Music and the Curse of Memory

You know what’s great about streaming music sites on the Web? You get a detailed, real-time play list as the music is playing. This means if a tune comes on that you like, you can just glance at the playlist and know the track title, the compilation it’s on, who the publisher is, when it came out, who the artists were and so on. Good for getting a copy of the track for your own collection.

Now here’s the horror of listening to radio: growing up in Seattle and listening to KCMU in the 1980s and early 1990s, I’d hear a track once or twice, like it and then forget to pay attention to the DJ reading back the playlist during a break 20 minutes after a long set of music. As it was, I still have a lot nameless tunes rattling around in my head that I can’t tie to any bands, albums or whatever. And the problem is I can’t extract the tunes from my skull to hunt them down on the Web.

Once I was very lucky to stumble across one of these tunes more than a full decade later. My friend played Brian Eno on his cassette deck and I finally had a title to go with the music I’d heard waaaaaay back in 1981: “Mea Culpa.” I was very happy that day! There are still at least three others to get out of my head.

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