Stumbling on Nostalgia

Both of my sunburnt arms swung wildly through the sunroof of my best friend’s Honda Accord as I sang along to the music in a way that probably sounded more like impassioned speaking than anything else. It was five years ago, and I was 16. Since then, my life has changed: I moved to a new city that has become as familiar as the freckles on the back of my arms, learned to rely on myself for meals, sleep, and self-care, developed the patience required to navigate an everyday public transport commute, and provided myself with the confidence to be on my own.

Yet, the aforementioned memory has not become hazy in the slightest. And it came back to me through a song I probably haven’t heard since one of those drives with my friends and all the windows down. Though I was actually in a standing-room-only spot in the back of a crowded M9 bus headed to the Lower East Side, I could feel the sensation of splaying my legs across a truck’s empty back row and letting my hair whip and tangle in the wind. It was the first time I could hear the nothingness of suburban Texas above the sirens and foot traffic of Manhattan.

The song is “Marigold” by Mother Falcon, a band that hasn’t released anything since 2015 and describes itself as a “symphonic rock band.” I heard the band for the first time at a small music festival in Dallas. I had tried listening to some of their songs before but felt unsettled. I have no explanation for why I felt this way other than their music was hard for me to listen to—the barrage of sounds and melodies felt like they were physically pushing me away.

But seeing them in person was a different experience entirely. I suddenly understood what it was like to have an entire symphony attempting to play rock music—the violinists were dancing and the horn players stomping their feet to a melody so fast it seemed impossible they could ever catch up. It was a beautiful mess. “Marigold” became our anthem.

Sometimes New York feels like an entire symphony attempting to play rock music—an entire city moving as fast as it can, day after day. Then, there are moments that slow down, where the crowds on the sidewalk part and a single violin player on the street takes over, and I embrace both the wonder and nostalgia of that.

“Marigold” sounds like both driving down a hill at full speed with all the windows down and the rush of Manhattan all at once. But when the melody slows, I breathe, I think, and I reach out to the friends I haven’t spoken to in a while because I’ve been too wrapped in my hectic city.

I text my friends and ask them to listen to our anthem again. I tell them it feels like my life, and I love that it does. Although, I’d still trade the bus for the backseat of an Accord any day. –Isabelle Hahn

Isabelle Hahn studies Journalism and English at Northeastern University. She is from Dallas, Texas, and loves to write about art in all capacities. Her work has been featured in The Avenue Magazine, Artistry Magazine, The Huntington News, and she has worked as a freelance reporter in Greece for class credit.

Learn more about Mother Falcon here.