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Songs that give Déjà vu

There are certain songs which have the queer quality, that when I heard them for the first time, I thought that I had heard them before, while knowing for certain that there was no way this was possible.There, I’ve defined Déjà vu for you.Note that this does not necessarily mean the feeling that I’ve heard the full exact song before;It maybe some element or elements of the song such as the verse, or the chorus, or the basic feel of the song, or something else, though it must be a prominent feature.

Such songs bring an unusual sense of wonder to me, while at the same time producing a sense of surprised dissatisfaction at the apparent familiarity I seem to have with them, which robs me slightly of the joy of an entirely new discovery.It is really the strangest feeling;I am drawing a parallel between multiple songs but as a matter of fact the experience is as unique as the song.

Simon and Garfunkel’s Cecilia is one such tune.That melody is so natural it seems to have risen out of the earth, so celebratory and good-timey.It doesn’t seem constructed or composed; The way it flows from the first line in the verse to the second one is such an ecstatic progression.That is another point in common with all the other tunes I’m discussing here; They are so fluid, unforced and un-contrived that one feels the apparent familiarity I mentioned earlier.Something which is truly natural does not need to be created – It is already there!This might be related to the pure philosophical question “Is music created/composed/constructed, or is it discovered?”When listening to such songs, musical discovery seems more apt then musical creation.

You must have heard “In my Life” by the Beatles.Great song it is,  no doubt.Again,  the melody is so perfect I again get the sense that it was always there and it’s just been discovered here.But the first time I heard the song, it veered from my melodic expectation in a very annoying way.Now, of course this element of surprise is exploited by composers but I urge you not to think about this on a basic music theory level.On the plane that I am talking about there is more complexity and much more subjectivity.In “There are places I remember”, I love it till the “..places I” but then the melody with ” remember” has always put me off, slightly. I hear something different when I play the song in my mind.

I realize I’m a little far-out here, and I can only hope I conveyed to you some sense of my reactions to these amazing songs.As of now these are the only ones ones I can think of that have had this effect on me to such a noticeable degree, but there are definitely more of them.Some other songs that are similarly affecting but with a lesser potency, are

  • Heart of Glass, Blondie
  • Love will tear us apart, Joy Division
  • Sgt Pepper Title track, The Beatles
  • Substitute, The Who

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