Friday, December 9, 2016

Nostalgia & Saudade | A Playlist

One evening I found myself listening to a particular song and, not for the first time, I felt a very specific emotion. The best way to describe it would have to be nostalgia void of the visual stimuli, the rush of memories, or that elusive feeling you get of a specific time or place from the past. This feeling has always haunted me in a way because it's so hard to define.

Before, I simplified it as a nostalgia for something you never had or experienced. But in my inherent desire to pursue accuracy, this troubled me, as the definition of nostalgia is 'a sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past'. Even if this past was one that I wasn't alive to experience, it falls short. (I'd say 'Golden Age thinking' would be more appropriate for such a situation and this certainly isn't how I would describe how I felt).

After a little research, I found possibly the closest term that I'll ever come across that satisfies this feeling. The Portuguese term Saudade is defined as 'a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the's not an active discontent or poignant sadness but an indolent dreaming wistfulness.'

This got me thinking about a lot of things, predominantly how freaking amazing and magical music is that it can evoke feelings I never even knew existed before further investigation. It had me pondering the English language and how many more discrepancies exist between an emotion and an accurate description or term. It then had me appreciate how incredible languages other than my own native tongue are.

But I digress. The main purpose of this post is to share some of the few songs that have tugged at my heart stings in a way that's just that bit different to others. This playlist consists of songs that provoke feelings which exist somewhere between nostalgia and saudade. It is both a fond reminiscing of moments in the past and a yearning for something I never had. What that something is I'm not quite sure. Maybe I'll never know in my lifetime. But for what it's worth, it's thanks to the specific effect that these songs have on me that I feel inspired to reevaluate my life, to get out there and make the most of it.        

Background Image Credit: Tiina Törmänen                 

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