I recently went to visit my family in North Florida. While there I got completely hung up on a song my mother played during my childhood. The song in question is “All Over You” by the band Live.
I have memories of riding in my moms green Saturn, singing along to this song but not really understanding it. I also remember her singing along while doing household chores like sweeping and dishes.
I’m sure the nostalgia I have attached to this song plays some role in my interest in it. But since I’ve been home I’ve listened to that song at least twice, if not more, a day.
Live put this song out in 1994 on their album “Throwing Copper.” It was pretty popular across the globe, reaching No. 48 in the United Kingdom and No. 18 in Canada. The pinnacle though was when “All Over You” reached No. 2 in the United States, according to Billboard.
Something I find interesting is how this song has stayed in my memory, but somewhat subconsciously. It’s like I hadn’t thought about that song in years, but when my mom played it during my visit to her house I was suddenly able to recall all the lyrics and instrumental solos.
This idea is apparently interesting to other people. So much so that scientists have actually done studies on the subject. One study done at the University of California by Petr Janata, a neuroscientist, found that music and memory and very much connected.
The study found that “...songs linked to strong emotions and memories corresponded with MRI images that had greater activity in the upper part of the medial prefrontal cortex, which sits right behind the forehead. This suggests that upper medial prefrontal cortex, which is also responsible for supporting and retrieving long-term memories, acts as a “hub” that links together music, emotions, and memories.” This means that memory and music are processed in the same area of the brain, linking the two.
The study also found that the activity in the brain was even stronger when the song was linked to strong autobiographical memories. This is because our brain sort of makes the music we hear the soundtrack playing in the background of the movie that is our life.
The most interesting thing about all of this is the fact that the songs that bring up deep memories or feelings from previous parts of our life will be different for everyone. We each have our own interpretation of music, depending on situational circumstances, but also just the fact that everyone has different tastes in music.
It’s interesting to think about how individualized the experience of listening to music and reliving the memories associated with them is. For me, it’s listening to “All Over You” by Live in my mother’s front yard in North Florida. For someone else, it could be any other song, playing during any other time or experience, which will cause any other opinion and memory associated with that song.