Friday, April 1, 2011

The Las Vegas Soundtrack is One of My Favorite Compilations

They say smell is the sense most strongly connected to memory. At least that is according to some deodorant commercials of the past.

Although I agree with this assessment, I think there is an underrated sense when it comes to recollection. That is hearing, specifically regarding music. Taking it a step further on a personal level, for me the connection to memory is strongest when the music is heard while in Las Vegas.

Here is a brief rundown of what I mean:

My first trip to Las Vegas was shortly after my 21st birthday. By shortly I mean a matter of days or maybe two weeks. As a result, virtually every bar had a panache and excitement to it which is certainly only that strong when one is that young. So, when I entered Coyote Ugly for the first time it was an incredible rush. After waiting a long time in line I finally made my way in and “Dirrty” by Christina Aguilera (or XTINA at the time) was blasting inside the raucous watering hole. I’ve never been a fan of Chrisitna but in that moment “Dirrty” became a significant song in the soundtrack of my life. Whenever I hear it, fond memories come flooding back and I feel warm inside.

In the summer of 2007 I couldn’t walk from the kitchen to the living room in my tiny apartment without hearing "Umbrella" by Rihanna and Jay-Z. This isn’t because I chose to listen to it, but because it was on constant rotation virtually everywhere. I find Jay-Z to mumble too much on his songs and in my opinion Rihanna is second only to Fran Drescher when it comes to nasal voices. As a result, I always became frustrated at having to hear this song. This changed when I jetted of to Las Vegas that June to watch Avril Lavigne perform a special concert at Pearl at The Palms. While waiting for the doors to open, "Umbrella" began playing in the Casino. These two events occurring simultaneously turned that song into a nuisance into a welcome sound of a very fun time. Now whenever I hear "Umbrella" I mention how it makes me think of that day (I’m sure my friends wish I would stop telling that story).

I could go on about other songs heard in Vegas which are gilded bookmarks in my biography, but I’m going to jump ahead to the latest. Through an amazing coincidence, Britney Spears gave a surprise performance at Rain at The Palms on March 25 while I was in town on a job hunt. I was fortunate enough to get a ticket and was probably in the second or third row in the general admission area. I’d of course already heard “Hold it Against Me” hundreds of times while driving around in Seattle, but that night marked my first full listen to “Till the World Ends” as well as my introduction to “Big Fat Bass”.

I just love listening to these two songs for the memories I have and will treasure forever. When I am an old man in the retirement home and am unable to recognize anyone around me I will listen to “Big Fat Bass” and “Till the World Ends” and be transported back to that Las Vegas club as a 28-year-old Britney fan finally getting to watch his favorite artist in his favorite city.

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