When I think back to the five years I spent living in Philadelphia, there are a few things that immediately come to mind and no, one of them is not cheesesteaks. That’s being stereotypical. I think of chicken cheesesteaks. Much different.
But beyond those delicious little miracles of modern science, I like to recall first watching The Wire, being introduced to Flight of the Conchords, listening to an iPod through one of those half ass operations that involved either a cassette tape or radio transmitter and coming to terms with Pennsylvania’s ridiculous liquor laws. Musically though, perhaps what is most closely associated with my time spent in Philadelphia is one of my roommates turning me on to to Bay Area rapper Lyrics Born. LB became the soundtrack of my Philly experience for a spell and now, several years later, when I hear Lyrics Born upbeat, quick as hell, bouncing like a son of a gun style, I get brought back to those years.
Yet as with these kinds of situations, situations where a certain band or musician dominated a brief stint in your life, you inevitably drift away from them. I don’t know why that is. I don’t know why they don’t stick around longer. It’s not as if they didn’t have some sort of meaningful impact on your life. They did. But perhaps it has to do with them being a soundtrack to a specific situation and when that situation changed, so did the soundtrack. You moved on, the soundtrack didn’t.
Soundtracks might not move, but that doesn’t mean they disappear. They just get thrown in a box, stuffed in the attic or basement. What that means is that a time will come when they re-enter your life. Spotify has made this easier to happen. I couldn’t even begin to count the number of times a blast from the past has wormed it’s way into a Spotify radio station or playlist and instantly made me fall back in love with that fun reminder of days gone by.
And such was the case with Lyrics Born.
LB popped up somewhere, randomly, and just like that I was brought back to nights in Philly, roof deck nights under the lights and police helicopters of Philly, watching buildings being built and listening to Lyrics Born. I was brought back to seeing Lyrics Born live, at one of those joints on South Street and HAVING THE BEST TIME EVER and I was brought back to gobbling up everything he had recorded (back when you had to pay for it, so you know, the love was real.)
There’s no shame in forgetting about those bands and musicians who played a central role in a certain time of your life. That connection will never ever really fade away. It may recede, it may appear lost forever. But it won’t be. It’ll be just kept at bay, waiting to be unleashed when the time is right. A song will play, the words come back to you, the memories come back and just like that, everything comes back.
Except your youth.
That I’m afraid is lost forever.
But alas, not to end on a down note. Here’s a playlist of 20 great Lyrics Born songs. Perfect for a rainy, windy Tuesday.