It’s been a while since I wrote a discussion post, but a couple of recent things got me thinking about what forms of media—i.e. books and music, etc.—I find memorable and the reasons behind what makes them stand out. This is completely subjective of course, because I can only speak about my personal preferences. As such, there will be a number of references to music and books I’ve enjoyed, particularly the former since one album in particular inspired this post.
Do you know those books, the ones that are so deeply atmospheric that you can’t help but get caught up in the journey from start to finish? That’s how I feel about Back to the Woods by Angel Haze. Originally, I wasn’t going to write anything about Back to the Woods, because the album has been out since 2015. However, it’s so underrated, and that’s a shame. It’s one album that I would compare to a complex book. And just like Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, Back to the Woods was wonderfully atmospheric with a fairy tale like vibe. Rather than having a setting, history, and tale rife with detailed scenery, in this case, the compositions of the album was gorgeously layered and undeniably thematic from the opening tracks, D-Day and Impossible, to the brooding and dreamy closing, titular song, The Woods.
So, in thinking about all the ways Back to the Woods reminded me of Spinning Silver, my thoughts began to shift toward what made them so memorable to me in the first place: the emotion or feeling they elicited while being read or listened to. Specifically speaking, there’s nothing inherently similar about Spinning Silver and Back to the Woods. There are no lyrics that specifically speak to anything from the book. And there’s no text from the book that implies a connection to the album. They’re their own separate entities. However, I find it’s all based in the language I use to talk about them that led me to compare them in the first place. Often with words and phrases like layered, complex, thematic, and deeply atmospheric. What I’m saying is, when I listen to Back to the Woods it makes me think of a fairy tale. And when I read Spinning Silver, the story elicits much of the same reaction. In that way, they’re similar. And besides the fact that they’re both great in their own right, as I stated before, my reaction to them is part of what makes them memorable.
Of course, being memorable can come about in different ways (also entirely dependent on what a person likes/dislikes) and fairy-tale-like isn’t the only criterion that applies—poignant and difficult reads that’ll make you think; fantasy, science fiction, or contemporary; or even books that are light and enjoyable escapism can also leave long-lasting impressions. It could even be specific things like settings, characters, overall story, or subject (for nonfiction). So, books like Mem, The Tea Master and the Detective, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Why We Sleep, and the Heroine Complex series were all memorable to me for different or sometimes similar reasons respectively.
What do you think? What makes different forms of media—whether books, music, movies, TV shows, etc.—memorable for you?