other memory I have with a movie was when I went to go see Chamber of Secrets in theaters. The movie came out in 2002, so by that logic I was about 6 when I saw it. Being 6 and seeing a movie with a large scary snake kinda freaked me out a bit and I think I walked out for a short bit as Harry fought the Basilisk. These experiences stick with me for some reason and I can still watch these films today and enjoy them greatly because they were part of the culture I grew up with. On another last note, I grew up listening to the Beatles constantly since my parents introduced them to my sister and I when we were kids. I feel it was the exposure to this kind of music led to shaping my musical tastes today. I definitely think that things that one is exposed to as a child helps shape part of who they are in the future.