Music Associations In Your Mind

Last night we went and saw the Golden Globe winner for Best Picture, Slumdog Millionaire, at the indie theater near our apartment.  Good movie, spiritually uplifting, etc. but certainly not the best picture I saw over the last year (that honor still goes to In Bruges as of this moment).  One thing about the film that I did enjoy tremendously was the music: Indian music with hip-hop spices (taste like cardamom?) mostly.

One song in particular brings me to this post.

The song is called “Paper Planes” by MIA, and it’s as catchy as anything I’ve heard in a while.  In the film, it is used in a montage showing the two brothers, now orphaned, doing the hobo thing on a train running across India, hustling for money and food in whatever ways they could.  It was a beautiful use of the song, and the scene as a whole was really good.

But my mind had something else going through it at the time.

I can never hear this song again without immediately flashing back to Pineapple Express (a movie which, by the way, was better than Slumdog Millionaire last year).  You could use this song as the background to a movie about how Mahler was the first owner of the 49ers and how The Big Lebowski was inspired directly by the Arab-Israeli conflicts since 1947, all narrated by Thomas Friedman, and I would still immediately think of Dale and Saul.

But that’s the whole point.  That’s what music should be.  Sandy associates Radiohead’s “Hail to the Thief” with Little Rock, AR because she first listened to it while driving down there.  I can still remember vividly missing 2 classes in college because I was listening to Yuli Turovsky and I Musici di Montreal perform “Prayer” by Ernest Bloch, and I listened to it about 20 times in a row because I was completely transfixed (I still am to this day) by that music.

I think I probably should have tried to write something scientific about how it works, or why we do it, but I figured I’d just mention that it’s cool.


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