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"Those days are gone forever, I should just let them go,

But I can see you, your brown skin shining in the sun,

You got the top pulled down and radio on..."
—Don Henley, "The Boys of Summer"

Once, long ago, Alice shared special moments with someone she loves. She's moved on, but that won't stop her from singing a bittersweet song about her fond memories of that time. Often it takes the form of a ballad recounting specific details e.g. "the sound of the stereo, the dim of the soft lights, the scent of your hair that you twirled in your fingers..."

Being built on bittersweet emotions, a Love Nostalgia Song has a kind of emotional universality: it can be depressing to one listener and happy or hopeful to another. This can help it to resonate with a wide audience.

A Music Trope. Compare Love Will Lead You Back, when the narrator has not moved on and still believes their lover will return.

Examples of Love Nostalgia Song include:


Ballads

  • Thomas Haynes Bayly - "Long, Long Ago". Written in 1833, making this trope Older Than Radio.


Country

  • Deana Carter - "Strawberry Wine"
  • Garth Brooks - "Every Time That It Rains" as well as "That Summer" and "The Dance"
  • Taylor Swift - "Tim Mc Graw"
  • Keith Anderson, "Every Time I Hear Your Name"
  • At the end of "Me and Bobby McGee", popularized by Janis Joplin, it reveals that Bobby is gone and the rest of the song was all memories:

 One day up near Salinas, I let him slip away,

He's looking for that home and I hope he finds it...

  • Eric Church - "Springsteen"


Dance

  • Dannii Minogue - "You Won't Forget About Me"
  • Deadmau5 ft. Kaskade - "I Remember"
  • Everything But The Girl - "Missing"
  • Alexia - "Me and You"
  • Rockell - "When I'm Gone"


Folk


Indie/Alternative

  • Death Cab for Cutie - "We Looked Like Giants"
  • Ingrid Michaelson - "The Hat"
  • Minus The Bear - "Let's Play Guitar In A Five Guitar Band":

 A few summers ago we spent weeks in her room

Just having sex and listening to jazz

And that was the life

  • The Shins - "Pink Bullets"
  • Tullycraft - "Our Days In Kansas"
  • Bloc Party - "I Still Remember"
  • Motion City Soundtrack - Fell In Love Without You
  • Ludo - "I'll Never Be Lonely Again"
  • Iron and Wine (with Calexico) - "Sixteen Maybe Less"
    • Also "The Trapeze Swinger"
    • And "Passing Afternoon"
  • Bon Iver employs a lot of word association and stream-of-consciousness in their lyrics, but "Calgary" seems to be this.
    • Much of the album For Emma, Forever Ago toys with this, reflecting on the different aspects of the narrator's relationship with 'Emma' (actually a composite of several of Justin Vernon's previous girlfriends) and eventually concluding that he's better off without her ("Skinny love has no nourishment; it can't grow"). This doesn't stop him for having a drunken breakdown over it in "Re: Stacks."


Pop

  • Don Henley - "The Boys of Summer" (see page quote)
  • Mariah Carey - "Don't Forget About Us"
  • Barbra Streisand - "The Way We Were"
  • The standard "These Foolish Things" is a canonical example - its writer called it a 'catalogue song'. Sample lyrics:

 The smile of garbo

And the scent of roses,

The waiters whistling

As the last bar closes,

The song that Crosby sings,

These foolish things

Remind me of you.

    • Along the same line, "Always Something There to Remind Me", best known today for the 80s synthpop version by Naked Eyes.
  • Bruce Hornsby & the Range - "Mandolin Rain"
  • Van Morrison - "Brown Eyed Girl"
  • Elton John - "Mansfield"
  • Adele - "Someone Like You", written because after tearing her ex-boyfriend to pieces (musically), Adele still considered him to be an important figure and broke down when thinking that he might just be happy without her.


Rock

 Standin' on your mama's porch,

You told me that you'd wait forever,

Oh and when you held my hand,

I knew that it was now or never,

Those were the best days of my life.

  • Dashboard Confessional - "Hands Down"
  • Better Than Ezra - "Good" ("Uh-huh, it was good living with you...")
  • Marillion - "Kayleigh"
  • The Kinks - "Days"
  • The Academy Is... - "Everything We Had" ("Take the pain out of love and the love won't exist...")
    • "After the Last Midtown Show"
  • Barenaked Ladies - "In The Car"
  • Green Day - "Whatshername"


Soft Rock

 I remember L.A.,

Seems a lifetime ago,

We were stars on Sunset Boulevard,

What a movie we made.


Uncategorized

  • Bob Hope - "Thanks for the Memory"
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